How to Paint Plywood – The Incredible Guide

Last Updated on May 14, 2021 by James

You might have seen that plywood surfaces are not very attractive on their own unless they have been coated. Now, buying a veneer or buying pre-veneered plywood or board is often not relevant for the majority of projects.

Now, painting plywood can give a terrible look in case it’s not done correctly. Well! If you still want to paint plywood always prefer to use the non-glossy paints called “Satin” paints. These paints don/t offer a shinner look or look like a plastic emulsion.

Here we are going to put lights on the stages to a very decent finish to plywood.

How to Paint Plywood?

Here, we have mentioned a step by step guide which shows you easiest way to paint plywood. So, follow each step carefully to get a smooth and perfect surface.

Step 1: Gather all your Materials

1. Buy Paint and Primer

When you are buying paint and primer, you have to take your surface under consideration. You have to think that whether your finished product is ready to paint or not? Moreover, paint and primer mainly add longevity to your surface.

2. Choose a Paintbrush or Roller

Choose a quality paint brush or a roller to get a paint job on your plywood. You can buy brushes or rollers easily from hardware or home improvements stores. Pick a roller or a paintbrush which suitable with your paint and primer you purchased.

3. Consider using a Paint Sprayer for a Bigger Job

If you are going to paint a large area such as the walls of several rooms, in that case, opt a paint sprayer. You can take a paint sprayer on rent or purchase the equipment from your local hardware or home improvement store.

4. Purchase Sandpaper, Sanding Tool, and Hole Filler

When painting plywood, it’s essential to prepare the surface by sanding it properly. Sanding removes all the imperfections in the wood and thus gives a smooth finished surface. You can either use the sanding tool, popularly known as Orbital Sander.

Note: Electric Sanding Tools are mainly used for a large area to sand.

In case your plywood has imperfections which cannot be sanded out, you might need to fill them with hole filler.

Step 2: Prepare the Surface

1. Mask off all the areas which you don’t want to paint

In case you are painting plywood indoors, you should mask off areas which could get paint or dust on them accidentally.

2. Fill the Holes and Sand your Plywood

Now, before sanding your plywood fill all the holes if left. These holes cause the imperfections on the finished surface. Once you’ve filled all the gaps, sand your plywood so that you can get a smooth surface for paint.

3. Remove Dust from the Surface

Once you are done sanding, you need to remove the wood dust from all over the plywood. In case you don’t remove the dust it will give a negative impact on your surface.

Step 3: Do Primer & Painting via a Brush, Roller, or Sprayer

1. Paint the edges with primer

When you paint a floor or other surface which needs detailed work on the edges, then use a brush for those areas. Basically, a paintbrush can give you more control and detail than a roller or a sprayer.

2. Prime the Plywood Surface by using Smooth, Overlapping Strokes

Undoubtedly, the primer is used to seal the surface and thus ensures that the paint adheres to the plywood well. Paint the entire surface with the primer, and make sure that all the areas are evenly covered.

3. Cut in with the Paint & Apply the First Thin Coat of Paint

First, paint the edges of the surface with the brush before doing your general paint. Take your time for detailing and use brush, sprayer or roller on the rest of the surface. Once the applied primer gets completely dry, you can now apply the first thin coat of paint.

4. Sand Between Each Coat

Sanding between each coat will make your final product more smooth and perfect. Sanding will remove any imperfections that have occurred as you painted.

5. Apply Additional Coats

It is being recommended to apply several thin coats of paint to get a smooth and robust final surface. It’s true, in case you are using your final surface for walking.


So, here we have mentioned a step by step guide to which will help you to paint plywood. Generally, you don’t need to anything further; however, there are times for the extra smooth surface which you might want to run down the last coat lightly. But you need to be very careful and gentle this time and try to avoid overdo things as the previous coating is pretty thin.

In case you are going to do a heavy usage of plywood consider placing a sheet of glass over it. Moreover, you can use a coat of water based on Polyurethane; however, it tends to spoil the satin look of the surface.