Will Painting the Edges of Plywood Hide the Layers?

Image of a plywood but Will Painting the Edges of Plywood Hide the Layers?Plywood is among the most inexpensive and convenient materials for building projects. You can use it for building bookcases, shelves, and cabinets. However, the exposed edges often look unfinished and may not give the desired appearance. So, it would be helpful to answer the query, will painting the edges of plywood hide the layers?

No. Painting plywood edges does not hide the layers. You’ll still get some layering and imperfections such as shadow lines or differently colored areas. However, you can try to hide the layers by painting thick coats. But this is usually not a good idea as you will need many coats and lengthen the drying time. Also, you may end up with an uneven profile.

That said, let’s get into the article. It gives us more information about plywood layers and how to deliver a perfect paint coat.

How Do You Hide Plywood Edges?

Plywood consists of a series of laminated strips with the wood grain on subsequent layers. These layers are usually in a perpendicular manner to each previous layer. And you need woodworking glue to press them in place.

Although these alternating strips make the wood a perfect building material, uncovered edges can detract from the lovely overall finish. So, check out the following methods to handle these edges.

  • Edge Banding

Laminated edge banding is an obvious product in your home center or hardware. Hence, it is easy to access the accessory. Banding is also probably the easiest and most common strategies to cover plywood edges. In addition, it is flexible enough to adhere to curves and thus durable.

You need heat to melt the glue and attach the edge banding. So, please consider using a specially designed heat gun or an old flat iron before positioning the edge banding. Or else the accessory will come off within a short duration.

On top of that, use a firm roller to eliminate bubbles from the surface and secure the edge banding to the lumber. Next, get a utility knife or scraper to remove excess glue once it dries. And finally, trim the edges of the edge banding flush for a neat finished look.

  • Screen Molding

Screen molding is another technique that helps you to hide plywood edges. You can tack it into the plywood’s edge using a brad nailer. Then, sand the edges to achieve a smooth and even surface.

Additionally, it would be best to use a wood filler to fill and cover nail holes before applying the paint. Also, please ensure that you pick the correct screen molding for your plywood’s thickness.

  • Tongue and Groove

Believe it or not, this strategy is a common one for plywood edge treatment. It is a simple technique as you only need to apply a hardwood stock piece to the edge. But there is a caveat. Please ensure that the stock matches the wood or compliments it to deliver a contrasting look.

You can cut the groove into either the hardwood or plywood edging. Then, get the corresponding tongue from the opposite material. In addition, you will get a better outcome by centering the tongue. It should also be one-third of the thickness of the lumber.

For example, consider ¼ inch wide groove in the center of the adjoining pieces if you have ¾ inch plywood and want an ¾ inch thick banding. Then, fashion the corresponding tongue from the matching material.

On top of that, dry-fit the tongue and groove. This way, you can assess the fit before applying the glue and fixing the hardwood to the plywood edge. Next, use clamps to hold the structure together until the glue dries.

  • Biscuit Joinery

Another technique to use for hiding plywood edges is the biscuit joinery. It involves aligning the hardwood with the lumber and sculpting matching slots into both pieces using the biscuit joiner.

Make a pencil mark across the joint after aligning the hardwood and plywood. Next, adjust the blade’s height on the biscuit joiner to keep the slot at the center within the joint. Also, cut a slot at each pencil location on both joint faces.

The other step is to insert a matching biscuit into the glued slots. But, you will get a more professional finish if you cut these slots and place a thin glue layer into them. Then, align the biscuits with the glued slots and press them.

Lastly, you can use clamps to hold your project in place until the glue cures. Also, it would be best to sand the faces to facilitate a smooth and even transition between the hardwood and plywood.

That said, you can also choose to place a veneer strip on the plywood edge. Then, heat it with an iron to melt the glue to enhance adhesion. Check the procedure below for a better outcome.

