Take a look at this little bed:
Isn’t that cool? I saw this on a website full of children’s beds and it reminded me of just how much creativity I’ve been able to unleash over the years through the use of MDF.
MDF, if you’ve never heard of it, is an acronym for Medium Density Fiberboard. The material is usually brown in color and is, for the most part, meant to be painted.
MDF has a number of advantages for use in constructing anything imaginative:
- It is very easy to cut with power tools or by hand
- The material is solid, meaning no ugly plies on edges and no voids to fill
- MDF can be shaped using a router or sandpaper to create decorative edges
- It is available from 1/4″ in thickness up to at least 1″ thick
- It paints relatively easily and covers well
For a bed like the one shown above, it wouldn’t be hard to sketch out the parts on a sheet of MDF, then cut them out using a jig-saw. The applied parts can be glued in place and held with small brad nails while the glue sets.
The larger components can be held together with some simple Corner Mounting Brackets
Want more advanced? How about a storage bed?
Just about anything you see that is made up of mostly flat panels can be made with MDF. I saw this picture while I was surfing for children’s beds at another UK website, Storage Beds Direct.
The shell surrounding this bed can be made fairly easily. The doors are also very easy to make with MDF, with the most important part of the job being to cut them perfectly “square” and by that I don’t mean the same length on each side.
The drawers are really the only thing that make a bed like this difficult and even they can be made easy by ordering a drawer kit that uses pre-made sides.
Slides like this aren’t the least expensive way in the world to build a drawer, at $24.99 for one drawer from Amazon.com but they really do make life easier for a DIY’er who has never made drawers from scratch.
A Few Tips For Using MDF
- Take the time to sand the edges smooth before painting to prevent fuzzy edges.
- Use the smallest nails possible when using a nail-gun to prevent bumps on the surface.
- When you need a strong joint, pre-drill a pilot hole, use glue, and use a coarse thread screw.
- Be careful not to over-tighten screws in MDF, it will break loose and ruin your hole.
- Use brackets or bracing boards for structural joints, never count on a fastner into the edge of an MDF sheet
- Always make your cuts outside if possible, talk about fine sawdust going everywhere…!
Have you ever had fun with MDF? I’d love to hear about it. If I can answer a question for you, just ask in the comments below and when I respond, you’ll get an email.