How To Prepare MDF Board For Acrylic Painting?

How To Prepare Mdf Board For Acrylic PaintingAt some point when you are playing with your acrylics, you are going to want to give MDF board a try. MDF is fun to paint on, but you do need to do a few things first, and that’s the primary focus of our article today.

I’ll tell you how to prepare MDF board for acrylic painting but don’t worry, it’s actually quite easy. You basically need to just use a little primer first, because MDF is a wood composite and if you don’t prime it first then you are going to get bleeding effects and other unpredictable outcomes. If you prime it first, though, it’s going to look just fine.

I’ll start off with how to prepare it, then tell you why priming or sealing is so important with a little more detail, and finally whether or not it’s really a good medium for acrylic.

I’ll give you a hint – the odds are in your favor!

How do you prep MDF for acrylic paint?How do you prep MDF for acrylic paint

MDF is super porous, rather like balsa wood, and if you’ve ever tried to paint balsa then you know what happens if you don’t prepare it a little first. It’s a disaster, frankly. To that effect, let’s take a look at what you can do to make your MDF a pristine painting surface worthy of your work.

The way to go about it is to simply use 1 or preferably 2 coats of primer before you start painting. This should make the surface quite ready to receive your acrylics, but you can also do it another way by simply giving it the once-over with a spray on sealer or you can mix sealer directly into your paint at a ratio of 2 parts sealer to 1 part paint.

If you go with the brush-on method, after you wet your brush, you want to be sure to blot it thoroughly on some paper towels, as wood and water really don’t get along. Aside from this, with any of these methods you should be able to paint your MDF up nicely, just don’t forget that if you want to keep your work it’s going to need a coat of varnish when all is said and done!

Do I need to seal MDF before painting?

Do I need to seal MDF before paintingYes, you definitely need to seal it first and then when you are done, you should seal it again to keep in the ‘acrylicky’ goodness and protect it from the weather and the sun. It all boils down to the medium on which you are painting. While MDF looks fairly solid on the surface, if you popped a little sample onto a microscope then you would see that this is definitely not the case. It’s full of holes!

MDF is very, very porous, and while this makes for good acrylic painting in stone mediums such as slate, with wood it’s not such a great idea. Remember, your acrylic paints are a little more or a little less half-water, depending on the brand, and water has a tendency to warp wood. Without the treatment, your paints soak in, the moisture has a little party in the wood and forgets to clean up, and all of this manifests to the naked eye as bleeding effects or color mixes that you never intended.

So, seal it first and then seal it later, and consider it a job well-done.

Is MDF board good for acrylic painting?Is MDF board good for acrylic painting

MDF board is a great medium for acrylic painting. You’ve got all kinds of options, such as laser-cut MDF pieces that can give you the perfect shape to start with and allow you to fill in the details from there. The surface is a pleasure to work on, as MDF always comes to you sanded-up via fine grit sandpaper and silky-smooth – it’s almost perfect, really, just as long as you don’t forget to seal it.

Trapping moisture will definitely ruin your work, so I can’t stress enough the importance of the seal. As long as you don’t forget then MDF is definitely an enjoyable medium to paint and make your own.

Some closing comments

In this article I’ve described how to prepare your MDF board for acrylic painting and it’s just a matter of sealing it once or twice first or spraying on a little primer before you work. Don’t forget after your acrylic paint dries to varnish your piece and then you are ready to move on to the next project.

On the subject of painting MDF board you can find a nice little guide that gives you some in-depth information and useful tips for playing with this medium. Check out the 3rd party link here and have a little fun with it.

MDF looks awesome when you take the time to do it right, so I hope that you have as good a time with it as I have!