What is plywood? To make things simple, you can understand that it is a kind of sheet material made by gluing various thin wooden boards together. Plywood is used much in the construction industry and furniture manufacturing. You can create beautiful DIY products using the material too. But first, you have to learn how to paint plywood.
Painting something seems easy if you just look at the results. However, the task requires carefulness, patience, consistency, and a lot of care. Prepare yourselves the qualities, and with the ultimate instructions we are going to give you, you surely will accomplish it.
How to Paint Plywood – The incredible guide
What you need to prepare
Paint and primer
They are the most important things you have to consider before doing the task. Taking the purpose of the painted surface into account first. Is it the floor or just a table? Is it used for art purposes or for practical uses? The answers will tell what kind of paint and primer you should use.
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If you plan to make art on the wooden board, you should choose water-based paints for artists to make the artwork more stunning. If it is a surface in your home, oil-based, heavy-duty paint is for you to utilize. Besides, a small, smooth finish will require spray paint.
A brush or a roller
To paint a large wooden board, you will need a roller. If it is a small, detailed artwork, a brush will come in handy. Sometimes, you will need both tools for a job, the brush for small, detailed area, and a roller for larger areas.
A paint sprayer
To use for extra-large job. However, remember to use tape, nylon cover, etc. to mask off the surface which you do not intend to paint.
Before painting plywood, you need to prepare the surface first by sanding it. Through the task, you’re able to get rid of any imperfections on the wooden board and ensure the best, smoothest finish. We recommend moderate grit sandpaper, which is 220 or 180. If the surface you plan to put paint on if rather rough, sand it down with coarser material, which is 100 or 80 grit.
You can choose to sand your plywood surface by hand, use a sanding block or an electric sanding tool to smoothen the surface. The tools are available in almost every department store. You can order one online if you can’t find them in your neighborhood, though. Hand sanding is totally fine if your work is small, but for larger job, a tool will save lots of your time and energy. If you are plan to sand the floor, or another extraordinary surface, rent a floor sander to do the task.
If the imperfections on the wooden surface cannot be removed by a sander, you will need to fill them. Hole filler is technically a malleable product that people use to jam into holes on the surface with a putty knife, then sand smooth once dried. However, before making any purchase, check if it can be painted after filled into surface through most of the products are paint-compatible.
How to paint plywood step by step
– Use painter’s tape, drop cloths, and nylon cover to mask off everything in the vicinity that you don’t want to be painted or dirtied with dust, especially when you plan to do the task indoor. Plastic sheeting or nylon cover is to protect large area, and painter’s tape is used for small ones.
– Fill any holes on the surface which will ruin your smooth finish when you are done with painting. Large holes can be found and filled easily, so they shouldn’t be the problem. What you should keep in mind here is the small holes that cannot be detected easily by a quick look. They don’t seem so serious, but when you apply the paint on, it will ruin the perfect look you expect. You have to wait for the filling product to dry before sanding the surface. Feel free to skip the step if you don’t have interest in having a perfect painted surface.
– Sanding the wooden board. It is a compulsory step in surface preparation. If you don’t sand it, the paint will still stick on the wood. However, the layers will be uneven, and the color is imperfect. Start with coarse sandpaper if the initial surface is rough. We recommend one with 100 grit to get rid of large flaws. Then, go on with less rough material, such as 180 or 220 sandpaper.
However, consider thoroughly first. If the surface is fine enough before sanding, you should start with softer sandpaper right away. Be careful, but if you do the task for too long, you may take off a lot of wood on the surface.
– The previous task will result in a lot of wood dust. Therefore, after sanding, use a brush or a vacuum to get rid of the dust on the surface. A little of it may seem harmless, but it will badly affect your painting. A vacuum is more effective than a bush, so unless you are doing a small artwork, you should buy or rent an electric vacuum to get the job done faster and more efficiently.
After the step, use a soft, dry piece of cloth to remove the remaining dust. There is specialized cloth sold at department store used to do the task. Buy one of them to clean the dust professionally.
Priming and Painting
How to prime plywood properly
Firstly, use the primer to paint the edges of the wood. To do the task, you should use a brush rather than a roller or a sprayer since it will help you better in detailed jobs. To make the perfect primer layer, use the tap to line the border. After finish applying the primer, you should leave the tape on so it can be reused when applying coats.
Make a 3-4 inches border along the edges of the plywood surface. Smaller borderlines will make it more difficult for you while rolling or spraying layers on afterward.
Then, cover the whole surface with prime using overlapping, smooth strokes. The priming task is to seal the wooden board and make sure that the paint will stick well on the plywood in the next steps. Don’t leave any space unpainted with primer, and the best way to ensure the complete coverage is to paint it with overlapping movements. Besides, by using the method, you will even out the edges of every stroke, which saves paint and flatten the cover.
Though it may seem unnecessary, you have to read and follow the directions given on the package of the primer. The instructions should show the temperature suitable to apply the paint and the time required to wait before adding another coat on it.
How to put layers of paint of the primed surface
Do the same with the paint. Paint the edges of the surface with a brush first, and cover the whole with a thin, consistent coat. The thinner the coat is, the better it will look afterward. So after applying the first coat, you don’t have to worry about the still visible coats of primer underneath. Later coats of paint will cover it entirely.
After each coat, make sure you don’t forget sanding the surface when it’s dry. Sand it carefully, but just lightly to maintain the paint. Doing so will make the final product smoother. Use a fine piece of sandpaper to do the task instead of a rough one. The imperfections left after painting will be removed by the simple action.
Even when you don’t see any dust after sanding, use a piece of cloth to wipe the surface before heading to the next coat.
Only one layer will not give the best result, so don’t hesitate to apply additional ones. The more you use the surface afterward, the more layers you should put on the wooden board. For example, a plywood floor will require more painting than and ornamental product, since you will walk and put heavy things on it later.
Don’t forget to wait for each layer to dry completely before sanding and putting on a new coat. If you make the mistake, the whole job is wrecked, since you will ruin not only the surface layer but all the ones under it. Thinner coats will dry faster and make a better look when you finish.
Painting plywood requires patience and a lot of care, since it will not be a quick job, and you have to do lots of checking and waiting. The tasks are repeated, and you have to be focused all the time. Make sure your pets or your children stay away from where you are painting. They don’t want to, but the will destroy everything by just a simple move. Besides, pets’ fur, your child’s hair or even yours falling on the still wet layer of paint will cause a disaster.
So, it’s all about how to paint plywood step by step. Things will be different a bit depending on which stuff you are about to paint. But, in general, the principles are simple: prepare the surface first, prime it, then paint. Be careful to follow the instructions strictly, and don’t ruin your own hard work but a reckless minute.