best paint for plywood

Best Paint for Plywood

Painting- a serious form of visual arts, be it on a wood or a canvas. But there’s one thing that stands out when we say painting- the paint. For canvas and other, it’s an easy go with colors with no primer. But here we’re talking about plywood, so that’s complicated somewhere.

Plywood is a mixture of pine and cedar turned into compressed and layered wood. Now, making it a piece of art can be difficult since it has pores and can soak wrong paint resembling anything but the image that you had in mind. Here’s why we came up with this list where you’ll get the who, how, where, and what of painting on plywood.

Best 7 Paints for Plywood in 2021:

You’re into the ‘what’ part of the list now. Here, we’ll show you the list of the best plywood paints depending on usage, pressure, environment, and everything that you need to know.

1. KILZ TRIBUTE Interior Matte Paint And Primer in One:

KILZ TRIBUTE Interior Matte Paint is a GREENGUARD certified product, which means, it has low emission of chemicals and does not do any harm to the environment. This just gave it a free pass on our best interior paints.

Not only that it’s safe for the environment but also the quality and outlook are matchless. The formula is formulated to give excellent coverage with unbelievable durability and mildew-free finish. The washable feature is very impressive as it wipes almost all types of stains and makes the surface as good as new. Since it has primer in the formula, the application is roll and goal.

With this in your mind, you can have 100s of color choices (literally). The color varies from 100 classic neutrals to 4 sheens and counting. The application is pretty basic- mix the container well before use. Grab a high-quality roller and use it properly on an unprepared or prepared wood, masonry, drywall, etc that is completely clean. Per gallon of KILZ TRIBUTE paints can cover up to 400 sq.ft smooth surfaces and that’s a good deal considering the quality.

Special Features
  • Combination of paint and primer
  • Low VOCs and 100% acrylic
  • Good for high-traffic areas
  • Has excellent coverage and durability
  • Stain-resistant, washable

Buy at Amazon


2. Rust-Oleum Painters Touch Latex Paint:

Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover Multi-Purpose Brush-On Paint gives a smooth and glossy finish. This paint can be applied to wood, plaster, toys, masonry, metal, etc, and gives equally satisfying results on each of them. But there’s more to learn.

This particular paint is super fast drying making it perfect for quick projects. But that does not affect the quality of the paint at all, it’s still glossy and bright at the end. The superior hide quality and the durability outsmarts all other ordinary water-based acrylic latex paints. The amazing formula survives the atmosphere of both interior and exterior and since it has low VOCs and odor, it is safe for indoor usage too. Also, it resists fading, peeling, and chipping.

As it is a water-based acrylic paint, it can be quite messy while applying. For this, you can use brushes of different sizes, dip into the paint, and apply on your plywood. The brand recommends using primer and proper sanding before applying coats of the paint for the best results.

Special Features
  • Ideal for both interior and exterior
  • Low odor, water-based acrylic formula
  • Gives gloss finish and amazing hide
  • Fast dry, durable finish
  • Acrylic latex covers up to 120 sq.ft

Buy at Amazon


3. KILZ TRIBUTE Interior Eggshell Paint and Primer in One:

KILZ TRIBUTE Interior Eggshell Paint is 2-in-1 paint and primer and that makes us one less thing to do. Apart from the brand tag, if we judge it individually, that is one heck of quality paint. We’ll tell you why.

KILZ TRIBUTE is GREENGUARD Certified, which means it has a low odor and VOCs and perfectly safe for the environment and around people. So, if there are children or pets around, you’ve got nothing to worry about. The Eggshell formula is one of the satisfying one-roll-paints that we’ve come across, the consistency is perfect even for beginners since it doesn’t get messy. Plus, it offers complete freedom regarding colors. Be it sheen, classic, or on-trend colors, KILZ TRIBUTE got it all with a variety of formula.

Nevertheless, to say, the hide is superior to any other paints available. All it needs is just one smooth roll from the roller while providing maximum hide. The application is easy, grab a brush or roller, pour the paint in a tray, wet the roller/grab with it and you’re good to go.

Special Features
  • Low VOCs, Low odor
  • Easy to clean, stain-resistant
  • Excellent hide and coverage
  • Perfect consistency, one roll paint
  • Has a variety of attractive colors

Buy at Amazon


4. Krylon ColorMaster Paint + Primer:

Krylon improved their formula and came up with this masterpiece, history-changing spray paint outsmarting all the spray paint taboos. It comes in a chic bottle decked with a patented easy touch spray tip that gives you full control of the paint.

