Adding paint to proof grade wood

Can you paint on your design and if so what are the steps.

Engrave. Paint. Remove masking.


Thank you so much. I’m glad I asked because I was going to apply a primer.

You can prime first, but I’ve never found it necessary as the engraved areas are recessed.


Thank you so much

I’m just going to add a clarification because I read your post a different way. You can paint IN the engraved areas without primer, but if you’re talking about a cut-out design, you’ll likely want primer to stick to the finish. Or try sanding it.


Glowforge Proof Grade is already finished. You absolutely do not want to paint on proof grade because the paint will not stick. Proof Grade is way too expensive to paint with any type of paint unless it is draft board.

If you desire the end product to be absolutely beautiful there are many steps involved.

Here is just an example of what you could do.

  1. Purchase unfinished plywood from The Home Depot, Lowes, etc.
  2. Sand unfinished plywood.
  3. 2 coats of spray paint. I would wait 24 hours before the next step.
  4. Mask your painted plywood
  5. Ready for Glowforge
  6. When finished remove masking.
  7. Spray some type of polyurethane on your project.
  8. If you want your project on the outside you will have to use an outdoor polyurethane. Make sure to also poly the edges.
  9. You do not have to use polyurethane if your project will be indoors.
  10. If you rush any of the steps you will not get a beautiful project.

YouTube has thousands of videos about painting.


I especially love Columbia Forest Products 10 packs of plywood.
They are cut to fit in the Glowforge, and priced reasonably (unfortunately more than it was a few years ago but that’s the norm everywhere now). Easy to paint and finish.


Assuming that the OP either doesn’t have an issue with painting on PG materials or didn’t know the proofgrade woods can be painted on provided the area is sanded beforehand and sealed afterwards.
But like you stated, this is not recommended.


A few months back, I was working on a prototype project for the catalog. I had chosen either one of the proof grade hardwoods or the proof grade plywoods. I do not remember. My project was a whimsical creation that needed to be painted. I was choosing the Proofgrade for the strength.

I sanded, primed and then painted the proof grade. The paint did not stick even after the Proof-grade was sanded and primed.

I was beyond impressed with the proof grade because it took a long time to dull the finish using 50 grit sandpaper with an electric sander;

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I 100% disagree with this. I have painted on (paint pens) PG finished ply hundreds of times and it comes out beautifully. The paint will…and does indeed, stick…and creates a deep and glossy finish that can’t be achieved with draftboard, which soaks up the paint. Aside from the expense, I prefer painting on PG ply…which I would never sand or do anything else to. If I want a dull finish, I will use draftboard.

All these pins and the angel below were painted on PG ply


Thank you so much

Really? Wow, that is pretty impressive. I guess anything I’ve wanted to paint has been engraved first.

What technique are you using for the paint to stick to the Proofgrade plywood? I have not had any success.

This is my recipe and it does not work.

  1. Sand proof grade hardwood or plywood with 50 grit using an electric sander
  2. 1 coat of Zinsseer primer. Dry 1 hour
  3. 2 coats of acrylic paint.
  4. 5-6 hours after painting I take a wet washcloth and wipe down the project. Every single time the paint comes right up.

If I take a wet washcloth and wipe down any project that has been painted — if any of the paint can be removed with a wet washcloth I think that is an epic fail.

No technique at all…no sanding, no priming, no nothing…just paint pens. I use acrylic, water based, and oil paint pens. Perhaps we’re talking about two different things though…are you talking about painting the entire surface of a piece of PG? I’m talking only about engraved and scored detail work.


Wow just wow. ROTFLMAO!!

I am trying to paint the flat part of the Proofgrade. I never thought about painting the engraved or the scored part.

I am now going to paint the engraving or the scoring.

Thank you for your help!!

Just to clarify…I don’t paint just the engraved or scored lines…I paint the parts inside them…the flat parts…like you would when coloring in a coloring book.

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Another technique that is really easy is to engrave acrylic and then apply acrylic craft paint and then just wipe off the excess - it cleans off very easily. :slight_smile: You might already know and have tried that one, but just in case, thought I’d mention it.


Thank you

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