Best Plywood to Paint: Top Choices for Artists

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

Creative Hobbies Cutout Shapes
Creative Hobbies Cutout Shapes
  • Brand: Creative Hobbies
  • Material: Pine Wood
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 1.1 x 11.85 x 12.09 inches
  • Shape: Round
  • Item Weight: 0.45 Kilograms
Muxgoa Wood Sheets
MUXGOA Wood Sheets
  • Brand: MUXGOA
  • Material: Basswood
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 5.91 x 3.94 x 0.08 inches
  • Shape: Rectangular
  • Number of Pieces: 20
17-Pack Birch Plywood
17-Pack Birch Plywood
  • Brand: 17-Pack Birch
  • Finish Type: Wooden
  • Size: 1 x 1
  • Item Volume: 3mm thick
  • Special Feature: Globally Sustainable Wood
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Plywood, a versatile and affordable building material, is used in countless projects, from furniture to flooring. One of the reasons for its popularity is its ability to be painted, allowing for a customized and polished finish.

To paint plywood successfully, it’s necessary to select the appropriate type that has a smooth surface and can effectively absorb paint. This ensures an even application and long-lasting finish.

Plywood To Paint

Based on my findings let’s dive in and explore the top choices available.

Best Plywood for Painting

We have carefully selected a list of the best plywood options for painting, ensuring that your art projects have the perfect canvas. Explore our top choices below.

Top Pick
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9.8/10Our Score


  • Brand: Creative Hobbies
  • Material: Pine Wood
  • Shape: Round
  • Number of Pieces: 3

These 12-inch diameter plywood cutout shapes by Creative Hobbies provide a blank canvas for all your craft and DIY projects. Made of 3/16 inch thick plywood, these wooden plaques are perfect for multiple projects such as plaques, wall hangings, signs, clocks, trivets, and table centerpieces. They’re suitable for DIYers looking for a versatile medium to bring their ideas to life.

Best Budget-Friendly: Creative Hobbies Circle Cutout Shapes

Creative Hobbies 12 Inch Cutout Shapes

This pack of three 12-inch round plywood cutouts offers versatile and customizable options for unleashing your creativity.

Key Features

  • Pack of three 12-inch round plywood cutouts
  • Budget-friendly option
  • Made of 3/16 inch thick plywood
  • A blank canvas for various crafts and projects
  • Can be painted, decorated, and customized
  • Suitable for personalized gifts and home décor
  • Versatile and customizable option for unleashing creativity


  • Budget-friendly pack of 3 cutouts
  • Blank canvas made of 3/16 inch thick plywood
  • Suitable for various crafts and projects


  • Might require some sanding
  • Thin and delicate material
  • Not ideal for staining

Each pack comes with three unfinished wood 12-inch diameter plywood cutouts, offering great value for the cost. These round cutouts can be transformed into unique arts and crafts pieces using paint, stain, beads, paper, yarn, and other materials.

You can also decorate them using markers, paint, glitter glue, felt, and more, making them perfect for personalized gifts or home décor.

However, these cutouts might require some sanding before painting or decorating due to their rough edges, and they may not be the best choice for staining projects. Additionally, the thinness of the material may require extra care when handling and decorating.

Despite these minor drawbacks, these Creative Hobbies 12-inch Round Circle Cutout Shapes offer a versatile option for art and crafts enthusiasts who want to explore their creativity.

Best Durable: SNS Wooden Heart Shapes

Sns Wooden Heart Shapes

These plywood hearts by SNS are an ideal choice for creative individuals who enjoy personalized painting and decorating projects.

Key Features

  • Pack of 100 plywood heart shapes
  • Versatile for painting and decorating projects
  • Durable 1/8″ thick plywood material
  • Ideal for personalization with names, dates, or sayings
  • Ample surface area for artistic expression
  • A convenient and fun way to unleash creativity
  • Offers a unique and one-of-a-kind finished product


  • Versatile for various painting and decorating projects
  • 100 pieces per pack
  • Durable 1/8″ thick plywood material


  • Limited to heart shapes
  • Might be too small for some purposes
  • Heavy item weight of 100 pounds

The SNS Wooden Heart Shapes offer a convenient and fun way to express creativity through painting and decorating. These heart-shaped plywood pieces measure 2″ wide x 1-1/2″ tall x 1/8″ thick, providing ample surface for artistic expression.

