How to Paint Fiberboard

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Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloth or paper

  • Safety goggles

  • Sand paper, fine grained

  • Dust cloths

  • Rags

  • Painter’s mask

  • Spray-on primer

  • Synthetic paintbrushes

  • Acrylic latex paint


When spraying primer, keep your arm moving to prevent uneven distribution of primer over the surface.

Acrylic latex paint is used in this article due to its easy cleanup (it is water based). For higher gloss and a harder finish, you can add a top coat to the paint, or you can, instead, use an oil-based enamel.

Synthetic paintbrushes are recommended over natural bristles for all latex paint types.


Most primers and some paints give off noxious and/or flammable fumes. Always work in a well-ventilated area away from open flames.

Fiberboard is a common building material used for many kinds of furniture. Bookshelves, entertainment centers and even coffee tables are often created using fiberboard. You can update or otherwise improve fiberboard by painting it. To do this correctly, however, you will need to take a little extra time priming it than you would solid wood furniture because fiberboard is more porous. Other than that, painting fiberboard is similar to painting wood.


How to Paint Fiberboard

Step 1

Put paper or a drop cloth down beneath the fiberboard object to be painted. At this time, also put on safety goggles/glasses. Lightly sand all surfaces and edges to be painted. Dust off the fiberboard afterward, using either a tack cloth or a dust cloth. The surface needs to be clean before you prime.


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Step 2

Put on a painter's mask—primer gives off a lot of fumes—and open some windows to ventilate the area (or, preferably, do the priming outdoors).

Step 3

Hold the spray primer at least 1 foot away from the fiberboard. Spray it evenly over the entire surface and then let it dry. For best results, add another coat of primer.


Step 4

Use a paintbrush to apply a thin coat of paint on the fiberboard. Allow it to dry and then sand the surface very lightly. Sanding minimizes brush marks and allows the second coat to bond more easily with the first.

Step 5

Dust off the fiberboard before applying the next coat. You will need to apply at least one more coat of paint, and probably at least three coats total, for best results.