Acrylic paint after engraving over masking

What am I doing wrong here? I masked this acrylic prior to engraving. After engraving, I painted over with black acrylic paint then peeled the mask away after it dried. It looks like the paint seeped below the masking tape, and also didn’t fill in deep enough in the engrave in some areas. I’ve tried spraying with a sealer before applying acrylic paint but it still did it on other tests. Any advice or ideas?


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To me, it looks like the surface of the acrylic is not “flat” and the tape didn’t adhere to it fully. The paint seeped in under it.

Is the surface you engraved on a smooth surface, or is that “matte” type finish?

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That makes sense - didn’t consider that. It’s a frosted finish from CraftCloset. It does have a very slight tooth to it so perhaps it’s unavoidable when engraving from this side. I guess I could flip the design and engrave from the back

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Try Primer, not Sealer, prior to the black paint. Although, if you cut from the back you will need to use clear primer… spray paint works better than brushing, too.

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With acrylic paint I would just peel before it dries too. Then you can take a very lightly damp sponge and wipe any of the little imperfections away before they dry.

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Acrylic craft paints are water based and will seep through the most masking unless you have a good bond between the masking and material. Use a hard rubber brayer to really force the adhesive to the material (it’s pressure activated) before engraving. After you have weeded the project for painting, use a hard smooth item like the top of a fingernail, debit card or back of a spoon to push your masking back against the material. Paint multiple light coats with the driest paint possible (you don’t want to soften the masking or adhesive).

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Wow, thank you all so much for your insight and taking the time to provide such detailed guidance and help. I really appreciate it!

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To go at this from a completely different angle, have you tried painting it again without the masking and then lightly wiping the surface clean? The paint in the engraving will stay, the paint on the unengraved surface will be wiped away…

You can try several ways to “wipe” - I like to use a paper towel/rag laid flat on a surface, moistened with alcohol then rub the acrylic over the top (it helps keep you from pressing paper towel/rag into the engrave) I’ve done it often and it’s worked out nicely …

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I do not recommend this on extruded acrylic. Alcohol can cause it to crack uncontrollably.

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Okay. Acetone? Goo Gone? Soapy water? A Magic Eraser? A plastic razor blade? Fine sandpaper? What I was suggesting was to try SOMETHING to remove the excess paint… (Did you know a dry-erase marker will remove permanent marker?)

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I’ll try that today! Would save a good bit of time and material not having to redo everything. I’ll have to try that technique - so you’re saying after painting, flip it over with the painted side down onto a rag that’s lightly damp with alcohol and gently dab/wipe?

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That’s the way I like to do it, your mileage may vary.

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Lightly spray paint. Use a sweeping motion 12- 15 inches away.

Take a piece of cardboard and attach your project to the cardboard with double sided tape. Make sure your project is up and not laying flat.

Two light coats of spray paint will be enough.

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I’ve had some experience infilling acrylic with various colours. I’ve found using a lacquer stick like this (https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B002BY8HKS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1) works very well. Any excess that you need to remove is readily removed with 99% isopropylalcohol from plexiglass/acrylic without any issues. Do not use acetone. Mineral spirits also work, but YMMV. Make sure that you engrave deep enough so that you get a good infill. You can see from some of my other posts how this has turned out. HTH. Cheers, Nick

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