How would you paint or finish an engraving?

So I am creating something, I am painting the outside blue, however I dont know how to paint or finish the dragon on the inside to make it look good.

Anyone have any ideas?


First thing I’d do is use a more appropriate material. This looks like plywood, I suspect Baltic Birch, though it might be proofgrade. Part of your issue here is that your engrave goes through the top layer and hits the middle layer, which takes away from the consistency of the thing. If possible, I would go to a solid hardwood like maple or basswood.

After that I’d consider prepainting/dyeing with a mask to get the colors where you wanted before engraving… though that comes with challenges, like understanding jigs and scoring masking material, etc etc. It’s a process.

Other than that, I might consider engraving solid hardwood, then washing the smoke residue off, then washing with thin paint or watercolor to give hints of color.

Watercolor can look great:


It looks really nice! I have had trouble getting a decent dragon.
With a little bit of Purell hand sanitizer and some melamine sponge work you could bring out the depth and detail.

If that worked well, there might not be a need for more color.


Ditto to the above comments, but maybe just a translucent stain with a hint of color. Reddish? Not sure what the end result is meant to be.


Household ammonia will cut that smoke stain off easily, and won’t raise woodgrain as water will.
evansd2 gave a good method for detail coloring.


All great advice above!! I just wanted to comment on the great engrave!

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I would paint the raised parts of the dragon in gold paint. The outside would be silver.

I would look at Amazon for paint pens.

Paint the dragon in red and the outside in gold


I use “Rub n Buff” metallic finishes a fair bit. I have all their standard colors. You can cover with a clear satin or gloss polycrylic to make it more durable.


I’d do a light sanding of the dragon to make it stand out, and then a light stain over everything - though I do like @eflyguy’s Rub’n’Buff suggestion!


If you make another, use a paper outline template for size and location of the outer surface and inner circle. Then utilizing it as a mask, remove the inner circle part and paint the dragon area before engraving. Can even replace the circle and paint the out part in the same manner.