How to create wood from MDF

I was set a challenge by The Son.  He needed kitchen shelves as he and his partner were rapidly running out of space.  Secretly he just missed being at home with us and our kitchen shelves but just didn’t want to say 😘. Anyway being my son he was quite exacting in his requirements, they needed to be dark wood, match the colour of his kitchen units, have black brackets, increase in size as they went up the wall and they needed to be cheap.

Now dark wood is not cheap so I dragged back my knowledge from the 1990’s, acquired from watching room makeover programmes of the time – do you remember Changing Rooms?  Well MDF was used in abundance and I remember, because I’d tried it, you could use stain to give MDF a fairly respectable wood finished.  And MDF definitely ticked the cheap box.

I had to convince The Son so I first took a scrap of MDF and stained it ……… with gravy browning (I didn’t have any wood stain to hand).  It served the purpose to show how you could get a grain effect, and he approved.  Of course, at the time I didn’t tell him it was gravy browning. Next, I just had to match the colour of the units with a real stain, although gravy browning finished with wax would have done the job a lighter colour was required as you can see below.

DIY MDF wood stain shelves

I used Sadolin Extra Durable Woodstain, Rosewood. it gave stain with a semi-gloss finish. One coat worked really well but the colour was just a bit too red.  So, I took some matt black paint and just gave the MDF a light covering.  I rubbed the black paint with a rag to give a streaky grain appearance and again when I added the stain I made sure there were brush marks, as this added to the illusion of wood grain.  And of course we purchased the MDF from the local  Buxton Building Supplies, who also cut the MDF to size. Here’s the pictures



I hadn’t realised getting plain black bracket was such an issue, the DIY stores only seem to stock either white or grey and if you remember The Son’s exacting requirements only black would do.  We eventually found them online from IronmongeryDirect, and they arrived the next day, spent more on the P&P than the brackets, but if we had spent more the postage would have been free. Don’t worry I’ll be adding up all the cost of this at the end. Oh and a message from Mr Husband who says if you try this make sure the brackets and fixings are suitable for the wall on which you are fixing the shelves and the expected load  – thank you 😍😍😍.  This is how the work progressed.

And this is the finished look.  The Son was right the insist on the black brackets I think.

DIY MDF wood stained shelves

We only fitted them last night but before we had driven home he had filled them!

DIY MDF shelves wood stained shelves

And finally the cost


Let me know if you’ve tried giving a wood finish to MDF and how it went. 😍😍😍




Categories: DIY, interior design, kitchen, storage

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. It does the trick really well!


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