Decorative Painting Tips: Surface Preparation

  • If your project piece is made of any kind of wood, sand it lightly before you basecoat.

  • NEVER sand an MDF piece BEFORE basecoating. MDF is a type of hardboard, which is made from wood fibres glued under heat and pressure. It contains a substance called urea formaldehyde, which may be released from the material when you sand it - this may cause irritation to the eyes and lungs.

  • If you see a dent in your wood piece just when you are going to paint it…try "lifting" the dent using a steam iron held close to (but not touching) the dent. The steam will swell the cells in the wood and your dent should disappear.

  • Wood is a porous thing and every application of something wet will raise the grain of the wood. The grain WILL come up - how much depends on the quality of the wood. Applying the sealer coat first will minimise the amount of grain that is raised in successive coats. In some woods, the grain will raise when you apply the basecoat even after you have sealed it. Sanding between each coat removes the raised grains and creates a smooth surface for you to decorate.

  • To seal wood, apply a coat of All Purpose Sealer or Clear Glazing Medium. If possible, leave it to cure for about 48 hours. The longer, the better. Do not sand it before it cures because the sandpaper will remove the sealer.


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