Coated paperboard?

I am looking for a white paperboard stock around 1.5 mm (1/16") thick with a coating that allows smoke from cutting to be wiped off. I’ve tried making my own using spray varnish, but found that even after four coats, the varnish just soaks into the surface. Anyone solved this problem already? I’ve found reference on the forum to folks finding varnish to work well with photo paper glued on top of paperboard, but of course, photo paper is much less absorbent than paperboard or chipboard. I really just want a nice white surface, without smoke discoloration.

The paperboard I currently have is this: It is 1.2 mm thick. Other potential names for what I’m seeking might be chipboard, illustration board, presentation board, even mat board—essentially a paper-based board that cuts well and is about 1/16" thick.

I’d just mask it.


Thanks. I did try masking it, but the tack paper ripped the surface off. Going back to look up what type of tack paper I bought, I see that it is medium tack. I wonder if a low-tack version would perform better… I could also try rubbing the tack paper I have with an old T-shirt to reduce its tackiness and do another test.

Some ideas, anyway–thanks!

Yes, low tack works on chipboard, but cut edges can sometimes lift just a little and smoke gets underneath.

Medium tack is difficult because it too easily deforms the material when trying to remove.

I gave up on using it for anything that needs to be pure white, and either paint post-cut or use a different material (like acrylic) - there are many other materials out there.

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Yeah, painting is probably as good a solution as any. Matte acrylic could also be nice. Good ideas, thanks!

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Someone asked about styrene the other day, and others chimed in they were using it for architectural models. I’ve never used it (with a laser) but that could also be promising…

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Good call. I’ve cut clear styrene with the laser, but never thought that it might be available in colors. It is a good bit cheaper than acrylic:

I just did a test with paperboard and my medium-tack paper. I patted the tack paper against a T-shirt a couple of times before masking the paperboard. It worked very well.