• Luke Obee

DIY TIPS - How to paint MDF, without the edges fluffing up!

So you cant seem to decorate MDF without the edges fluffing up? There are several ways to reduce the above mentioned effects, and I have tried many of them. However, there is a single method, which is quick, easy and fairly clean. It is also the only method that I would recommend to use.

To begin with you are going to need the correct equipment and materials for the job. These include the following:

. Work gloves,

. Dust mask,

. Paintbrush + roller,

. 320 grit sandpaper,

. MDF primer-sealer,

. White spirit,

.Undercoat (if using gloss),

.Your chosen topcoat (satinwood, eggshell, gloss).

For the secret ingredient, you will want to get yourself down Toolstation or visit and buy the following items:

. Shellac sanding sealer,

. Lint free cloth.

You can currently buy the two of these for just under £11.00, so its isnt going to break the bank.

Preparing the MDF:

Once you have your gloves on, you are good to go. So to begin the work, you need to seal all the cut (and routed) edges of the MDF. To do this, get your lint free cloth, hold it on the open bottle of sanding sealer and tip it upside down. You dont want to saturate the cloth, just wet the cloth enough to work with. Use the cloth to apply sanding sealer to all the cut edges of the MDF.

Once the sealer has dried, put your dust mask on, and get your 320 grit sandpaper. Proceed to lightly rub down all the cut edges with the sandpaper (use a sanding block to prevent rounding the edges of the board).

You will soon notice the reduced burr, and a much smoother edge. Once finished sanding, brush off all dust and wipe the edges with a cloth, dampened in white spirit. Leave the MDF to dry again and repeat the process 3 times. The edges will now be glass smooth and fully sealed, so they wont absorbe any paint.

Painting the MDF:

Now, you need to seal the rest of the MDF with 2 coats of MDF primer-sealer using a paintbrush and roller. After the first coat, lightly rub down the primer with the sandpaper and proceed to clean the board as mentioned above. Now apply the second coat of primer-sealer.

Depending on your type of topcoat, you will or wont need to apply a coat of undercoat. Finish painting the MDF with 1-2 coats of topcoat.

One final tip:

If you are purchasing the MDF yourself, opt for a moisture resistant board (MR MDF). The boards are more expensive, however they absorb a lot less moisture from the paint, and finish better all round.


Using the sanding sealer over products like polyfiller saves a lot of time and mess. The application and drying times are far quicker, and the whole process is cleaner. As with all decorating, (and yes you've probably heard the saying) preperation is key. So the question is, are you going to try sanding sealer on a project any time soon?

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