While other spray paints would suggest to use theirs at a distance of 12 inches and all, the bottle was designed to break the law. It promotes to spray it from a natural distance so that there is no wastage and runs or drips. The brand compares it with other spray paints and claims to have the maximum coverage possible. As their formula is paint + primer and gives us the full freedom of control, we wouldn’t be surprised if their claim turned out to be true. Most of the people tend to paint outdoors where specks of dirt, debris, etc may stick to your project so the pro part is it dries to the touch within 10 minutes or less.

The color choice is unbelievable, it has tons of colors with the best coverage possible. Final words- you’d be missing out if you don’t try.

Special Features
  • Dries super quickly
  • Can be sprayed on metal, wood, plastic
  • High coverage with attractive colors
  • Good for both indoor and outdoor

Buy at Amazon


5. Rust-Oleum Chalked Spray Paint:

Rust-Oleum’s Chalk spray is quite different from their mainstream ones. While their other mainstream paints of this brand would take overnight to set, the Chalked Spray Paint only needs 20 minutes or less for the superior coverage and chalky smooth finish.

The easy to use spray formula is totally controllable and flexible to use. The formula is designed to give full coverage with superior hide yet a chalky smooth finish, great for vintage works. There’s a lot of colors to choose from and they all give the nostalgia, timeless elegance, and vintage vibe. The application of the spray paint is very unique yet flexible and sandable too. Due to its oil-based adhesive formula, it remains stuck to the surface bringing the best of the color.

There’s no ‘built-in’ primer with the paint, so it’s better to use a primer and prepare the surface for the coat. Smooth the surface and wipe off the dust before spraying the first coat. After you’ve done with the coverage, sand the area, and watch it turn into a very rare vintage piece.

Special Features
  • Can be used on a variety of surfaces
  • Oil-based formula with amazing adhesion
  • Great for a vintage look
  • Superfast drying, sandable
  • Gives a chalky smooth finish
  • Superior coverage and durability

Buy at Amazon


6. Nuvo Driftwood 1 Day Cabinet Makeover Kit:

Nuvo Driftwood Cabinet Makeover Kit contains all the elements and tools that you need for a perfect cabinet makeup. This majestic kit includes 2 Quarts of Cabinet paint, One roller arm, 2 roller covers, One angled brush, Two Stir Sticks, and one ‘step-to-step’ illustrated guide. The best deal for the money.

The whole kit easily covers 100 sq.ft surface which is the size of an average kitchen. This water-based acrylic paint has low VOCs and odor making it completely safe around children, pets, and basically indoors. Everything including roller cover is in the kit so you’ll need minimal preparation beforehand. There’s no need to prime or strip your surface before the painting coat. But what you need to do is to sand the surface properly and wipe off all the residue. After that, clean it with water or Tsp substitute and pay extra attention to uneven surfaces. Be careful of the drips, use the tapes.

Your surface is ready to meet Nuvo now. Apply the first coat and wait for 2 hours for the next coat until you’re satisfied and amazed by the soft, elegant finish.

Special Features
  • Water-based acrylic paint
  • Needs no priming or stripping
  • Low VOCs and odor
  • Easy clean with soap and water
  • Gives a soft, satin finish
  • Ideal for indoor

Buy at Amazon


7. Shabby Chic Chalk Furniture Paint:

Shabby Chic’s Chalk Furniture paint is an ideal paint for vintage furniture with a smooth and elegant finish. The formula is thick, rich, and enriched with pigments that stick to the surfaces including the un-primed ones hiding imperfections.

This paint has low VOCs and low odor so it can be easily used in enclosed spaces. It’s non-toxic so you don’t have to worry about those chemicals for your children or pets. The brand claims to give maximum coverage within one coat and we can’t but agree to this. Although many users are happy with their brush application, using a roller showed the best results. Shabby Chic can also be used outdoors too and since it dries pretty fast, dirt and dust can barely get it. You can give it a distressed vibe by painting two coats in contrasting hues then properly sand the surface when dry.

The thick formula glides smoothly on the surface with a roller and gives superior and excellent hide with that, without even using the primer. You can apply the next coat within 15 minutes and it dries pretty fast to a smooth, vintage, and chalky finish.

Special Features
  • Thick and rich formula
  • Allows a second coat within 15 minutes
  • Brings vintage look, indoor friendly
  • Non-toxic and water-based
  • Comes in 36 different colors

Buy at Amazon


Factors to Consider while Choosing the Best Paint for Plywood:

The best plywood paint is shrouded with confusion because honestly, it’s not easy dealing with mixed opinions on the internet. So, it’s always better to rethink your want and then find those factors in the product:

● The formula. Are you comfortable with water-based paints or oil-based ones? The formula can be thick like Nuva or watery or spray paint. Some paints work great with rollers but can’t score with brushes. So, choose your desired consistency.

