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Can You Paint MDF with Acrylic Paint? (Answered)

MDF is a special kind of board to make various kinds of furniture and many other things. This is made using different types of hardwood and softwood residue after making it into wood fibers. You may want to paint your MDF to make it beautiful.

You may ask yourself if you can paint MDF with acrylic paint or not. Let us provide you with the answer you are looking for and give you some additional information regarding the matter.

Painting MDF with acrylic paint:

You can paint MDF with acrylic paint. Although it is difficult to get a smooth surface to paint on MDF, it can be done. There are various ways to paint on MDF. If necessary steps are performed accordingly, you can paint on MDF using acrylic paint and make your furniture beautiful.

MDF is currently becoming popular in the market. It is a kind of board to make various kinds of furniture. MDF is being used to build them. It is also used in various types of home decorations and many more.

MDF is sometimes compared with particle boards. This board is usually used in making particle board furniture. Particle boards were famous in the market long ago for their price. But MDF is replacing particle board for its durability and density. 

It is considered to be better than particle board, although it is costlier than particle board.

You can paint on MDF with various kinds of paint. Among these paints, you can use acrylic to paint your MDF. Although it is considered that painting acrylic on MDF is tough for various reasons, it can be done.

It is found that getting a smooth finish while painting with acrylic paint on MDF is tough. The paint may chip off from the board. There is also a possibility that the paint can flake off from the board as well if not painted correctly. 

But there are particular ways of using acrylic paint of MDF that can ensure the best results.

There are various pros and cons of painting MDF with acrylic paint. Let us share the important ones with you for your convenience.


Paint dries quickly:

Acrylic paint is a quick drying paint. If you need to dry the paint on your MDF, acrylic paint can be a good choice. Thus, you can finish your project quickly.

Affordable cost:

Although MDF can be costly, paint with acrylic is not. Acrylic paints are affordable. Therefore, you can paint on a small budget.

Vibrant paint colors:

Acrylic colors are considered to be vibrant. The results will be outstanding if you color on a glossy surface of MDF. The colors on the MDF would look fantastic and the furniture would look beautiful.


Lack of smooth finishing of paint:

It is said that painting on MDF is a bit difficult. Acrylic paint requires a smooth surface to paint. But MDF does not usually have a smooth surface. 

Although if you try to make it smooth, the results may not be good enough. This causes a lack of smooth finishing of the painting.

Fear of paint flaking:

Acrylic paint can flake off if the surface is not smooth. If your MDF surface does not have a smooth surface, it may cause the paint to flake off after drying or moving it from one place to another.

Requires addition steps before painting:

Painting on MDF with acrylic paint is not as simple as just applying it to the board. The board has to be smoothened enough. After that, a glossy application has to be performed. 

Therefore, you need to do some additional steps before you can paint.

Preparing and priming MDF for acrylic paint:

There are multiple ways of preparing and priming MDF for acrylic painting. Here are some important tips that we think you should know for preparing and priming your MDF for acrylic paint.

Sand the edges of MDF:

Sanding the edges of MDF is the most important part of preparing and priming MDF for acrylic paint. You can do that by using 240-grit sandpaper. Sand the rounded edges until you think it is smooth. 

You can also sand the flat surface of the MDF if you feel it requires a bit of sanding.

Put a coat of acrylic primer undercoat and sand it:

After sanding, you need to put a coat of acrylic primer undercoat on the edges and surface. Use a brush to paint the edges and a foam roller to paint the flat surface. Dry the coating after you coat the painting area properly. 

After the coating dries, you will have to sand the MDF again. Use 240 grit sandpaper again and sand the edges & flat surface until you feel it is smooth for painting with acrylic paint.

Apply a coat of gesso:

Applying gesso is an essential step in priming your MDF for acrylic painting. Use a brush or foam roller to put a coat of gesso on the edges and flat surfaces. Let it dry.

How to paint MDF with acrylic?

You need to follow various steps if you want to paint your MDF with acrylic. Here are the steps we think you will have to follow to do it yourself.

Ensure the gesso coat is correctly applied and dried:

Applying gesso is an integral part of painting with acrylic paint. Gesso is said to be the primer for acrylic painting. This makes the base for painting the acrylic color. It is also noted that the color bonds with the MDF properly if gesso is used.

Therefore, check if you have adequately applied gesso on the MDF or not. You need to apply one coat of gesso at least before using acrylic to paint on the MDF. Also, ensure that the gesso is appropriately dried before applying paint.

Choose the color you want to use:

Choosing the right acrylic paint color for your MDF is important. To paint the MDF, you will have to choose two colors. One is for the base color and the other is for the top color. 

The base color has to be light, and the top color has to be darker than the base color.

You need to ensure that the colors are appropriately used. You may use a color palette to find the base and top color suitable for your MDF. You may also use different colors for a different look.

Apply it to the surface of MDF:

After you choose your color, sand the application surface using sandpaper. This will help to smooth the surface for an even and smooth application. After sanding, apply the base color first. After drying the base color, apply the top coating and let it dry.

Sealing acrylic paint on MDF: 

After applying acrylic paint on MDF, it is crucial that you seal it. If you do not seal your acrylic paint, it may chip and flake off from the MDF. Therefore, you will have to color it again if that happens.

You need to apply a polycrylic or varnish coat to seal the acrylic paint on your MDF. Both are different and provide different results. Polycrylic is a water-based sealer. It can dry quickly and give a satin finish to your acrylic painted MDF. 

In comparison, varnish is an oil based color. This needs more time to dry but offers a much more durable finish.

Depending on your requirement, you need to choose one. After you choose one, you will have to apply it with a brush. Let the sealant coated MDF dry and you have successfully sealed the acrylic paint on MDF.

What type of paint is best to use on MDF?

There are various paints that are best to use on MDF. Here are some paints that we think are best to use on MDF.

Oil-based paint:

Oil-based paint is considered to be the best to use paint on MDF. It is compatible with the primer that is used on the MDF. Thus, it is said to be a perfect match for painting on MDF.

Acrylic paint:

Acrylic paint is considered to be one of the best paints for MDF. It dries quickly and provides a print color on your MDF. It is also affordable.

Latex paint:

Latex paint is a water based paint. This is another best to use option for MDF. It has a very low odor and vapor emissions.

Satin paint:

Satin paint is another best to use paint for MDF. It provides a beautiful glossy finish on the surface of your MDF. This is considered to be an ideal paint for MDF.

Final thoughts

It is possible to paint MDF with acrylic paint. Acrylic paint is a vibrant paint to use which is versatile and dries quickly. If you want to apply acrylic paint to your MDF, you will need to take the necessary preparations and perform the essential prerequisite tasks to get the best results.