Help with order (carve, paint, stain)

Hello fellow CNCers
In need of help again!
Situation: I’m creating a piece, using 1/8" raw basswood for my neighbor. It requires carving & painting the letters black, painting behind the letters white (all in the middle of the project), and staining the upper and lower parts of the project.

Questions: In what order should I do all these steps? I’ve already ruined 4 pieces of wood. Painting the letters is a nightmare; there must be a simpler/faster way.
What kind of paint should I use? Please help. Thank you!

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If you stain and seal before painting that might make painting onto the sealer easier than painting onto raw wood grain…

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Can you show us a picture of what you’re doing?
Every project can be just a little different.

Are you sanding the wood smooth?

If you’re staining the wood, you can’t seal it first because the stain wont soak in the wood.
If you’re painting the wood then you can seal it first.

Sometimes I use the acrylic paint in a bottle and other times I use Rust-Oleum in a can.

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the best way to go would paint your material before carving after paint is complete apply Oramask 813 Stencil Film (available on amazon for twenty bucks) then carve. spray some clear coat of your choice to prevent bleeding. paint carves with choice of color and remove oramask.

this might help???

(172) How To Use Oramask 813 Stencil Film For Painted CNC Signs - YouTube


The one on the left came out better because I saw one of Paw Paw’s workshop videos & he used Sharpies. That sure was a lot easier than trying to paint all those skinny little suckers. lol

Yes, I sanded the wood.



I know…I carved sideways. :woman_facepalming:t3:

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Thanks, Ken…
I will definitely try that next time. Sounds so much easier & faster. I’ll have to be careful to make sure I carve in the correct spot. Tried to paint first on one & my carve was lower than the paint.
This has definitely been a learning experience. I got pretty much of the finished product I wanted.
The bows were a challenge for me too. Thank you, everyone for all you help and advice.

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Hello Lori,
I would of taped off the middle section and applied clear, then while it was still taped off and after the clear has dried I would of painted the middle section white. Remove tape and let it dry.
After the white paint had dried you could use oramask for the black letters. After you carve you need to apply sealer to the carved areas.
Then you could of used tape along the white edge and applied the stain. You might not even need the tape on the white because if you get any stain on the painted section you can wipe it off.
Like Ken and Seth mentioned, sealing is key to not having paint bleed.
I had a piece of basswood and used some Rustoelum satin clear on it. I used some oramask to mask off a section and paint it black. You can see that the section with the clear didn’t bleed and the section of wood without clear bled.


Thank you so much, Russell. I’ll try that next time.

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I had never heard of “basswood” before, until I happened to be at a local Hobby Lobby about a year ago. They had 2 pieces of live edge, raw basswood. Eh, why not, it was cheap. I grabbed both pieces. A friend wanted a “serving/charcuterie” board with his favorite team on it (not my team choice) Like the others said, seal it first. I used a cheap quart can of Bulls Eye Shellac (Lowes). I think I learned it from Papa’s Workshop, and have been using it since for everything that needs sealing prior to cut/paint. 2-3 wafer thin coats, cheap brush, dries in seconds. I will even use a heat gun (Harbor Freight) if I am in a hurry to dry between coats. Sealed it, cut the pattern, and hand painted everything, light sand to remove the over paint, then brushed another coat of the Shellac over it. Zero bleeding at all. Just my $.05


Awesome advice and great boards!!
Thanks so much!!


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