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A mobile workshop bench made from pine and plywood with swivel castor wheels


Plywood is an easy and versatile material to work with. It's strong, pliable and can be used for all kinds of projects. However, to get the finish you want, it's important to know how to stain and paint it properly. We'll take you through the steps and show you how to get a smooth, even surface every time.


1Clean the plywood surface

Preparation is the key to a good paint job and plywood is no exception. Before you start painting, take your dustpan brush and give the plywood surface a good dust down to clear away any debris. 

A person brushing down a plywood sheet

2Mix up wood filler

To get a smooth surface, you need to fill up any holes. Mix some builders bog up with some hardener on a piece of cardboard with your scraper or putty knife. The more hardener you use, the quicker it's going to set, so you need to work fast. You could also use regular wood filler. 

A person mixing builders bog on a piece of cardboard using a metal scraper

3Fill up holes

Once you've mixed it together, use your scraper to fill the holes with it. If you're fussy about the edges of your plywood and don't want to see the end grain, apply the builders bog to that too.

A person filling a hole in plywood using builders bog and a metal scraper

4Sand the surface

Once the wood filler is dry, give the surface a light sand to make it smooth. Make sure you wear your dust mask, ear muffs and eye protection for this step. When you're finished, wipe away any excess dust with your dustpan brush.

A person filling a hole in plywood using builders bog and a metal scraper

5Tape areas you don't want painted

Mask any areas that you don't want covered in paint with some painters tape. We want to keep the raw timber look around the edges, so we've masked them. This will prevent paint splatters or smears.

A person sticking masking tape to the edge of a plywood benchtop

6Paint the surface

Before you start painting, put down a drop sheet to help keep the area clean. Then give your paint a good stir. Depending on the paint, you might need to apply a primer, but the paint we're using doesn't require that.

Next, apply your topcoat. We just want to apply one coat because it's an outdoor workbench that only needs waterproofing. Remember to apply the first coat in the direction of the grain for a smooth, even finish.

To apply more coats, leave the paint to dry, then give it a light sand and wipe away any dust. 

A person painting a plywood benchtop grey using a roller

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.