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Finishing tips for MDF and timber projects

I know from personal experience how rewarding it can be to make your own furniture and decor accessories. What can be confusing are the various methods for finishing a project. Should you paint, stain, varnish or wax?


With such a wide variety of materials to choose from for making projects, more often than not the finishing will be determined by the board or timber that you use to make a project.





MDF / SupaWood
MDF is one of the most versatile board products and one that can be used for a wide range of projects. What's nice about MDF is that the smooth finish is perfect for a painted finish. You can even apply distressing and glazing techniques to MDF if you are looking to make cottage, shabby chic or shaker furniture of your own.

- To prime or not to prime
MDF does not need to be primed before painting, but the cut edges should be polished by sanding with 240-grit sandpaper and sealed if you are using Rust-Oleum spray paint. You can seal the edges easily by rubbing a thin layer of wood glue or wood filler along the edge, sanding the latter with 240-grit sandpaper once dry. This effectively seals and blocks the edges and cuts down on the amount of spray paint you will use.

Painting MDF can be done with either a paintbrush, a foam roller (or combination of both), or using a Bosch PFS spray gun. You can paint MDF with any acrylic paint or enamel paint.

- Paintbrush
A paintbrush gives MDF a rustic finish that lends itself perfectly to cottage or shabby chic furniture. It's also recommended that chalk paint be applied with a paintbrush.

- Foam roller
It's possible to paint MDF and give a nice smooth finish using a foam roller. The secret is to not overload the roller with paint but rather apply a thin layer without any air bubbles.

- Bosch PFS spray gun
The easiest and fastest method for painting MDF, using a Bosch PFS spray system also offers the most professional finish, which is definitely what you want if you are making your own furniture or decor accessories. You will find some of my personal tips for using a Bosch PFS spray system for your projects here.

Pine or timber
Pine or other variety of timber can be painted, stained, sealed or varnished. Unless you are using Rust-Oleum spray paint or an oil-based paint, any timber needs to be primed before painting. If you do not apply wood primer to timber it absorbs moisture from the subsequent paint coats and will swell, and possibly even split along laminated joints.

Once primed you can apply any water-based paint to finish off your interior timber projects. Prominent Paints offer a range of Premium and Ultra paints in matt, satin, and gloss, to suit any project application. However, for projects that will be outdoors exposed to the elements, or used in a room with high humidity or moisture, such as a bathroom or laundry, etc., should rather be sealed with one of the Woodoc interior range of sealers.

The reason for using a sealer rather than a varnish is that sealer has a low viscosity, allowing it to be absorbed deeply into the wood to protect and preserve your wood projects. You can use interior sealer for all your wood projects, visit the to select a sealer suitable for your particular project.