  • The first step is to trim the veneer with a pair of scissors. Consider having it about an inch longer than the board’s edge.
  • Next, clamp the board in place. The veneer cannot adhere to a rough edge. Thus, it would help to sand the surface. Also, use a vice and clamp the board upright to give a better’ sanding position.’
  • The other stage involves positioning the veneer onto the board and leave a slight overhang. Then, press the end in place. Please use a preheated household iron and remember to set it at the cotton mark. This way, you get the perfect heat level to tack the veneer in place.
  • It would also be best to run the iron down the veneer and double back on a slower pace. This move helps you to heat the glue and melt it to the board’s edge. On top of that, run a scrap block over the veneer to secure the strip in its place.
  • Lastly, trim the end when the glue dries. You could use a utility knife or scissors. However, please ensure that the runs flush with the plywood’s face. Also, sand the veneer’s edge to deliver a smooth finish.

How Do You Hide Plywood Layers?

It would be best to nail or glue on a solid wood nosing strip. The process gives a good-looking and durable outcome. It also protects vulnerable edges from abuse in high-traffic areas. In addition, the strategy stiffens the wood, which is an important attribute in shelving.

You only need a thin yellow wood glue layer to deliver a virtually indestructible glue joint. More so, extra glue will only give you a bigger clean-up job. It may also cause the nosing to slide around and thus make the alignment difficult.

Fortunately, it is so easy to get the correct glue amount. Pull off the nosing after sliding it back and forth on the glue. Then, look at the back and observe. You should notice a thin and even glue coat on the mating surfaces. In addition, a small glue bead should drip from the seam when you apply the clamps.

Please note that it is difficult to get the nosing and the plywood to line up after clamping. Therefore, it would be prudent to snug up the clamps instead of tightening them. Also, push the nosing up and down as you tighten the clamps. This way, you’ll end up with the correct adjustments and positioning.

On top of that, hold the nosing above the plywood. Consider the thickness of a sheet of paper. Then, sand it flush after the wood dries and observe the edge. Also, ensure that the glue sets for about 20 to 30 minutes before sanding.

Lastly, observe the edges and the finish. You can use a fine, 120-grit belt on the sander and light pressure to facilitate a more sophisticated surface. However, stop sanding as soon as you notice the squiggly pencil line begin to disappear over the glue joint.

NB: Hold the belt sander in a perfectly flat position. Otherwise, it will sand through the veneer. Also, tilting it away will bevel the nosing and compromise your work.

How Do You Make Plywood Edges Look Good?

The first step to making plywood edges look good involves a wood filler. It helps you to cover the edge. It also delivers a solid surface that you can sand to hide the wood’s roughness. In addition, it is inexpensive and easy. Thus, perfect for DIY projects.

However, wood filler only works best for paint-grade builds. So, you may need to engage in a tedious sanding venture to get the perfect finish.

You can conceal the plywood’s edge by covering it with a solid board. For instance, get pocket holes to attach a 1×2 to the front edge. Then, fill it and sand it smooth. This way, you deliver a perfect finish while maintaining the wood’s integrity.

On top of that, you can finish the edge by applying a thin strip of adhesive veneer. The product comes in various wood species to match your wood. It also works well with a household iron in case you want to press strip.

Even so, it would be better to purchase an inexpensive iron. This move helps you to avoid ruining your clothes with excess adhesive. In addition, you’ll find that the iron may not be fit for regular ironing chores after the painting project.

Please remember to begin with a bit of overhang when applying the veneer. Then, proceed to apply some heat and smooth with a wood piece. Also, it would be best to avoid dragging a blade across the grain during trimming. Thus, work with sharp scissors to get professional-looking results.

Lastly, it will help to sand the finish. This way, you’ll even out rough edges and deliver a smooth surface.

Can You Use a Router on Plywood Edges?

Yes! It is okay to use a router on plywood. The accessory works pretty well on plywood edges, particularly Baltic birch or ApplePly®. However, you’ll need to secure the lumber to a benchtop or get a router table. Or else, the vibration may cause the router to dull because of the glue in the plywood.

Fortunately, I have a few tricks to help you get the best of a router.

  • Reinforce the plywood by edge banding it with hardwood. This way, the wood holds up and allows the finish to sit neatly.
  • Assess if the plywood has voids as they compromise the lumber’s strength. Also, you can go with premium wood like ApplePly or Baltic birch to guarantee quality.
  • Use the recommended tools for stability and use the correct method when using the router. Then, finish off the plywood edges appropriately.

That said, you may be wondering the best strategy to apply on the router on plywood. First., invest in the proper safety equipment and wear it during working sessions. It includes hearing protection and safety goggles.

