Best way to make letters stand out on dark wood

I stained a piece of proof grade wood. I want the letters to stand out. So I started to paint them black. Worked okay from the bigger letters, but the smaller ones are almost impossible. I tried a sharpie & acrylic ink pens. The letters are just to small & the wood grain kicked the pens out.

I also tried on acrylic, but it’s not the look I’m looking for.


That’s a strong point for masking, the laser cuts a perfect painting mask.
I will note that the wood grain opened by the engraving may let the paint bleed into the grain by capillary action. I will usually paint the sides of the engraving with a tiny artist’s brush and a clear Krylon from a spry can, then paint with confidence.


Did you sand the wood? You mention it’s proofgrade, but proofgrade wood is sealed. When I first got my machine, I didn’t know this and attempted to stain the wood…and it never sunk in. I did have a huge mess on my wood though, I thin I bought a stain and something combined.

Whatever you are doing, stain it first, mask it, and then laser. If you still feel like painting it, leave the masking on. I’ll echo @PrintToLaser 's suggestion and spray a coat of clear sealant to prevent bleed, and paint after it dries. If it doesn’t bleed and you make a mistake, you can always sand it a bit to get rid of the excess.


Thank you. I did mask, but took it off before painting. Rookie mistake. It was my first one.


We’ve all made it. :grin:


Thank you. I think at this point it’s easier to engrave it again.

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I’ve had this problem too on stuff I really didn’t want to paint.
Best I came up with is a more powerful engrave (or run it twice).
But depending on the material even then you can get inconsistent engraves.

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and the reality is that not all dark woods engrave the same. it really comes down to how much of a residue you get from burning. even in the same species, i have walnuts that engrave very dark and i can see the difference and other walnuts that don’t engrave as dark and the contrast is not as strong.


I engraved the sign again. I kept the tape on & spray painted it twice. When I removed the tape there were a couple spots it bled through, sanded a little & it’s perfect.

Thanks for the help. :purple_heart:


That looks good. Nice work.


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