How To Paint MDF | Cut Plastic Sheeting

How To Paint MDF

MDF is a versatile and cost-effective material that is commonly used for various woodworking applications, including furniture, cabinetry, trim work, and more. One of the key steps in working with MDF is painting it to achieve a smooth and professional finish that enhances its appearance and durability. However, due to the type of material, it can be tricky to paint. In this guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of painting MDF, from preparation to finishing, to help you achieve professional looking results.

Step 1: Get Organised

To start with, you need to make sure you have the correct materials and tools to complete the job. You want to start with getting your cut-to-size MDF pieces. You will also need: 

  • Sandpaper (150-220 grit)
  • Tack cloth or a clean, lint-free cloth
  • Primer suitable for MDF (water-based or oil-based)
  • Paint in your desired color (water-based or oil-based)
  • Paintbrushes or foam rollers
  • Painter’s tape (optional)
  • Drop cloth to protect your work area

Step 2: Prepare Your Surface

Start by inspecting the MDF surface for any imperfections, such as rough spots or edges, and sand them smoothly with sandpaper. Be sure to wear a dust mask and eye protection while sanding. Wipe down the MDF surface with a tack cloth or a clean, lint-free cloth to remove any dust or debris.

Step 3: Apply Primer

Applying primer is crucial to ensure proper adhesion of paint to the MDF surface. Use a primer that is specifically formulated for MDF and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply the primer evenly using a brush or foam roller, working in long, smooth strokes. Allow the primer to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s recommended drying time.

Step 4: Start Sanding

Once the primer is dry, lightly sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper (220 grit) to smooth out any rough spots or brush marks. Wipe away any dust with a tack cloth or a clean cloth.

Step 5: Apply Paint

Now it’s time to paint your MDF surface with your desired colour. Use water-based or oil-based paint, depending on your preference and the type of finish you want to achieve. Apply the paint evenly using a brush or foam roller, working in long, smooth strokes. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommended drying time between coats, if multiple coats are needed. If desired, use painter’s tape to create clean edges or protect certain areas from paint splatter.

Step 6: Finish and Seal

  • Once the paint is dry, inspect the surface for any touch-ups or imperfections. If needed, apply additional coats of paint until you achieve the desired coverage and finish.
  • If you want to protect the painted surface and enhance its durability, you can apply a clear sealer or topcoat specifically formulated for MDF. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying time.

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For more information on Acrylic, Perspex, MDF, Dibond and Polycarbonate please visit our Guide and Blog sections of the website.


Cut Plastic Sheeting are based on the south Coast in Ivybridge, Devon UK. We have a full manufacturing facility which enables us to offer Cut To Size Acrylic as well as Cut To Size MDF. Shop our full range of products, including our Clear Acrylic, coloured acrylic and more recent MDF Wood Sheet ranges.


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Post By Cerys Furnival

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