HowTo - Staining MDF

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by BenSC, Aug 27, 2003.

  1. BenSC

    BenSC Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    So, I've been reading a lot in threads about how staining MDF is bad (the shelving thread in the Construction forum) and about veneer in here, so I figured I would post this up in case anyone else is intrested in giving it a go. The trick is to lay on the stain in such a way that it creates a pattern that resembles real wood. Below is a picture of the final product, and a description of how to do it.

    Click on the image to view the monstrously large one:
    [​IMG]

    It's actually pretty basic, just takes time to get the strokes right. First, clean the surface (of course). Next, using a thick bristled brush, forget everything you know about staining wood, and use the stain like paint. You're going to want to make long strokes, and keep them from being the same length. Overlap each stroke, but not by the same amount each time, too consistent makes it look real fake. Also, make sure you're not laying it on TOO thick, you should still be able to get a "transparent" feel from looking at it. Once it dries, you should have a fairly flat surface with a slight ripple if you slide your finger across the "grain."

    So, now you sand using a fiarly fine grit, say 120. Then lay on the polyurithane. I put it on thick the first time, to fill in some slight irregularities in the coat of stain, then sanded and did about 4 light coats from there.

    Lastly, slap on some furniture polish (I prefer just spraying some nice lemon scented pledge) and whala, instant finish.
     
  2. Allen Ross

    Allen Ross Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    819
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    not to shaby what stain did you use?
     
  3. Tommy T

    Tommy T Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2002
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Pretty nice Ben!

    I've done the exact same thing before when I made a TV stand out of MDF. I actually used one of the All-in-one stain urethane's (Bombay Mahogany) from MinWax for 2 coats and finished up with one clear coat of just urethane. For what it was worth, it did the job nicely.

    Tommy
     
  4. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2002
    Messages:
    2,588
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I've created "grain" before by using the following:

    1) Cheap China bristle paint brush (about $1.25 at Home Depot)
    2) MinWax Gel stain
    3) Paint thinner

    Apply the gel stain with the brush - it will be quite thick and dark on the surface. Dip the brush in paint thinner and start "painting" the grain over the gel stain. To remove some of the thinner/stain, wipe the brush periodically on a towel or dust-free rag. Once the stain surface has dried, apply polyurethane over it.

    I stained the following table using the above-described method - however, the table had some grain because of the cherry wood. Here's a picture:


    [​IMG]
     
  5. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2002
    Messages:
    1,865
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Heh, I tried "The Good Stuff" which is a butcher block maple finish on scrap MDF, and the results were hideous. [​IMG]

    I guess you gotta be a painter and make it look like wood. Those tables look nice.
     
  6. AnilJ

    AnilJ Auditioning

    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Since you're staining MDF, does the MDF still require a coat of primer?
     
  7. Allen Ross

    Allen Ross Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    819
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    paint primer?

    do you use paint primer on staining regular wood?


    or are you talking about a pretreatment?
     
  8. BenSC

    BenSC Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Nope, no primer.

    I used minwax stuff from HD, but not the kind that has poly in it.
     
  9. AnilJ

    AnilJ Auditioning

    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I guess I was refering to repainting/restaining an enclosure which originally has the standard black oak finish.

    I was thinking of first staining with the base stain color and then something darker to accentuate the grain. Maybe putting on the darker stain and then wiping it off, allowing the residue to collect in the fake grain.
     

Share This Page