The plywood material ensures durability and longevity for your creations.

Coming in a pack of 100 pieces, these hearts are ideal for personalizing with names, special dates, or unique sayings, making your projects truly one-of-a-kind.

However, it is essential to keep in mind that the package is only available in heart shapes, so if you are looking for variety, these might not be the best choice for you.

One potential downside is the size of the hearts, which may be too small for certain projects. This small size could pose challenges when working with specific paint types or other decorative items.

Also, these plywood hearts are quite heavy, with the package weight coming in at 100 pounds. If you are looking for lightweight materials for your crafting, you may want to consider other options.

In conclusion, if you are seeking durable and versatile wooden surfaces for your painting and decorating projects, we recommend giving the SNS Wooden Heart Shapes a try. They offer a fun and unique way to express your creativity, despite their size and shape limitations.

Best Lightweight: MUXGOA 20 Pack Basswood Sheets

Muxgoa 20 Pack Basswood Sheets

These versatile and lightweight basswood sheets are a great choice for DIY projects, model building, and crafts that require sturdy, paintable plywood.

Key Features

  • Pack of 20 basswood sheets
  • Thin and lightweight for easy cutting and shaping
  • Smooth, polished surface without burrs
  • Suitable for a variety of DIY projects
  • Ideal for model building, laser cutting, pyrography, and wood engraving
  • Standard size of 150 x 100mm (5.9 x 3.9 inches)
  • The thickness of 2mm (0.08 inches) for durability and stability


  • Thin and lightweight for easy cutting and shaping
  • Smooth, polished surface without burrs
  • Suitable for a variety of DIY projects, including laser cutting, pyrography, and wood engraving


  • Some sheets may have knots or imperfections
  • May not be compatible with all cutting machines
  • The price might be considered steep for the sheet size

Basswood is known for its lightweight and easy-to-work-with characteristics, making it an excellent choice for several applications. The MUXGOA 20 Pack Basswood Sheets provide 20 thin plywood sheets suitable for various arts and crafts projects, such as model building, DIY ornaments, and more.

The sheets come in a standard size of 150 x 100mm (5.9 x 3.9 inches) with a thickness of 2mm (0.08 inches). This thickness allows for easy cutting and shaping, while still providing adequate durability and stability.

Each sheet is polished to ensure a clean, smooth surface that is free of burrs and ready for painting, staining, or marking.

One downside to these basswood sheets is that some customers have reported knots or imperfections in the wood. These imperfections could affect the overall quality and appearance of a finished project.

In conclusion, the MUXGOA 20 Pack Basswood Sheets make an excellent choice for DIY enthusiasts looking to create lightweight, paintable projects that benefit from the unique properties of basswood.

With a smooth surface and compatibility with various artistic techniques, these plywood sheets are a versatile and valuable addition to any maker’s toolkit.

Best Long-Lasting: Texan Wood Crafts Plywood Forest Creatures

Texan Wood Crafts 17-Pack

The Texan Wood Crafts set of 17 Forest Creature Shapes is perfect for those seeking quality plywood for painting and DIY craft projects.

Key Features

  • Set of 17 forest creature shapes
  • Made of 3mm thick Baltic Birch plywood
  • Laser-cut and lightly sanded for precision and quality
  • Unfinished, ready to paint or stain
  • Includes a bear, deer, squirrel, rabbit, and pine trees
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Ideal for DIY craft projects


  • Made of 3mm thick, Baltic Birch plywood
  • Set of 17 forest creature shapes for versatile crafts
  • Unfinished, ensuring it’s ready to paint or stain


  • Not suitable as toys for small children
  • Small parts may become dislodged with rough handling
  • Size variation might be an issue for some craft projects

The Texan Wood Crafts 17-Pack Birch Plywood Forest Creatures is a delightful set of forest creature shapes, including a bear, deer, squirrel, rabbit, and pine trees. These shapes are laser-cut and lightly sanded, making them ready for painting or staining.

