View Full Version : Smooth MDF as a support?
09-16-2005, 12:09 PM
I just gotten my hands on some 900x600 sheets of smooth 3mm MDF and am considering using them for my next painting(s). Does anyone know the best way to prepare the surface for acrylics?
Would a couple of coats of matt household emulsion do the trick?
Sorry if this question has been asked before but I can't seem to find it :o
Rgds Kieran :)
09-16-2005, 12:30 PM
Kieran, I think you need to seal all sides/edges of mdf, and unless your worried about archival conditions, can't see a problem with emulsion - particularly the acrylic type. (Or white undercoat).
Take a look at Einion's thread re supports in the Classroom and Projects sticky near the top of the forum page - she did a whole Classroom on supports and I think mdf was covered.
09-19-2005, 06:26 AM
Thanks Charlies Mum,
I'll check out Einion's thread re supports in the Classroom and Projects sticky.
Rgds Kieran :)
09-19-2005, 03:39 PM
Hi Kieran - MDF makes a fine and inexpensive support. I treat it with 3 coats of Gesso on both sides and edges.
09-19-2005, 06:51 PM
Hi Kieran, I've painted on MDF for many years now and two coats of gesso works great. I have also used matt household emulsion and it works fine too.
09-20-2005, 09:02 PM
MDF works fine as a support, as has been mentioned gesso both sides and the edges. I did a number of works on MDF before I moved to canvas, all are still OK - the support that is, the paintings themselves leave a lot to be desired! MDF is cheap and plentiful, it just needs to be framed to be hung.
09-21-2005, 07:34 AM
Keuka, Serena & Marty, Thanks guys for your advice. :wave:
I happen to have a lot of white household emulsion lying around from various paint jobs and also have a lot of coloured emulsions too - must experiment with using different coloured backgrounds.
One last question: Gesso is a product I have never used - what is the difference between Gesso and household emulsion?
- Kieran :)
09-21-2005, 11:43 AM
Hey Kieran, conas tá tú? MDF is quite a good painting support if treated properly. I believe hardboard is better because it doesn't contain an adhesive to bond the wood fibres together but this is mainly an archival issue, so if you're not concerned about this sort of thing don't worry.
The best preparation procedure would be to give the board a quick sand with medium-grit sandpaper (take care of the dust as it is slightly toxic) then seal it - front, back and all edges - with one or two dilute coats of polyurethane varnish (spirit-based, not water-based ideally). Then lightly sand/scuff the surface and apply three or more coats of acrylic 'gesso' primer (for more detail see the November 2004 classroom (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=227402)); because MDF is quite rigid you might be okay only priming the front but some people also prime the back and all edges.
I would not recommend you use emulsion paint to prime your painting supports but again, if you're not concerned about archival issues don't sweat it.
09-21-2005, 12:06 PM
Hi Einion :wave:
Tá me go maith Buicheas le Dia. Agus tusa freisin? :)
Thanks for the excellent advice. It was a choice between hardboard and MDF and I plumped for the MDF thinking it would be better/stronger than hardboard (even though the hardboard was much cheaper)! I never really thought of the archival value of my paintings, but it raises some interesting questions... At present I'm not overly concerned about archival issues as I'm just trying to build up a portfolio of work, but next time I'm buying supports I'll definitely consider hardboard ahead of MDF.
Nár lagaí Dia do lámh!
- Kieran :)
PS: When using hardboard do you typically use the rough side or the smooth side?
09-21-2005, 03:42 PM
Thanks for the excellent advice. It was a choice between hardboard and MDF and I plumped for the MDF thinking it would be better/stronger than hardboard (even though the hardboard was much cheaper)! MDF is generally quite a bit stronger.
I never really thought of the archival value of my paintings, but it raises some interesting questions... ...but next time I'm buying supports I'll definitely consider hardboard ahead of MDF.Few of us do! There are professional painters who paint on plywood and MDF - some of whom may not shame my view of the relative merits of the three types of common board (some don't care!) - but in any case you should get a good many years of service from the least of them so no need to worry overmuch.
When using hardboard do you typically use the rough side or the smooth side?Oh, the smooth side! You can paint on the rough side but many people dislike the texture. Check the link above for more details.
Tá me go maith Buicheas le Dia. Agus tusa freisin? :) Hehe, the above is about the limit of my Irish and even at that I had to check to make sure I was spelling it correctly!
09-22-2005, 06:34 AM
Hehe, the above is about the limit of my Irish and even at that I had to check to make sure I was spelling it correctly!
Spelled perfectly :)
"Tá me go maith Buicheas le Dia. Agus tusa freisin?" = I'm fine thank God. And yourself?"
"Nár lagaí Dia do lámh" = May God not weaken your hand.
09-22-2005, 04:23 PM
When using hardboard do you typically use the rough side or the smooth side?
I also always use the smooth side, in fact one reason I use MDF and hardboard is because I like a smooth surface.
02-28-2007, 09:41 AM
Okay question, sorry if it sounds silly, what does MDF stand for? Thanks Tracy
02-28-2007, 12:23 PM
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