Plywood surfaces are usually not very attractive on their own unless they have been veneered. Attaching veneer or buying pre-veneered plywood or board is often not appropriate for many projects, especially the more functional ones for the kitchen, bathroom or garage storage.
A straight paint job is often the only finish required. The results can be quite pleasing if some amount of care is taken.
I often get questions about painting plywood, which is understandable because painted plywood can look terrible if not done properly.
I prefer to use the non-glossy paints called "satin" paints. These paints do not shine or look like plastic emulsion. They give a smooth, silky look. Dulux and a number of other companies makes these paints and you can choose from many different shades.
The stages to a very decent if not excellent finish are as follows:
1. Light sanding. No abrading, just rubbing gently to remove burrs, loose bits and so on.
|First Coat of Primer Applied|
2. First coat of wood primer; slop it on any way you can. No need for any technique or finesse.
|Water, chalk, paint and scraper|
3. Chalk, water and paint mix coat. Chalk powder is readily available in all paint shops; mix this with a bit of water to get a thick cream-like consistency; to this add a bit of paint; mix well and apply.
|The chalk coating dried and sanded. Looks a bit patchy but not to worry|
If the chalk coating after sanding looks patchy not to worry, the next step will fix it
4. After this dries, sand it lightly with 220 grit paper. If the application is extremely patchy you might consider applying another light coat of the chalk mixture. But this is strictly not necessary provided the coverage has been consistent and complete.
|Second coat of primer applied after sanding chalk coat. Slight patches visible.|
After another coat of primer things begin to look up even though patches are still visible. Go for another coat of primer if you are a perfectionist give another coat or esle let it be. A coat of paint will even things and no patches will show.
5. Second coat of primer.
6. Sand after primer has dried and apply first coat of paint.
|This photo was taken after second coat of paint has dried and sanded thoroughly. In places the primer base is exposed. This is fine because all the high spots have been sanded and the next few coats applied thinly will coat everything beautifully.|
7. Let paint dry for at least 24 hours; in the monsoons 2/3 days is better. Then sand thoroughly with 320 grit paper. Do not fret if the sanding exposes parts of the primer coat. The important thing is to rub down the high spots and brush marks of the first paint coat. After sanding the surface should feel smooth to the touch.
8. Apply second coat of paint; let dry and sand again.
|This is after the second coat of paint has dried. The surface is excellent already but another round of sanding and a thin third coat would do wonders.|
9. Apply a thin third coat of paint diluted appropriately with turpentine. This should provide a good final finish.
Generally, there is no need to do anything further but at times for the extra smooth surface you might want to run down the last coat lightly with 600 grit sandpaper lurbicated with a little water. But be gentle this time and do not overdo things as the last coat is pretty thin.
If the surface will be subject to heavy usage consider placing a sheet of glass over it. A coat of water based Polyurethane could also be applied but that tends to spoil the satin look.
14 August 2014