Engraving is staining white paint


We just got our :glowforge: 3 weeks ago and are testing it all and learning. One thing that keeps happening is that if we paint a board, then put masking tape on, and then engrave, it stains the paint, making it look like rusty metal.

See picture attached. Please help! What are we doing wrong? We’re using pg draft board.image

You need to fine tune your settings until it doesn’t produce the stain. That might be to reduce the power, increase the speed or number of steps.

I’m moving this to Beyond the Manual, as this is a not a technical support issue and they can’t help with settings for non-Proofgrade material.

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Also make sure you brayer the mask tape down, very thoroughly. By painting it, you are making the surface less smooth, and the masking may not be stuck down everywhere, which will let smoke staining get underneath it.


Thanks for the info.

FYI, it is PG material. It’s draft board.

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Thanks. Do you recommend not painting a surface before engraving? Or just adjust the settings.

Well, I’ve never tried painting it first, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. What kind of masking tape are you using?

Scotch #2025 general use masking tape.

Is it as wide as the sheet, or are you placing strips side-by-side? (They sell 12" wide paper masking tape, which might work better for something like this. Any time you have a seam, you’ll get staining.)


Hmm. It’s strips, but I overlapped them. Maybe not good enough. Thanks for your help Jules. We’ll keep on with trial & error.

If you’ve painted it before engraving, it’s no longer something support can help with when it comes to settings.

PG comes with masking applied, but it’s not going to be easy to paint a white background after engraving.

Better masking.


The staining is coming up from the wood, so the overlapped tape creates little channels where the residue can enter and get trapped.

Wider tape would be best, but if you are using up the tape you already have, you might try butting the strips right up against each other instead of overlapping them (unless you plan on painting again after engraving… that’s where you do want overlaps)


Awesome! Thanks @evansd2!

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Makes sense. Thanks @jbv!


I don’t recommend overlapping the tape. You will have an uneven engrave wherever you burn through the double layer of tape. Just very carefully butt the edges together and press it all down firmly.

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Hi, curious if you saw it’s PG, but you have to apply masking to it–which makes me think you’re buying the draft board from another source, which is OK as long as it’s laser safe–but if it were PG, that refers to what is bought from Glowforge and all of it comes masked…

And don’t overlap any masking. Butt up the edges, and as noted by others, invest in wider masking–it will save you a lot more time and likely even money if you’re planning to do this a lot.

But to skip the masking, have you tried etching first, and then using a firm pad or brayer to roll the paint onto the top surface and minimize risk of getting any in the etched areas? (You’ll want to wipe down the board to remove any soot/scorch marks first for best results).

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Well if they paint it they have to remove the tape, paint, reapply tape. So it definitely could be PG Draftboard.

As everybody else has said, look into getting wider tape (saves lots of time and many headaches). Try painting after by using a roller brush. This means you don’t have to worry about removing and reapplying tape!

I’ve been meaning to do more paint stuff on my work. Just too little time these days to sit down with paint. Cute stuff!!!


Sorry, to clarify, I meant was paint after etching – not painting before etching.

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