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Painting a mdf sub box

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Old 02-25-2013, 06:32 PM   #1
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Painting a mdf sub box

Hello, does anyone have steps on how to paint mdf subboxes, my idea is to paint it the same grey interior of the truck, but have a high gloss finish to it. From what i've heard is MDF is hard to paint. so i'm looking for step by step details on how to paint it and tips/tricks.

Does anyone have pictures of their finished boxes that they have painted.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:39 PM   #2
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Mdf is not hard to paint at all. Im a decorative painter/artist, and am constantly working with mdf. Its all prep though.

Prime your piece. Latex or oil..either way. Latex will be a lot quicker
Sand it. 220 sandpaper or a medium grit sponge.
Repeat until you cant see the mdf. 2 coats usually.
And youre basically ready for whatever paint finish you want to have. An oil based urethane is probablly a good idea to seal it once its finished. Itll put up with a bit of damage.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:44 PM   #3
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The end grain sucks up alot of paint, thats why mdf is hard to paint. I wrapped mine in carpet, you can buy carpet specifically made for doing stuff like this, its really easy to work with and comes out great if you go that route. I made a box for my buddy, he sprayed it and he said it took like 7 coats lol
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:58 PM   #4
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Thanks, ya i heard the end grain can absorb alot of the paint, but some people recommend putting a layer of bondo or wood filler to prevent this? since i would be filling in the screw holes in the prep stage this wouldn't be hard to do.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:05 PM   #5
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Ya that would probably help and save you a couple coats, it looks like Gimmick is suggesting rolling or bushing on a primer. I bet if you did that it wouldn't take many coats, then maybe sand like he suggested then spray it
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:47 PM   #6
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I just did my mdf enclosure with the 10 dollar can of rust oleum bed liner stuff, but i did a rust oleum primer till it quit soaking in where it looks like it wants to stay wet. Then i did the liner stuff till the can was almost empty about 3 coats, turned out good i should have let it dry a little more but not bad imo.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:06 PM   #7
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Gimmick is right; the prep is 99.999% of the battle when painting MDF.

The best way to do it is to spray it down with an epoxy based primer like Slick Sand from Evercoat. That's THE best thing I've ever used when painting MDF cabinets. Most people use Latex primer not because it's better but because it's easier to come by. Problem is latex primers generally don't do well when you try and sand them.

However, when the good stuff is hard to find there's another way. I learned a secret a few years ago that does an EXCELLENT job. Mix up a 50/50 mixture of Shellac and Alcohol and spray or roll that on generously. It will get soaked up by the MDF very quickly. When this dries it will cause the endgrain to firm up since it's impregnated with the Shellac. The surface will sand very easily after that.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:19 PM   #8
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grey carpet is the way I went. I had a buddy help me. its like wrapping a present. and the carpet kinda prevents the edges of the box from damaging the truck when I take it out.

just my 2 cents
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:49 PM   #9
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I have built many cabinets out of MDF (not particle board). If you have good clean cuts then block sand it to about 220 grit without rounding over the edges (unless you are after rounded over edges, in which case I use a router with a corner rounding bit). Anyway you have your box or cabinet looking sharp now, So blow all the loose dust off it and when the dust settles I brush on a liberal coat of minwax brand polyurethane (other brands work fine but do not dry as fast). When this coat is fully dry (2 days in a dry climate), sand it lightly with the 220 grit again to knock off the "fuzz" that is raised and the runs probably made (has to be fully dry!). Wipe it down with a damp cloth, then brush on a second coat carefully with a good brush. Once this is hard you will have the cabinet really sealed and you can paint it with anything you like. I sometimes go to 4 coats and leave it natural color for my hi-fi development boxes. Wife stays out of my basment listening room and I like the look actually.
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