4 Ways to Make Particle Board Look Good

Ways to Make Particle Board Look Good

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Particle board is a fairly useful building material. That being said, it doesn’t really look all that nice. That’s exactly what we are here to discuss today, as we want to provide you with a variety of ways to make particle board look better.

None of the methods we are about to talk about below are particularly labor-intensive, but they can add a certain something to that boring and dull particle board.

1. Sand and Prime the Particle Board (and Use a Drywall Compound on the Edges)

If you really want to preserve as much of the particleboard appearance as possible, something you might want to try doing is just sanding it. You can use some fine-grit sandpaper to remove any blemishes and roughness, which will help make it look much smoother. Simply smoothing it down can make it much more appealing to the eye.

On that note, if sanding it alone is not enough, you can always try priming it too. A good layer of primer will not only make it a bit glossier, but also serves as the perfect base for a layer of stain, varnish, or paint. Remember, you can’t paint particle board without priming it first, at least not very well.

This is especially the case when it comes to the raw edges of the particle board. Those really rough and raw edges are not going to take on paint very well if you don’t prepare it first.

However, in this case, for the edges of raw particleboard, using some sort of drywall compound is actually recommended. Drywall compound can be easily sanded once dry, seals the edges very well, and will allow those edges to accept paint afterward.

2. Stain or Varnish the Particle Board

If you are looking to change the appearance of the particle board and protect it, then you might want to consider varnishing or staining it.

Now, what you do need to know here is that staining wood is typically done to change the color and to add a bit of protection, whereas varnishes are designed mostly to protect the wood, but may not necessarily change the appearance. Therefore, if changing the appearance of the particle board is your primary goal, then you’ll want to make sure to use stain.

Of course, the really neat thing about staining is the fact that it will make the particle board look much darker, somewhat closer to real wood. It may also emphasize the grain that you see in particle board. Now, emphasizing particle board grain won’t make it look exactly like real wood, but it may make it look a little better.

Sealing the particle board will also help with increasing its ability to handle moisture and sunlight, prevent rotting, make it more durable, and of course, preserve its aesthetic appeal. Although this does work for outdoor purposes, staining particle board won’t make it 100% waterproof, so it’s best done for indoor applications.

Click here to learn more about how to stain a particle board

3. Paint the Particle Board

Another thing that you can do to make particle board look better is simply painting it. Once again, remember that you do first have to prime the particle board before painting it, and most likely sand it down before that.

With that being said, if you are looking to really hide that not-so-pleasing appearance of particle board, then this is probably the best way to go. Sure, sanding, priming, staining, and varnishing will all change the appearance, but none of those things will actually hide its imperfections better than paint.

If you paint particle board, especially with a couple of layers of decent paint, it’s going to totally hide that fibrous and grainy appearance.

Applying a good layer of paint will also allow the particleboard to become more durable, more waterproof, and more resistant to the sun. If you are planning to use particle board for outdoor purposes, this is a good way to go.

Paint Particle Board to Make It Look Good

4. Create a Faux Wood Finish: Four Techniques

Here, we’re talking about creating a fake wood finish using a variety of different painting techniques. Let’s take a quick look at the four different ways you can make particle board look a whole lot like authentic wood.

  • Dragging: if you want to make your particleboard look like real wood, dragging is one very popular technique. To drag particle board, you’re going to use a very inexpensive bristle brush to apply paint, and drag the brush in the direction the wood grain is supposed to go. You actually want to use a cheap brush, because the bristles clump together and then create a very uneven drag that makes it look like authentic wood. You then want to drag a dry brush through the wet glaze to really make that grain look pronounced.
  • Flogging: There is another technique known as flogging, which is usually done right after dragging. Here, you’re going to use a paintbrush to lightly pat the surface while the glaze is still wet. You’re going to hold the brush completely parallel to the surface of the particle board as you do this flogging. You also want to hold the handle of the brush so that it points in the opposite direction of the wood grain.
  • Graining: This process is quite similar to dragging the particle board, although here it involves the use of a metal comb. Using a metal comb allows you to create really wavy lines and curves. Here, you’re going to apply a decent layer of paint with a paintbrush, and then use a comb to create any pattern you see fit.
  • Mottling: The other technique that you can use is known as mottling. Here you’re going to apply a layer of paint, and then wipe away paint in certain areas using a mottling brush. Once the paint has been removed in some areas, you’re going to pull the brush along the length of the particle board using a bouncing and snaking motion. This will ensure that the mottling is not uniform and therefore looks like authentic wood.


As you can see, although particle board doesn’t look great to begin with, there are a few great things you can do to make it look much better.