Next, use clamps to secure the wood. This way, you can deliver a neat and smooth result. In addition, have a router table as it helps to guide the lumber. Thus, you get the desired cut easily.

Lastly, follow the procedure below.

  • Do multiple shallow cuts instead of one deep cut. This exercise reduces the chances of splintering. And the tear-out will be way less even if it happens. Also, you can easily sand the surface.
  • Consider working with push cuts and feed the handheld router from left to right. Also, you may get plywood tear-outs, but the climb out will eventually deliver very clean edges. Thus, don’t panic when you observe splintering and tear-outs. 
  • Set the clearance to zero on the router table. This move provides support to the fibers at the line of your cut. In addition, it prevents tear-out and improves the cut’s overall quality.
  • You can also consider the bump cut technique. It involves making a series of plunge cuts to remove stock. Then, finish the edges with long straight passes.
  • Apply painter’s tape to the area along the cut line, especially where you expect tear-outs. The tape also prevents the material from pulling away from the plywood. In addition, you can apply it to both sides if you are not sure which side will fail first.

NB: Routers on plywood have caveats. For instance, they only work best if the plywood has no voids. Also, it would be best to edge band the plywood before routing it.

How Do You Paint Plywood Edges?

Painting over plywood is one of the easiest and most common ways to finish edges. Also, it does not consume much time, and you’ll complete your work within no time. But still, you’ll have some trouble painting over a rough exposed wood layer.

In addition, it is tricky to get the paint to mask and fill the ruggedness. The fluid slips through the cracks and crevices into the plywood’s core. Worse still, the scenario wastes paint and leaves the wood interior feeble.

Fortunately, all hope is not lost. You can apply wood fillers before painting. Also, you can sand off excess hardened fillers to deliver a smooth surface. But remember that wood filler absorbs wood differently than other wood sections. Therefore, do not expect the filler to be entirely invisible.

Should I Prime Plywood Before Painting?

The decision to prime plywood before painting depends on your project expectations and deliverables. However, priming is always a good idea. Primers usually seal the wood’s surface and dry pretty fast. Thus, you will not have to wait for a long period before painting.

An ideal option would be a General-Purpose Primer that delivers a smooth and nonporous base coat to the surface. This base coat prevents the paint pigment from soaking into the plywood. Hence, you only need few layers to generate muted colors.

Even so, a primer is not necessary if the plywood comes pre-primed from the manufacturer. And luckily, you can get up pre-priming for most types of plywood, including those that you intend to paint.

What Kind of Paint Do You Use On Plywood?

The most suitable paint to use for plywood is standard latex paint. It is water-based and generally durable. The formula is also flexible than oil-based paints. Therefore, the paint coat will not chip or peel later.

However, they are washable and easy to dispose of once they dry. So, it would be best to be keen on a tight maintenance schedule. In addition, it would be best to use a brush to deliver a more even finish. Spray paint will work too, but only go that route if you have experience with spraying paint formulas.

Check out the following paint brands to pick for your plywood.

  • Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Latex Paint. Rust-Oleum formula is an excellent product for furniture. It is durable, scrubbable, and has a relatively low odor. Also, it has low-VOC content, and you can dispose of the package easily. Thus, you can use it for interior projects.

In addition, it is ideal for various materials such as plastic, wood, and metal. Therefore, you will get a perfect result for any surface if you have a good primer.

  • Montage Signature Interior/Exterior Eco-Friendly Paint. This product is a top pick if you want a budget-friendly paint with multiple colors. In addition, it is eco-friendly and delivers excellent coverage.

Unfortunately, Montage Signature Paint is only available in two sheen options. You’ll get low sheen and semi-gloss sheen. Thus, you may not get the desired finish if you want to do a high-gloss finish.

  • Krylon COLORmaxx Brush On Paint. Krylon is perfect for DIY projects as it features multiple interesting colors. You can have it for your crafty projects with high-grade plywood and expect a fantastic finish. However, it would be best to get a high-primer to enhance the results.

How Do You Keep Plywood From Warping When Painting?

