How to paint MDF? With brush, roller, spray and gun

MDF is a very present product in the home. It appears in pieces and decoration and in furniture and turns out to be quite important in the composition of any environment. There are times, however, when the product discolors or stops being so attractive. To help you in situations like this, we will teach you how to paint MDF. Follow in the text!

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), is a product that has a homogeneous composition throughout its surface and interior.

Materials needed to paint MDF

  • Brushes, rollers or spray;
  • Sandpaper for wood;
  • Old paper or newspaper to cover and avoid dirt;
  • White paint for the base and sealing;
  • Paints and varnish of your choice;
  • Soft, dry cloth;
  • Rubber gloves

MDF Material Production

For its production, the eucalyptus wood is cut and taken to the factory. Then, a machine bites its entire structure into small chips. These chips are known as chips.

Soon after, the chips are cooked and sent to the defibration. The defibration process consists of the separation of the wood fibers. The fibers, which are about 1 millimeter each, are then placed next to a synthetic resin and dried through a pipe with heated air.

In the next step, the fibers are molded. For this, they are inserted in the forming machine and molded in the form of thin pressed and homogeneous mattresses. The pressed characteristic of the material is guaranteed because the air accumulated between the pieces is removed.

With the mattresses ready, they are pressed again at high temperatures and high pressure. This causes the previous resin to glue all fibers with intensity, giving rise to the MDF flames. Then, the plate is cooled and polished with the sander.

Finally, the piece is cut according to its use and gives rise to the object for which it was planned. The use of the product is usually made mainly for furniture and decorative pieces. It can also be applied in the automotive industry, in the printing industry, for speakers, mockups, for advertising and more.

All this variety of use is due to the product’s ability to be easily cut, sanded, drilled, glued, screwed and others. It can also be painted or lacquered, ensuring a more beautiful look to any piece.


To obtain MDF, the consumer can find the product in natura, without any coating. Or with one or two coated faces, using the so-called melamine (BP) or finish foil (FF).

Although quite confused, MDF and MPD are different materials. As mentioned, MDF is made by agglutinating wood fibers with synthetic resin. MDP is made up of three different layers of wood particles. The thickest layer is the central one, and the two most final are around it. Thanks to this composition, MDP is more resistant and bears more weight. Thus, it is more suitable for larger pieces, such as large wardrobes.

Why paint MDF?

Imagine that you have a great MDF furniture, but it is losing its color. Or that decoration piece of yours has lost its luster. There is no need to throw the item away: all it needs is a makeover! For this, the most suitable is to paint the product. In addition to being simple, the alternative gives new life to the product.

More than a used part of your home, this is a great method of repaginating items purchased second hand. Thrift stores and even online sales are great places to find gems, and the more “old” look doesn’t have to be a deterrent to getting it.

How to paint MDF with a brush?

Surface preparation

The first way to paint your MDF piece is more basic and simple: with a brush. Your MDF can be raw, without any previous painting, or already painted to be renovated. Regardless of the type of material, the first step in the process is to sand the entire surface. Use a finer sandpaper, and then wipe the dust that will accumulate on the furniture.

The sandpaper indicated for this process varies according to the condition of the MDF. If you have already used paint, it is recommended to use sandpaper of low numbers, such as 60 or 80. The harder lines are ideal for finishing the piece, with numbers from 220.

Soon after, it is necessary to seal the surface. For this, you must use wood sealer, passing it on the object with a brush. It is he who will make the surface smoother, preventing the paint from accumulating in the pores of the wood. Allow the sealer to dry according to the time indicated by the product manufacturer.

On the market, there are furniture that come ready for painting. That is, they will not need sanding or sealer. In that case, ask the salesperson if your choice requires going through these steps, or if you can quickly switch to using the paint.

Repairs and protection

Before applying the desired paint, it is interesting to carry out any type of repair or leveling the surface. This means that you need to replace that loose screw, or glue the rough end of the MDF. You can also use dough suitable for wood, something similar to spackle, which will cover any holes or imperfections that the product presents.

At the same time, it is important that you protect the parts that will not be painted. In the case of a dresser, for example, you may prefer to cover the drawer handles. Just insert a little masking tape around the structure, and at the end of the process it will be enough to remove it.

Painting process

Finally, the next step will be to apply the paint. The paint suitable for MDF is suitable for any wood. Choose the product according to your color preference and varnished appearance or not. Also be careful to choose paint suitable for the environment: in outdoor spaces it may be necessary to have waterproof paint.

