- June 20, 2019
- by Columbia Forest Products
For experienced woodworkers and designers, medium-density fiberboard, or MDF, is often used in mock-up projects and basic workshop furniture.
But MDF also works as a solution for other projects, such as fine woodworking and home furniture applications. It’s a sturdy product that can cut costs significantly if you’re looking for something reliable and easy to work with, so we’re excited to share a few more ways that you can use MDF in your next design.
What Is MDF and Why Should I Use It?
Medium-density fiberboard, or MDF, is a highly stable product, usually made from wood fiber that’s fused together with an adhesive. It’s is known for its great stability and can stand up to typical changes in temperature or humidity in regulated indoor environments. It’s dense, smooth surface works well with paint, finishes or veneer faces, and it has stronger screw-holding properties than particleboard.
MDF has long been manufactured with resins that contain formaldehyde, but there are other options, made using a no-added urea formaldehyde system, which are now available to woodworkers and designers.
Let’s look at several ways that you can incorporate this easy-to-use and cost-effective solution into your next project.
Display Shelving to Showcase Style
Give your space some character with display shelves that let you showcase your favorite photos and artwork. MDF is perfect for shelving, offering a stable and smooth surface for finishes or layering with veneer and sturdy enough to hold your favorite art.
MDF can bring any fun new idea to life, at more budget-friendly prices. Playful designs like the scattering of shelves and cabinets in this school’s conference room are made possible with the right products and planning. To copy this look, use MDF panels to build the frames in the repeating square design, then fill with your favorite books.
Durable Kitchen Cabinets
Make your dream kitchen come to life using MDF. The stability of MDF makes it easy to work with and install. It’s also durable enough to handle the load of every holiday, birthday and family gathering it witnesses.
Elegant Bathroom Design
Bring clean design and elegance to your bathroom. MDF works well in bathroom cabinet applications. And you can apply any finish or veneer to MDF, ensuring it’ll fit any design you throw at it.
Photo Credit: Christian Bros Cabinets
For busy entryways, having storage is crucial. Build in functionality and appeal with a stylish storage unit in your mudroom or by any doorway, to help keep the area free of clutter. Designers can use medium-density fiberboard panels for any of the cabinet panels or doors, or you could build additional shelving to make full use of vertical space.
Tidy, Efficient Office Storage
To help keep things tidy and functional, MDF can go a long way in your home office design. Use MDF for the shelving frames around your favorite backing panel for a coordinated and sleek design.
Dynamic Laundry Room Design
Keep your laundry room more organized with storage cabinets or shelves. The shelving design above uses a deep gray that contrasts sharply with the fresh white and cream colors in the rest of the space. MDF panels could help you supply ample amounts of shelving in your washroom, or you might consider a small set of drawers to stow away extra laundry supplies.
Furniture for the Family
The affordability of MDF makes it a solid choice for designers and woodworkers who want to build furniture for growing families. Because it’s easy to paint on or apply veneers to, the options for furniture design are almost endless. This makes it perfect for building a new dresser for the nursery or toy storage for the kids’ playroom.
Trimming Costs With MDF
“To make trim, I cut MDF sheets into strips and shape the edges with a router or router table. With the right bit, I can create just about any trim profile, simple or fancy,” writes one expert for Family Handyman.
Final Tips for Using MDF in Your Next Project
There’s really no shortage of uses for MDF, but if you’re considering it for your next design, keep in mind the following:
- MDF is densely packed wood fiber, so it can be heavy! Consider buying MDF in half or quarter sheets to make the job easier on your back.
- Because it’s dense, MDF is also tough on fastners. Pre-drilling holes before using screws can help.
- Wear a dust mask! MDF produces a lot of fine dust, so be sure to wear a face mask and cut parts outside if you can.
There are dozens of ways to use MDF in your next project, especially if you’re looking for a highly versatile and inexpensive product to work with.
Need more project inspiration? Check out our gallery here to motivate your next design.