The best way to keep the plywood from warping is to ensure that primer and paint coats dry. Trapped moisture causes warping as it tries to evaporate. In addition, it would be best to lay the wood flat during storage. You can use lumber pieces to create a platform that allows the plywood to sit on instead of laying it directly on the floor.

How Do You Paint Acrylic on Plywood?

It is possible to paint acrylic on plywood right away. But there are a few simple instructions that will take your craft to the next level. They also guarantee a longer-lasting and neater finish. 

Check them out!

  • Prepare the Plywood

The key to a sophisticated paint finish is always a prepared surface. It would be best to have an excellent base to work on as it makes all the difference. 

First, begin by sanding down the lumber. This way, you get a smooth surface to apply paint. Also, consider working with a sanding sponge or 140- to 180-grit sandpaper. Then, dust the excess grains with a clean rag.

  • Apply a Primer

The project is likely to turn out the wrong way if you ignore a primer. Hence, apply thin primer layers. They will seal the wood and allow the acrylic paint to settle easier and faster. In addition, the paint colors will be more vibrant.

Please allow the primer to dry before paint application. Also, do not shy away from sanding further or adding another primer coat until you get your desired texture. The smoother the surface, the better.

  • Add a Background

This next step involves selecting the most suitable hue for your background color. Please remember that acrylic paint dries pretty fast. Thus, only pour out the background color during this step.

Use a flat and wide paintbrush to apply the acrylic paint to the plywood. Allow it to dry before adding another layer. Fortunately, the formula only needs about 20 minutes to dry. Hence, you will complete your work in good time.

  • Add Details

It is time to add the details if the background is dry. Here, please use a soft brush and take care. Also, dip the brush into water often to keep the bristles soft and clean. Then, allow the artwork to dry.

  • Apply the Paint

A paint coat will add more color to your project and will preserve the surface from elements. In addition, the products are available in multiple finishes. Thus, you’ll get the best for your job.

What Is the Best Paint for Plywood Floors?

The best paint for plywood floors should withstand foot traffic and repel moisture and stains. Fortunately, we have such products in the market. Better still, you’ll find a wide range of finishes to suit your project needs.

You can consider Valspar Porch and Floor Enamel for the job. This enamel is an oil-based formula that delivers a hard and long-lasting layer. In addition, it stays smooth and resists scuffing, chipping, and abrasions. Therefore, you’ll boast of perfection for a long, long time.

Besides that, Real Milk Paint also does a perfect job in delivering an antiqued finish. It is 100% organic and non-toxic. Therefore, it is perfect for interior wood projects. Also, consider adding a wax coat to ensure a long-lasting result.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the most asked questions include:

  • How Can You Tell If Plywood Has Voids?

You can tell if the plywood has voids by examining the lumber’s surface and sides. Look out for large gaps or bubbles along the breadth side of the wood. 

Wait! What are voids in this context? You may ask. Well, voids in your plywood are probably among the top obstacles to your project. They are large holes across the wood’s sheets. In addition, they hinder you from using a router, which is pretty annoying.

  • Do I Need to Seal Plywood?

Plywood boasts of being a durable material for multiple projects. However, it is not exempt from sealing. Water damage and rotting are a real deal for all wood materials. Therefore, it would be best to seal the wood if you won’t paint it.

  • Does Painting Plywood Make it Waterproof?

Painting plywood ultimately makes it waterproof. More so, a well-maintained paint film seals in the wood joints. Therefore, flowing water just runs on the surface and does not soak into the wood grain.

Alternatively, you can go for BWP Grade Plywood. It is ‘boiling waterproof’ plywood and is completely waterproof. Therefore, this lumber guarantees you unmatched durability and versatility.


Plywood edges can prove to be difficult to deal with as they usually deliver imperfections. Even worse, some of these layerings show through the paint no matter how well you sand the surface. Therefore, many painters usually have this concern:

Will Painting the Edges of Plywood Hide the Layers?

Painting plywood edges will not hide its edges. However, there are a few straightforward strategies that can make your work look better. For instance, please ensure that you fill little dings, gaps, scratches, and craters with a wood filler. In addition, sand the surface to facilitate a smooth and even finish.

Also, you can try having thick paint coats on the plywood edges. But this does not always work. The paint will take a longer duration to dry. And even worse, you may even end up with an uneven coat.