For the application, always wet the brush and clean the excess on the edge of the package. It is necessary to pass the brush several times in the same place, but with fluid and long movements. Do not press the utensil on the wood for a long time, as the accumulation of paint can cause a difference in tones at the end of the process.

The ideal is to apply at least two coats of the product with the brush. Between one coat and another, sand the piece again, using fine sandpaper. Then, remove the accumulated powder and apply the second coat. Wait about 30 minutes before sanding, or the time indicated by the paint manufacturer.

How to paint MDF with spray paint?

Another way to paint MDF is with spray paint. Just purchase specific paint for the wood, and then apply the color to the surface.

The process of preparing the piece must be the same as the previous one. So, sand the MDF and seal it. Then line a surface with plastic and cover with masking tape the parts that should not be painted. It is important to support on the plastic the opposite side of what will be painted. If necessary, perform the entire painting process several times, one side at a time. This will ensure that your spray will always be directed to the floor, preventing particles of paint from spreading through the air or other furniture.

Before directing the spray directly to the furniture, test its pressure on a sheet of newspaper. This test will ensure that you know the strength of the paint release, being able to zoom in or out of the paint as needed. The correct thing is that the piece is painted with a “cloud” of paint, and not with the exaggerated proximity of the spray. In the latter case, the amount of paint at the same point would be large, and the paint would be drained and blotted;

For the first coat, it is possible to carry out only a basic spray. Then wait for the time indicated by the manufacturer and apply the second coat. You can continue to apply coats until you are satisfied with the color. Allow to dry for at least 48 hours before touching or placing any object on the surface.

At the end, let it dry completely, even for about 2 days, before touching normally. You don’t want your fingerprints to appear in the final result, do you? And never, never turn on a fan in an environment where you are spray painting.

How to paint MDF with roller?

Again, the entire process of preparing the MDF must be carried out before painting. To use the roller, it is necessary to immerse the entire roller in the paint. You can do this in the product packaging itself, or you can pour it into a clean container.

Then, before passing the roller on the wood, remove the excess paint from the utensil. Then roll it across the surface without rubbing it. Contact with the wood should be made with little pressure. Wait for the product to dry, sand the surface and apply other coats until you are satisfied with the color.

MDF already painted, what to do?

Care with a pre-painted surface needs to be greater. This is because it is necessary to remove the paint almost completely, or at least make it quite smooth, before applying a new coat of paint. Otherwise, the visual effect will be something poorly done and “loaded”, since it is possible to notice the existence of an older paint under the new surface. So don’t try to speed up the painting process: go through the entire step by step correctly, so that the result is the best possible.

How to paint MDF with spray gun?

The use of the pistol is very similar to the case of the spray. Test the strength of the product before using it, and only then apply it to the wood. Remember not to let the paint run, so that the marks on the furniture are not created.

See also: Painting on Wood: How to do it, Step by Step Complete!

How to preserve the painting of an MDF?

To preserve a painted MDF furniture, only a few basic cares are needed. How to avoid contact of the product with moisture. Like any wood, MDF is severely damaged by water, as it swells and loses its color.

So, always avoid placing the pieces of material in rooms such as the bathroom or the kitchen. If your main objective, however, is exactly this, invest in paints that make the product waterproof. The same for the case of the piece is in the external space of the property.

For conservation, it is also important to avoid the application of abrasive products on the surface. Prefer to use only a damp cloth and mild soap to keep the material clean on a daily basis. At the same time, pay attention to the objects you place on the furniture, or in contact with the MDF piece. Wet or scratching objects can permanently damage the look of the material.

Source of Image Source:

Advantages of MDF painting

The advantages of painting an MDF piece go beyond renewing the look of the material. When you find exactly what you need, but in a different color, you can take it home the same way! There, you can paint the piece and then ensure that it fits your existing decor.

Finding a used and cheaper part on the market is another advantage. Just like the low cost of MDF. The pieces are also easy to clean, requiring only water, a soft cloth and a small amount of neutral detergent.

In addition, MDF products have sustainable characteristics. As its production is made using wood fibers, a single tree can produce a series of furniture and decorative pieces. The waste of production material is also low, which reduces the elimination of waste in the environment. MDF cabinets are still sturdy and hardly warped.

Now that you know all the information on how to paint MDF, and all the advantages of the material, you can invest in the product as you wish. Choose the shade of paint that best matches the decor of your property, so that the look of the environment becomes more harmonious and appropriate to your personality.