A way to finish MDF items nicely

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Preparing and Finishing the surface


If you have a plaque, item or a design that requires you to highlight areas that have been "Engraved" into the face of the product there is a chance that outlining the font or design will result in bleed out to the adjacent fibres within the MDF.

So, to reduce the problem it's wise to seal the entire surface with varnish or seal the surface with a layer of paint BEFORE you highlight the etching. If you spray or paint with lacquer or varnish be sure to choose one that is compatible with the finishing medium you want for the highlighting. Alternatively you can highlight the engraved areas using a hard pencil after your preferred finish has dried. This prevents bleed out also.

Once whatever you use for sealing is completely dry it's simple to highlight the design using a small fine soft paintbrush.

Use acrylic paint where possible as it's easier to clean off areas that have overspill on unless using a pencil to highlight.

Always use a damp lint-free cloth to remove overspill while it's wet. Carefully wipe AWAY from the design engraved area and pat dry around it.

Once the highlighting is complete and you are satisfied with the finish and it's totally dry it's wise to cover again with lacquer a few times.

Once the lacquer is dry gently and LIGHTLY rub down using a flat block wrapped with wet-n-dry paper at 1000-1200 grade with a lubricant of soapy water. This will prepare for the last stage, polishing.

A couple of coats of clear car polish will not only protect but produce a nice shine.

If the item is likely to be exposed to moisture like rain or water spray at any time ensure the whole item is sealed on all edges. A coat of silicon based clear sealer works well.

If you crack or break your project, don't despair as MDF readily glues well with ordinary PVA type wood glue.

Remember to coat the edges and rear of your product before placing it somewhere to be admired or passing it on as a gift etc.
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