Steve's Projects

I had the same problem with the 813. If i used a raddle can to paint the engraving i needed to get it all with 1 coat because it seemed to lift the edges on the oramask. Of coarse the first time i did not notice it and learned the hard way.

Wow, if you asked me to guess I would have guessed you were spraying the paint on somehow. You do a really fine job, I don’t see any brush marks!

-Do you ever have problems with bleed through under the Oramask?

-Are there ever times that you do use spray paint or a paint gun instead of hand painting? If so I’m guessing there would have to be much less detail and colors required on that kind of project.

I have spent countless nights trying to find examples online of anyone painting signs similar to yours to see how they do it but it must be a well kept secret because finding any info is very difficult. I even tried contacting people on ETSY or people who make signs for a living and its like trying to ask someone to give up the family’s secret recipe :smile: I’ve been shot down every time.

So thank you very much for sharing your process. Its very much appreciated!


Unless I’m missing something Steve said he puts his base color down, lets dry, then masks, then carves. After the carve he paints.

The beer sign that I did on pvc, I sprayed a light dusting on the carved areas… let that dry for a while and then came back with a few heavier coats. One thing I noticed was that there is a difference of shine in areas that were carved and an outline that I didn’t need to carve that was still the painted color.

Ryan, is there a picture of your sign on here somewhere?

yeah… bottom of this post

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Ah yes. I read it wrong. Thought he was oramasking AFTER and then using the brass brush to clear out carved areas.

I do think there is something to this idea of oramasking after a carve, at least on a smaller scale. Cut out with a razor. Allow for multiple layers of painting for those of us with less steady hands.

Steve I know this is your thread. I’m only posting these photos to show the painting process I have used and to add to the discussion…not to display my work. If you want me to remove I have no issue with that.

I did the razor method on these. I don’t have a CNC yet. These were routed by hand with a palm router. For the numbers on both and back ground of the Bengals clock I spray painted with black ink and sanded clean.

For the logos I did cover the clock with newspaper except right over the logo area I used a masking made from painters tape and took a exacto blade to open up the areas I wanted to spray. For example on the Bills clock the red part would get cut open and sprayed, let dry and then I would cover the whole thing again and cut out the part to get painted blue.


I use Rustoleum 2X for the base coat, (Krylon just plain sucks) I put it down good and heavy in one spraying, this way you can hide any minor scratches in the PVC AND it seems to give it a shinier appearance to the paint. I clean the PVC first with Windex and make sure it is good and dry. Any dust or dirt you get in the painting process will pick off when you peel the Oramask off. I wait a minimum of 24hrs before applying the Oramask and after I get get it on I rub it in with an old credit card to get it secured good and all the air bubbles out.

DO NOT use and up cut bit it will pull up the edges and embed plastic into it.

I prefer to to brush it in as the PVC seems to absorb the paint a bit or it just needs to get it into the texture created by the bits. Trying to rattle can it you have to put way to much paint down to get good coverage and I have had it peel up the Oramask as it dries along the edges.

I have had bleed through on several wood projects So I am still working at that.

I think I have covered all the questions if I missed something just ask I will respond. Steve


Wow on routing those by hand! I have trouble making a straight keyhole slot by hand. I’m impressed.

Thanks, Steve. Now I need to see if I can find these pvc sheets at my Menards or Home Depot. If you have any advice on sourcing them, I’d take it.

On the wood, have you tried sealing with shellac before painting?
Or will the shellac lift the Oramask?

Thank you very much for the insight. Really appreciate you taking the time to explain your process! I cant wait to get an xcarve and get started with all the ideas I have floating around in my head.

I found this video awhile ago and this method has helped me with bleed through on wood.

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I use the shellac first. Give it a few coats and works great. Just be sure it is an iside sign because if it goes out in the cold the shellac will crack. Just use it for inside work. For out side you can give it a few coats of poly then oramask on top of that.

I do sometimes shellac before any carving to help bind the fibers and reduce the fuzzies. I think it does help produce a sharper carve.
However I was referring to applying shellac after/in the carve to prevent paint from bleeding.

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Steve, I’m sorry if I have missed it somewhere further up, but how do you hang your PVC creations?

A couple of finish nails tucked into the the design were it can hang on them works best, we have used 3m Command strips and I have cut french cleats out of scrap PVC, glued them to the back and pre-drilled the holes in the opposing piece for the customer for easy mounting

Looking at these (and finally now having some PVC to carve!), my mind immediately went to the 3M command strips with velcro. Not a lot of weight to support and they will hold it to the wall tight.

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The pvc sign that I did, this is how they hung it. worked flawlessly

All amazing! Steve, any chance you could share your files for the Marine logos? My father is a retired Marine and I have tried to make him a sign, but the files I’ve downloaded aren’t very clean.