Crafters will appreciate the precision and quality of these Baltic Birch plywood cutouts, which are 3mm thick, ensuring durability for their projects.

One downside to these plywood shapes is that they are not suitable as toys for small children, as they may contain small parts that can become dislodged with rough handling. Care should be taken to keep them out of reach of little ones.

Moreover, size variation might be a concern for some crafters, as the range of dimensions spans from 1″ wide x 1″ high for the smallest creatures to the largest tree at 6.5″ tall x 3″ wide.

Despite these minor drawbacks, the Texan Wood Crafts 17-Pack Birch Plywood Forest Creatures is an excellent choice for anyone looking to purchase plywood for painting.

Their versatility and quality make them an attractive option for a wide range of craft projects, and their unfinished state provides the perfect canvas for creativity.

Best Versatile: SNS Primitive Hearts Plywood

Sns Primitive Hearts Plywood

These SNS Primitive Hearts plywood pieces are an excellent choice for creative projects due to their quality and versatility.

Key Features

  • Pack of 25 plywood heart pieces
  • Each piece measures 4-1/4″ tall by 2-1/4″ wide
  • Versatile size for various crafts and projects
  • Easy to paint and decorate
  • Sturdy construction with a 1/8″ thickness
  • Ideal for personalization and adding unique designs
  • Offers room for experimentation and customization


  • Ideal size for various crafts
  • Easy to paint and decorate
  • Comes in a pack of 25 pieces


  • Might require some sanding
  • Limited thickness (1/8″)
  • Only available in heart shape

The SNS Primitive Hearts Plywood is perfect for individuals who love to create personalized crafts or decorations. Each piece measures 4-1/4″ tall by 2-1/4″ wide, providing ample space for painting, drawing, or adding unique designs.

With 25 pieces in a pack, there is plenty of room for experimentation and customization, allowing for multiple projects or larger creative endeavors.

Despite its 1/8″ thickness, this plywood is quite sturdy and holds up well under different types of paint and decorative materials. However, some users may find the need to sand the edges before painting to achieve a smoother surface.

Overall, these plywood pieces are well-suited for embellishing with names, dates, or even adorable sayings, adding a personal touch or sentimental value.

In summary, the SNS Primitive Hearts Plywood is a great option for those who enjoy crafting and personalizing their projects. With its easy-to-paint surface and versatile size, these plywood hearts offer endless possibilities for creative expression.

Just keep in mind that some sanding may be required to achieve the perfect finish.

Best Overall: 6-Pack Watermelon Cutout Birch Plywood

6-Pack Watermelon Cutout Birch Plywood

These Texan Wood Crafts Unfinished Wood Cutouts are a great choice for hobbyists or DIY enthusiasts looking to paint or stain their own plywood designs.

Key Features

  • Pack of 6 watermelon cutouts
  • Made of 1/8″ thick genuine birch plywood
  • Laser cut and lightly sanded for a smooth finish
  • Suitable for painting or staining
  • Charming watermelon with a bite design
  • Ideal for DIY enthusiasts and hobbyists
  • Provides a platform for custom-painted or stained wood designs


  • Made of 1/8″ thick genuine birch plywood
  • Laser cut and lightly sanded for a smooth finish
  • Suitable for painting or staining


  • Not suitable for young children due to small parts
  • Only one design available- watermelon with bite cutout
  • Not available in different sizes or quantities without contacting the seller

The Texan Wood Crafts 6-Pack Watermelon Cutouts provide an excellent platform for those looking to create their own custom-painted or stained wood designs. Their birch plywood construction ensures a clean and smooth surface, perfect for showcasing your artistic skills.

