How do you paint an engraving?

So, I’ve got a set of speakers I’m building and the ‘wood’ is MDF. I’ve carved some designs into the sides of them just fine and I’ve painted the carving bit gold and sanded the excess off so only the engraving is painted. I’m trying to figure out how to paint the rest of the speakers black. I’d wondered if a paint roller would work, but I’m ultimately shooting for a glossy smooth finish and I’m not sure if rollers are good for that sort of thing. Thoughts?

I little late here, but… Paint before your carve. Let the paint cure well. Then I apply paint mask and use a roller to make sure it is bonded well. ORAMASK 813 Paint Mask Stencil Firm 3mil

The mask cuts cleanly. You might hit the cut areas with a clear coat to seal the mask edges, then paint the cut areas. The mask will then peel off.

Well, shoot. I tried sticking some painter’s tape on there for that general concept once, but it didn’t work well at all. I didn’t realize there was better stuff out there.

I’d thought about packing something or another in the engraved groove that I could paint over, then pull out, but I’m not having much luck figuring out what would do that and play well with MDF.

Thanks, but I’m going the other way with it. My engraving is already painted and I’m looking to paint the surface of my piece without painting my engraving. I had used a foam brush to blotch over the top, which kinda worked, but the paint I used was super think and left an awful finish, so I sanded it all off.

No, painter’s take doesn’t work well at all. Had I known something better was available (like the oramask Gerry linked to), I would’ve gone that route and painter before milling, but it’s a bit late for that now.

I might just have to water down some paint a little bit and go with some light passes using a foam roller with very little pressure. Not ideal, but I’m not really sure of any better options at this point.

I’d tried the sponge brush dab technique with some Valspar something or another that said it was good for drywall type things and it sorta worked…not really. It was hard to apply cleanly and, when brushed on, left huge brush streaks that were totally unacceptable when I was shooting for a smooth finish. It sounds like I was on the right track and may just needed some different paint (or thinning out what I’ve got). Still figuring out this whole finishing process stuff and, so far, I suck at it.

Pretty sure it’s this stuff:
Valspar Project Paint

Use the mask technique then let it cure/dry then put a releasing agent on top of that and let cure. Once you have the masked removed you can paint then wash or rub off the release agent.
What release agent you use will depend on the chemical composition of your paint.
Has to be something that will dry and be easily removed later.
I have not tried anything like this yet. but its similar to when I paint illustrations.
I use a rubber liquid that will dry and later after painting it rubs off easily with a soft eraser.
liquid frisk-it or art masking fluid I believe.

Just did my first test with Oramask. It’s amazing. Ordered a 20’ roll this time…may order the 100’ roll next time. This stuff is a huge time saver for me!

  1. It was finally available for prime shipping this past week so I went ahead and ordered it while experimenting with Phil’s techniques using shellac. The shellac is EXCELLENT for painting cutouts on bare or stained wood, but my base surface is painted white and the shellac works, but even the clear shellac gives a slight yellowed tint. Considering it is designed for applying to wood, it’s not the fault of the shellac.
    The 813 is worth its weight in gold to me now. Test carves with it needed no sanding on the edges so it saves a ton of time. You just need to make sure your surface is as smooth as you can get it so it sticks cleanly. Rub with a old credit card to ensure no air bubbles. After finishing it peels away cleanly with zero sticky residue. The shelf/contact paper I was using before do not cut cleanly, stuck/melted to the bit some, and when pulled away left a sticky reside. None of those problems with the Oramask.

Using a roller makes it bond even better. Powertech J-Roller

I didn’t use one at first, but after I tried it I was convinced. You can actually see the mask bond with the surface as you roll.

I also use it to roll down the masking tape when I use CA glue to tack the parts down.

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You can get a 6’ roll, but a 20’ isn’t but a few dollars more.

I just bought a 30"x 50 yd roll for $125 on Amazon going to apply it tonight

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You can get it here by the foot to try it out.