Varnishing or painting the PG material

I am VERY new the the Glowforge family. I am having trouble varnishing or painting the PG material. How do I remove the finish of PG material in order for it to allow the varnish and/or paint to adhere?
Thank you~
Nancy Bussing


Not sure why you would wish to varnish over the finish. I suppose you could sand it. There are many folks who say the prefinished PG ply won’t accept paint, but I’ve had great luck using paint pens on it without having to do anything prior.


This. If you are wanting to refinish or paint your item, it would make much more sense to buy non-PG material someplace like Lowes or Home Depot. Way way cheaper and it is already ready to accept new finishes. The only 2 selling points for PG are that the cut settings are guaranteed and you don’t HAVE to worry about finishing it.


If you look through the catalog there are numerous items that appear to be painted or varnished. Like I said, I’m new here, just trying to figure out the product. Trial and error is costly using PG materials. I’ve read that you’re not supposed to use non-PG materials but from what I’m gathering, people are using non-PG. Your thoughts on this?

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You’re not supposed to use non- lasersafe material, there’s nothing wrong with using laserable things from other vendors!

PG is guaranteed to work if you use the correct settings, which is a large part of the price point, but if you’re painting or varnishing it just doesn’t make sense.

There are literally hundreds of vetted suppliers. Start here:


In order to do that with proofgrade materials, you’d have to sand off the finish. Unfortunately, if you really look at alot of the catalog designs, you’ll notice that alot of the really nicely painted and varnished ones are not proofgrade materials. A good chunk will be baltic birch, some are maybe other types of wood.

If you’re looking to just paint, I’ve had luck painting small details with acrylic paint pens. But like you, i made the mistake of trying to varnish a piece of proofgrade when i first got my machine, without realizing it had already been sealed, and it was a mess.

If that’s what you want to do, I’d hold off on using the proofgrade, save it for something fancy that just needs engraving and the natural finish.

Find a lumber yard that sells baltic birch, have it cut to size, or order it online cut to size, then use that to stain, paint, etc.

I used to live within driving distance of Cherokee Wood, so that’s where i bought all my baltic birch, unfinished maple, cherry, walnut, and veneers. Having it shipped will cost a fortune, but here is the site for you to see the examples.

You can cut non-proofgrade in your machine, but glowforge will not be liable for any damages caused by nonproofgrade materials. So make sure to keep a closer eye on any project you do that isn’t proofgrade.


Many many of the people here use outsourced materials. I typically use PG because it is masked and finished already, two things I don’t want to do on my own, and I don’t do much of anything that requires altering that finish. I do use Amazon draftboard, though, because (at one time) I was getting it for $2 per sheet.


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