Paint and remask to engrave proofgrade hardwood

Hi, any help will be appreciated. I have a project where I would like to paint white proofgrade Basswood and then use the same masking tape that comes with the hardwood to remark it after the paint is dried, and then engrave. Would the settings I choose be the same? Would paint throw off the settings? Is it ok to use crafters acrylic paint over the hardwood or Behr satin from Home Depot? If you have tried this before please share your thoughts. TY

So people have done stuff like this before.

As for reusing the masking, it is probably doable, but you’re probably better off buying masking and using fresh. A full sheet of masking is about 1.5 linear feet, you can buy masking at about $35/300 feet, which works out to about $0.20 for the masking. I’d pay 20 cents not to have to deal with wrangling a giant sheet of masking.

Engraving painted/stained woods produces interesting results, you can tune the power level to get light colored engraves that way. As for what setting to use, it’ll depend entirely on your specific techniques, nobody can tell you that, sorry.

Types of paints? Well acrylics work well, I’d stay away from latex if it were me. Stains can work here too. People have done and posted projects using these techniques but they’re hard to search for.

Maybe @kittski can elaborate here.


Stay away from latex due to toxic fumes? Can you please elaborate on that? So, acrylic spray paint is ok, but I am in the In the Midwest in the middle of this stubborn and never ending winter that makes it difficult to use this technique outdoors. :disappointed:
I have looked for pre stained plywood, but now I am not sure since I don’t know what kind of paint they might use. Thanks for your insight.

As for latex, think about burning rubber, the smoke is gross and dark. Pretty much everything you laser is toxic to some degree, even the wood. You shouldn’t be inhaling any fumes if you can help it, hence why good ventilation is key. In terms of residue and cleanup, latex sounds to me like it’d be a worse bet (due to the gross smokes from latex based things) than a nice solid stain or acrylic.

This is all very analog, it’s hard to quantify exactly what all of these things will do, but think about the concept like you’re adding more to the wood, how will that affect the wood or the laser? Chances are paints and stains won’t interfere with the laser too much, but water based paints/stains might well cause the wood to warp, so I’d go light on them. I’m not saying not to use them, I think most acrylic paints are water based, but I’d lean toward thin coat(s) of whatever I used to minimize the effects of the water on the material. Make sense?

Part of this whole experience is the experimentation. You’re trying things that people have never done, or maybe have done but with slightly different materials/circumstances. You’re the artist, go make stuff and iterate, even fails have value and will teach you things.

Of course everything I make is perfect first try, but I’ve heard that other people have fails and secretly learn things and don’t always post about how they wrecked a project because they can’t do math on angles, just as a random example that isn’t real at all I’m not crying, you’re crying I’m only going to my room because I want to!

Anyway. Go fast, break things, figure stuff out! :slight_smile:


“Latex” and Acryic paint are both made from acrylic resin, there’s no actual rubber in the former, it’s just a term to differentiate it as water-based. There’s no harm (in general, check MSDS if you want to be certain) and there’s no unusual odor.

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The more you knoooowwwwwww :rainbow: :star2:

So why does latex paint like house paint come across as so flexible? Is it just because painters lay it on heavy? I always assumed there was some latex in there to increase its pliability, not true?

Huh, to the google.

According to this some latex paints have vinyls in them. I wonder what kind of vinyl, doubt it’s PVC, but interesting. Aha, apparently it’s PVA in some cases, that makes sense, PVA glue dries fairly flexible too.

Amazing what the internet knows.


Just the composition. You can get different desired characteristics in all types.

I’ve painted wood and plywood with spray paint, masked and then engraved and/or cut several times before. I didn’t notice any real difference in settings between unfinished and finished, but the only proofgrade I used was draft board.

My main thoughts are about the paint and your finishing technique. When you look at a room you look at the whole room. It’s kinda hard to focus on any six square inches of it. This is what house paints are meant for: a twelve by eight foot wall. If you are making small pieces how you finish the wood, apply your paint* and even finish it matters. If the piece(s) are essentially disposable, then don’t spend a lot of time or money on it. If you’re aiming for something grander you need to pay more attention to the finish and less to the laser. It just depends on what you are doing.

*It didn’t take me long to learn that the spray paints sold at art stores like Blick are worth the cost compared to the Rustoleum at the DIY store.


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