● 2-in-1 feature. Some paints have ‘built-in’ primer in their formula so you do not need any extra primer beforehand. But, many users prefer using primer, sanding beforehand, and do not like to risk extra buck and product. Are you one of them?

● The project. Choosing paints mostly depends on projects. For example, for a painting plywood ‘floor’, you have to use acrylic latex or oil-based paint. For light works like small metals, wood crafts, etc, spray paint is good enough.

● VOCs and odor. If you are having children and pets around and thinking of doing the work indoors, you might want to give it a thought.

● Easy clean. Look for something that are easy to clean when stained. That will save you money when necessary.

Now you know what you’re looking for.

How to Paint Plywood To Get a Good Finish?

As we said, the worst paints will bring the worst out of plywood. Not just with paints, you need to know the application for a good finish. Imagine spending all your time and money searching for the best paint when you don’t even know how to apply it properly.

We got your back on this, just remember the following procedure:

● Firstly, take your plywood and smoothen the wood using a sanding block. The surface of the plywood might be rough and unprepared for the process, so sand where necessary and then wipe off the dust with a rag.

● Be careful to damp the surface as it’ll cause grains to rise. Wipe off the dust one last time before pouring the primer.

● Pour the primer in a tray and roll it in the direction of the wood grain using a roller. Let the primer dry for 24 hours.

● Gently sand the primer and smooth it but don’t try to take it off. Use a cloth to get rid of the remaining dust.

● Apply a second coat of the primer, wait for 24 hours and sand it. Wipe it clean with the cloth again.

● Finally, pour the paint in the tray, take a roller, and get enough paint on it. Roll the roller in the direction of the wood grain. Wait for the paint to dry overnight and lightly sand it after that.

● Wipe off the remaining extra dust, apply the last coat of the paint, and wait for the final result.

And that’s it.

What Kind of Paint is the Best for Painting Plywood?

Plywood, like any other wood, requires proper priming & painting to survive in the pressure. The humidity or roughness of the atmosphere affects the painting. For example – painted plywood lasts longer indoors than outdoors. So, to choose the best paint for plywood floor or any craft, you need to know the environment or pressure that plywood’s going to face. And here, we made a list for that.

● Suppose you’re going for a painted plywood floor. Since it’s going to face so much pressure, you’re going to need heavy-duty paints. Choose paints like acrylic latex or oil-based that can hold on to this.

● If you are working on an art project, acrylic paint should be the one.

● If you’re going for the smoothest finish, go for acrylic and enamel paints. Sand between the coats of paints and primer and watch your wood ‘shine bright like a diamond’.

● Users recommend using MDO plywood for exterior surfaces with acrylic latex paints. This has wide bands of summerwood which will prevent the paint from peeling.

Do not use interior plywood outdoors. That way, they won’t cope up with the exterior atmosphere and will eventually damp and lastly, fall into pieces. Whereas with exterior plywood, it’ll do just great even without paintings. Acrylic latex paints are the best one for exterior right there.

Don’t forget the primer, it’s the magical ingredient.

Do I Need to Prime Plywood before Painting?

Should I always include a primer on my list? 

Well, that’s a subjective question and so, we’ll let you know why you should include primer in the list:

● Primers seal the wood surface.
● Primer doesn’t soak into the wood and locks the moisture with it.
● Fills the wood grain and creates a smooth surface.
● Prevents raw, unfinished woods to soak up the paint.

And you can skip if:
● The wood is pre-primed
● The paint contains primer

Primer is basically hard to ignore. Without primer, there remains a risk of peeling, moisture, proper adhesion, and can even cause to lower the quality of your paint and eventually the look.


1. How do You Seal & Paint Plywood?

That’s easy. Just apply the first coat of the primer to the surface using a roller and sand the area after drying. Apply a second coat of the primer and let it dry. Sand the surface using a sand block and clean the area with a piece of cloth or rag. Now the surface is ready to meet its new color.

2. Can I Waterproof Plywood?

Yes, waterproofing plywood is very common. The paint or spray-on liquid latex can help you in this matter. Although there is another way of waterproofing which is penetrating sealers and oils into the surface. But most users find the first one more convenient so you can go with spray-on liquid latex.

3. Is it Really Necessary to Use a Primer?

It depends on the surface and paint. Plywood generally has pores and grains and it can soak colors that make the color look unworthy. But some paints contain ‘2-in-1’ features, that is, they contain primer with paint so you really don’t need to prepare the surface beforehand.

4. Why should I Protect the Edges?

The protection of the edges is very important since the durability of the product depends on it. So, never forget to protect that.


We’ve pretty much covered the who, how, where, and what of plywood paintings that you were promised + some bonus FAQs. If you’ve understood the concept and consider the factors before buying your painting colors, we don’t think anything’s going to stop you to transform that boring furniture into a piece of art.