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How to Paint Over Compressed Wood

Compressed wood, also known as particle board, can be painted, but first the wood must be properly prepared. Compressed wood has an uneven, slightly bumpy surface and it's very porous. Some types of particle board also have a faux wood veneer. Many furniture items feature both types, with veneer on the exposed surfaces and bare particle board used on drawers and inside cabinets. Both types of compressed wood require sanding, which will smooth the bumpy surface or scuff the smooth veneer to allow for proper paint adherence. Sanding is followed by the application of a sealant.

Things You'll Need

  • Face mask
  • Protective goggles
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Sanding block or random orbital sander
  • Large paintbrush
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Water
  • Oil-based seal coat primer
  • Two medium synthetic paintbrushes or rollers
  • Indoor paint
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    • 1

      Don a face mask and protective goggles.

    • 2

      Sand the wood in a well-ventilated area. Sanding will smooth the raw, unfinished particle board and it will scuff areas that are covered with veneer.

    • 3

      Brush away sawdust with a large paintbrush.

    • 4

      Wipe down the wood with a slightly damp lint-free cloth.

    • 5

      Apply one to two coats of seal coat primer with a paintbrush or roller. Allow the primer to dry thoroughly between coats.

    • 6

      Apply two coats of paint with a paintbrush or foam roller. Allow the paint to dry between coats.