Masking wood to carve out and paint

I was just wondering if anyone knows of a type of masking film I could use to mask off my wood before I carve it?
I have used painter’s tape a couple of times, however I don’t want to go strip by strip… I would rather use something that is big enough to use a sheet to mask off the whole piece at once.


I use Oramask 813.


Me too. Works well. Lots of size options on Amazon.

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Sweet… Thanks!!!

think of it like a really brittle masking tape. It cuts pretty sharp and has good adhesion. It’s a life safer.

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How does oramask prevent bleeding of paint through the ends of the wood fibers?
I have read all of the posts over the few years the i have been on here but still don’t quite understand that process.
The best method I have found is to seal the wood after machining, then paint the carve, and then clean up the carve by sanding.
I seems to me that you still would have a bleeding problem under the oramask.

I use it alot and maybe it would if you used it on bare wood. The idea of the oramask is you paint or stain the wood then apply the oramask and paint the carving. I normally paint or stain then apply 2 coats of poly or sanding sealer then apply oramask then carve and paint carving. You are right if you have a bare piece of wood and carve it you can paint and sand it off. That does not work with a finished piece of wood. Saves a lot of time in painting and cleanup with the oramask.

I hand paint my pieces but still get the paint bleeding into the fibers after sanding… it just isn’t going to come out… So I just deal with it for now

I never thought about it like that… So I will most certainly give your suggestion a try!!

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Here’s a great video I used to do all of mine and an example.


Sand the piece you’re going to carve, then spray with 2 coats of Zinsser spray shellac (make sure you let it dry thoroughly between coats). Apply the Oramask and use a printer’s brayer to get rid of any air bubbles. Carve your image. Don’t remove the Oramask just yet. Spray the carved areas again with Zinsser and let dry. Fill paint the carved areas, and when slightly dry remove the Oramask. The shellac prevents the paint bleed in the carved areas.

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Sweet!! I will do that. I ordered some Oramask that just came in!!!

Yeah, I’ve had good results with this method. You have to make sure the Oramask is stuck well on the wood, that’s why a brayer should be used. You’ll wind up having to pick off small pieces of Oramask when you’re done. I use a pair of tweezers to pick off the small pieces. The larger pieces of Oramask should peel right off. I think you’ll like the result.
Good Luck

My question is this: As I see above, there are several recipes for getting good results. Some people recommend shellac, some recommend polyurethane or clear/finish coat of some sort.

Are these personal preferences or are there clear (pun intended) reasons for using one vs another for this type of work? e.g.: Paint compatibility, resiliency, wood grain seal, type of wood, etc. Has anyone done tests of different to pick their solution?

Sorry if I open a can of worms.

The biggest thing to think about is if it going inside or out. Shellac is not recommended for outside use. For inside you can use whichever is best for you they both work great.

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Here is an outdoor sign that I did for a customer with the following process.
Seal with shellac (2 coats)
Paint the carve.
Sand off he excess paint.
~6 coats of spar urethane.

Here is one that I made for my chicken coop last year using the same process.


I was in a rush and needed some film so I went to my local hobby lobby and got the CrIcut stencil film. It worked really well. I will try the shellac that everyone else said next time!