This topic has 4 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 5 years, 5 months ago by hlmccarthy.

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  • #14782

    Hey all,

    So the show that we just put up has fairly heavy rain onstage for the last 20 minutes of the performance. That meant everything needed to be as close to completely waterproof as possible. Most of that wasn’t a big deal, but the front facing was made out of MDF and that stuff does not like water, at all. It took a lot of tester pieces and experimenting until I got a result I was happy with.

    I ended up doing a 50/50 wood glue/water mix on the raw edges of the sheets, followed by two coats of oil based primer, followed by 2-3 coats of Armorseal high gloss black paint (a staple in our theater).

    I’m super curious if you all have any other ideas or tricks for something like this, because as I was researching methods, there were loads of different sealers and methods, but everyone had something completely different from everyone else!

      • Experience: 20+ years
      • Scenic Status: Other

      Member Member

      A couple other products for waterproofing MDF that we used when I painted at 3DX Scenic in Cincinnati: Rustscat brand DTM paint (yes, it is direct to metal, but it comes in any Pantone color you want). We sealed it first with West System marine epoxy


      I would definitely test out using an elastomeric (it’s a roof coating meant for repel water) as a primer in the future. I haven’t done a water show, but I use it a lot when we have to paint homasote. It’s basically an acrylic, so I’ve been able to treat it like white paint and use it to mix in a pinch.



      I’ve never heard of either of those products before, and who knows how long it would have taken me to find them on my own. 🙂 Thanks, I’m sure they’ll come in handy.

        • Experience: 15-20 years
        • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

        This might be too late to be helpful to you but might help someone in future-

        Last year we built a Santa House for an exterior shopping mall installation. We used exterior grade MDF. It was pricier but held up to water and moisture beautifully. I left an off cut soaking in a bucket of water for 5 weeks and the edges didnt even swell. Took paint normally, primed and painted it with exterior Ben Moore products. Made glazes and spray sealed it with a Nova sealer.

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