Etching on painted mdf

I’m new to glowforge. Actually am currently anxiously waiting for mine to arrive. My question is this. If I paint a layer of black paint on mdf with white paint over the top, is it possible to etch away the white and expose the black? Also does it work better to etch over flat paint, semi gloss or gloss? I’m making white signs with black lettering.

1 Like

In short, no. (edit - seems some have, so yes!)

You can engrave thru the paint to the wood, but not thru individual layers of paint.

Your best bet would be to paint white, then apply masking. Engrave away the letters, and paint black while masking is in-place, then remove the masking.


That would be really hard to do, it would require a tremendous amount of control (of a flame) that might not be possible unless the coating was several layers thick.

You can buy two colored acrylic to be lasered, and you can laser off the top layer leaving the second color showing through, but that is a lot thicker than a layer of paint.

You CAN paint the wood a single coat and then laser off the paint to let the wood show through, so you might want to just use a darker colored wood underneath a white top coat. It won’t be completely black, but it will be charred enough for contrast with white paint.

1 Like

Thank you for the replies. I am excited to see what all I can do.

Actually, I do this all the time, but usually on canvas. I usually put multiple layers of paint on and use a relatively low power setting. It took some experimenting, and it is usually a surprise to me regarding which colors end up showing through, as you have little control over the thickness of the paint layers


You’ve been holding out on us, eh?

Nope, I posted it here


Somebody posted some gorgeous boxes back when I was first on the forum, that they had done using this technique – several layers of paint, then just burning through individual layers. They were amazing. I need to try to track them down again!

1 Like

I’ve been able to achieve some success with it as well, but I used tile. It takes some finesse though and other methods to get two different colors may be a lot easier. I used acrylic spray paint.

All you need is... (Rainbow tiles)


Argh, I can’t find them, and they were lovely! I did find this from @kittski, where she did multiple layers of paint on tile and then engraved through the top layer:

and this one, talking about scratchboard, which is basically wood with layers of paint:

I really want to find those boxes again, though!


I’ve done it with tile but not wood. This is 2 layers of paint.


Wow that is really nice.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 32 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.