The laser-cut and lightly sanded pieces add to the overall quality of these cutouts, helping to reduce the time and effort spent on preparing the wood for your project. With a watermelon with a bite cutout design, these cutouts offer a charming summertime theme.

However, it’s important to note that these cutouts may not be suitable for young children due to the presence of small parts. Additionally, if you’re looking for a variety of designs, sizes, or quantities, you may need to contact the seller directly to discuss customization options.

Overall, the 6-Pack Watermelon Cutout from Texan Wood Crafts is a solid choice for DIY creators looking to paint or stain plywood projects.

Buying Guide

When it comes to selecting the best plywood for painting, there are several factors to consider. In this buying guide, we will discuss the key features to look for when choosing the ideal plywood for your painting project.

First, consider the grade of the plywood. Plywood comes in various grades, ranging from A to D, with A being the highest quality and D being the lowest. For painting, opt for a higher grade, such as A or B, as it will have a smoother surface and fewer knots or imperfections.

Another essential factor is the type of plywood. There are several types to choose from, including softwood, hardwood, and composite plywood. Softwood plywood, typically made from pine or fir, is a cost-effective option for painting.

Hardwood plywood, made from birch, oak, or maple, offers a smoother surface and greater durability. Composite plywood, made from a blend of wood and resin, provides a strong and stable base for your paint.

Selecting the right thickness is also crucial. Plywood thickness can range from 1/8 inch to 3/4 inch. Thinner options are suitable for small projects or artwork, while thicker sheets provide better support and stability for larger projects.

Keep moisture resistance in mind, especially if your project will be exposed to humidity or damp conditions. Some types of plywood have a greater resistance to moisture, such as marine-grade plywood, which is designed for boat construction.

The smoothness of the plywood surface is another essential feature. Look for plywood that has been sanded and is void of blemishes or rough patches. This will ensure a better bond between the paint and the wood, resulting in a smooth and even finish.

Lastly, consider the type of paint you plan to use. Some paints adhere better to certain types of plywood, so it’s essential to choose a paint that is compatible with your chosen plywood.

For example, oil-based paints are better suited for hardwood plywood, while water-based paints work well on softwood and composite plywood.

By taking these factors into account, you can confidently choose the best plywood for your painting project without sacrificing quality or aesthetics.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of plywood is best for painting?

In our experience, the best type of plywood for painting is medium-density fiberboard (MDF) or smooth hardwood plywood like birch or maple. These types of plywood have a smooth surface that allows the paint to adhere well and showcases the paint color and finish effectively.

Do I need to prep plywood before painting?

Yes, it is essential to prepare the plywood surface before painting. Start by sanding the surface with fine-grit sandpaper to remove any roughness or imperfections. Then, wipe the surface clean with a damp cloth to remove any dust or debris.

Can I paint directly on birch plywood?

Yes, you can paint directly on birch plywood. However, we recommend preparing the surface before painting by sanding it smooth and applying a primer. This will ensure that the paint adheres properly and results in a smooth, uniform finish.

Is maple plywood suitable for painting?

Maple plywood is indeed suitable for painting. The smooth surface allows for even paint application, and the dense grain pattern minimizes warping and bowing. Remember to sand the surface and apply a primer before painting to ensure the best results.

What is the difference between paint-grade and cabinet-grade plywood?

Paint-grade plywood is designed specifically for painting, with a smoother surface and a more consistent appearance. Cabinet-grade plywood, on the other hand, is a high-quality plywood typically used for building cabinets and furniture.

Should I prime poplar plywood before painting?

Yes, priming poplar plywood before painting is highly recommended. Poplar plywood is a hardwood plywood with a smooth surface that is well-suited for painting. Applying a primer to the surface will help to seal it, ensuring that the paint adheres properly and results in a smooth, even finish.

Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years of experience in the painting industry, Randy has become an expert in the field and is passionate about helping others learn more about painting. He has written numerous articles on the subject and is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.

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