VCarve Painting Suggestions

I’m working on a bunch of vcarve crests made out of white PVC board. Here is the image template of what i’m making:


My current workflow is:

  1. V-carve and cut out the crests
  2. Spray paint the entire crest black
  3. Go back and mask the whole crest with blue painters tape, use a razor to cut out the area i want to paint, and paint white, red, blue, or yellow. I use a foam roller to lightly roll the paint on keeping the v grooves black.

This obviously takes a while to do and is a bit tedious. I was wondering if anyone had suggestions for a faster painting workflows. I’d like to figure out a way to spray the different colors as I feel it gives better / smoother coverages than the roller method.


I’m interested in hearing what people have to say about this.

I don’t have a CNC yet but when I hand carve/router I have tried your method before and it is tedious and time consuming but it turned out very well. I didn’t have any letters to paint over though so not sure about that part. I had several sections that were painted different colors and I would cover up the whole thing and use a razor blade to expose the area I wanted to work on.

With a CNC couldn’t you mask the whole thing first and carve though the masking? Then paint and peal the masking off?

This works great when you just want to paint the carved areas, but @EthanKinney is asking if there’s a quicker way to paint the non-carved areas.

I cheat. :smiley: I have a vinyl plotter, whick I can use to create an initial paint mask. I oversize the areas I want to paint slightly, so that when I get to the carving step, the painted areas go right up to the edge of the carve.

I have a Silhouette Cameo that I use sometimes to create stencils for painting. Am I picturing what you’re saying correctly when I say your masking your work by putting a stencil down with the outline of your stencil being slightly bigger than what you want so when your V bit passes it takes a little off each side and you have a nice crisp paint line?

If that’s correct how do you paint your V bit cut out or do you leave that alone?


After the initial mask, paint and de-mask, wait for your paint to COMPLETELY dry (depending on what kind of paint you’re using, this can take up to a week), re-mask the entire piece, and carve. After that, you can paint your black lines with the remaining (“un-carved”) mask in place, then remove this mask when done painting. That first paint has really got to be down and done before the second mask application, or else it’ll pull up when you de-mask the final time.

Here’s a project I did that essentially follows this sequence: First "Finished" Project - Gir


Great tutorial you did there and very nice job!

With your method and Ethan’s design….would you take the PVC and mask first with your vinyl plotted mask (Ethan’s design) and peel everything off that you were going to paint? Then remove the rest of that mask off and let dry? Once dry lay another mask down and Vcarve everything and spray paint black?

If that is the way you would do that….how do you line everything up so the Vcarve is accurate? What programs do you use? Can you use the same file in your vinyl plotter and Easel so the dimensions match?

I really would love to know how Steve paints his PVC projects because Ethan’s is basically the same.

You weed (remove) the areas of the plotted mask to be painted before transferring the mask from its backing to the work piece.


Carefully. :slight_smile:

This is why I oversize the areas to be painted using the first mask - the carving will actually remove the perimeters of the painted areas, so the colors will be immediately adjacent to the carved areas (which also get painted, before removing the second mask).

Inkscape for all the vector editing. I import my svg’s/dxf’s into Fusion360 for generating G-Code for the X-Carve, and into VinylMaster for the plotter.

I’ve gone through the steps of calibrating both my X-Carve and plotter, so they’re both fairly dimensionally accurate. Again, though, I give myself “wiggle room” so I’m not worried about things matching perfectly.

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