Painting light basswood


Ive made some projects on my glowforge basic that require me to paint the wood. They arent huge so i painted them after cutting with acrylic paint. The paint seemed to scratch off easily. I tried sealing it with mod podge but when the painted pieces touched eachother they stuck and peeled some paint off. I did not sand the wood prior to painting. Im just wondering what the best way to paint the proofgrade wood is??

Welcome to the forum.

I don’t paint Proofgrade wood, but there have been lots of discussions about this topic over the years: Search results for 'paint proofgrade' - Glowforge Owners Forum


Welcome to the forum. As @dklgood said, there has been lots of discussion on painting items in the forum, but here is my experience. I do paint Proofgrade wooden items. Since Proofgrade woods come prefinished you will usually need to sand them lightly to remove the finish, then paint. I use acrylic paint pens, then I seal them using a spray clear sealer.


Proofgrade wood has a thick, furniture quality finish on it, meant to show off the natural beauty of the wood. Finishes like that are not meant to be painted over, and they’re a big part of the reason this wood is $20+ a sheet when unfinished wood is a quarter that price. I suggest getting unfinished wood for projects you intend to paint, and saving the fancy finished wood for projects where you want to show off the wood on its own.


Good to know! Where do you buy your unfinished wood? Ive tried a few but they always come warped and i have a hard time putting that protective sheet over them myself. Its nice that the proofgrade comes with that already on.

I’m a fan of the PureBond Project Panel 10-packs that Home Depot sells on their website. The manufacturer made up these packs just for Glowforge owners. They’re 12x19" to fit in our machines and cut easily.

They’re available in birch, maple, walnut, a couple other veneers and two thicknesses (5/32" or 1/4") similar to Proofgrade “medium” and “thick”. Proofgrade settings will cut and engrave them.


I love the Columbia Forest Products as well and ditto what’s already been said.


I agree about saving the proofgrade for projects where you want a natural finish. I also love Columbia Wood products, but I buy some of my wood from Smokey Hill Designs.


LOVE SMOKEY HILL DESIGNS!! Patternply is awesome, prices are really competitive and their support team is just amazing. Highly recommend. Also, their Facebook group offers advice and settings for Glowforge users that have tested the products and the official ordering website also offers insight to Glowforge settings for their materials. ALSO: in regards to painting Proofgrade, unfinished draftboard is the only one I would recommend painting. Tube or bottle Acrylics blended with flow medium or paint pens. If using a paint brush, DO NOT overwork the draft board and do not get it saturated or even moderately wet. Allow to dry between coats. I also use alcohol ink pens, they “bleed” into the material but the bleed stops at a score or engrave line. You will have to experiment with it, the colors are not true to color on the alcohol ink pens. Picture shown, red coop and roof are alcohol ink pens, 2 passes and chickens are acrylic paint pens by Tooli brand, dual tip.


Thanks!! Good to have options. And do you put the adhesive paper film on these boards before you cut or do the burn marks not matter if you are painting?

I have only used the Proofgrade Draft board (mdf) in my Glowforge, only because I know it is laser quality and I keep the masking on and paint after the cut. i tried painting draft board first and remasked with Vinyl Ease masking (great stuff!) I used white acrylic craft paint, the results were just ok, the mask pulled pain in some small detailed areas. I have read where others in the Glowforge Facebook chat group have used spray paint, but no matter which you use, be sure to let them cure completely per instructions or you will have a mess. It has been trial and error so far when incorporating paints into projects. But, just as the previous commenters noted, the professional finish on the Proofgrade wood panels are not great for painting and since you are spending extra on them, showcase the wood finish. Join the Glowforge forum groups on Facebook as well, I have learned A LOT from them also. Good Luck!

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Unless your paint is clear or you are using the masking to help paint different areas, you don’t need to add it. It’s purely there to keep the surfaces clean. You can paint right over the smoke stains.


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