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Subject: Advice on painting MDF Arkham Horror LCG box rss

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Mark Richards
United States
Texas
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So I designed and built myself a storage box for the Arkham Horror card game. It's basically an inner box of 3 rows, each 3" wide (designed to fit UltraPro Toploader sleeved separator cards), with adjustable dividers for organization, and an outer "lid" box that slides over the inner. I actually made two boxes - one out of Baltic birch, and one out of mdf. The baltic birch is in the middle of being stained, before finishing with Danish Oil and poly, but I am looking for advice on painting and finishing the mdf one. Should I prime it first? I'm thinking maybe spray a base coat (Rustoleum 2X maybe), and then use acrylic paint to hand brush the carvings, but I also know that mdf does not like water, and I've never painted mdf before. I have the box sanded to 220 and ready for finishing, but I'm not sure how best to approach it. Appreciate any advice, and all ideas welcome.

This is the outer box. I have carved designs on the top and side that I would like to make stand out


This is the inner box - 3 rows of storage, with removable dividers


This is the bottom of the box. Again, I would love to make the carvings stand out.
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Chris
United States
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I would imagine that after painting the mdf it will have a sandpaper texture. If it were me I would prime it first. After the primer is totally dry it could then be sanded (lightly) back to the silky texture you desire. It would then be ready for a paint finish.

Really cool box btw!

Chris
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John James
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Waterbury
Connecticut
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Testing is always a good idea. Get some scraps and see how they handle priming and painting.
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Lee Smith

Cedar Rapids
Iowa
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You'll definitely want to prime it first, and since you've already sanded it to 220, you should be OK. The biggest thing is to use really light coats. If you have to do 2 or three light coats, you'll be better off than if you tried to cover it all in a single coat. Resist the urge to do it all in one. Once the prime is done, you'll be able to tell if it raised the grain, it probably won't, but if it does, I'd use some steel wool (000 or 0000) to remove the raising.

Rustoleum is what I use for most things, so that shouldn't be a problem.

The best thing to know about spray paint is that you can always add a second coat, it's really hard to take the paint off. So, lots of light coats is key.

Oh, and nice box.
 
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Peter Gray
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We get the students at school to brush on a watered down (50/50) mix of PVA and water, especially on edge grain and areas that have been sanded already, to seal the surface.

Generally we tell them to only sand the bits they really need to, on MDF - The outer layers are a little denser than the core due to the manufacturing process. A good percentage of the outer layer is the bonding resin and sanding breaks through this to the more absorbent inner layers.

Once sealed with the PVA de-nib it with wire wool, prime and paint.

MDF is great to work with right up until you want to finish it, and then the work increases. That said, once finished well it is very nice.

Spraying is a matter of building many light coats.
 
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Jay Jasper
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I've had better luck w/oil based primers than water based.
 
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