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.
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.
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.