Two Tone Painting With Masking Tape

Thanks for the suggestion. Do you have experience with cutting through the paint mask with a router? I was using a 1/8-inch straight bit at a depth of .08-inches. Just curious as to how well and cleanly it cuts with a rotary tool versus, say, an exacto knife.

For this piece, the black is recessed so it would be the opposite (paint white, apply mask, carve, paint black on exposed, peel, have a beer)

That sounds like a great product. Any chance you could show some pictures of how well it cuts? Also, what type of bits you used, etc.

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@madgrizzle it looks awesome! I think we always have a more critical eye of our own work, but speaking as one who has been eagerly awaiting pictures of this project, “wow” comes to mind. I love it.

Thanks for uploading the SVG from Makercam. I don’t have much (almost none) experience with Makercam, but I assume that I can pull the SVG into Inkscape for any edits. I am curious to see how JScut handles the g-code. When I did try to do some CAM with makercam, I found that choosing all the various pockets for a large file was too frustrating as I would invariably pick the wrong line or something would reset when I tried to zoom into smaller features. That was why I went to JScut as I could select paths based on color. So I am interested to see what you’ve done in the makercam file.

Thanks again for posting this. I REALLY need to get my Maslow cutting! Although my son asked me to finish his tree house first :confused: Unfortunately, that has to wait until spring so I don’t have to worry about shoveling snow off a deck that is 8 feet up a tree!

It’s been a while since I made this sign (or used my old CNC machine).
BUT I’m fairly certain I used a 1/4" down spiral carbide bit.
I didn’t paint this blank first but I done that on another sign. I didn’t notice any chipout or bleed.
As far as using an exacto knife, I have no experience doing that.
I just cut thru the paint mask.


My pleasure. The SVG contains the toolpaths but I don’t know if/how that survives editing in inkscape. They aren’t hard to recreate anyway.

I know makercam has its issues, but I’ve worked through them so far. My latest isssue with it is that I’m doing an intricate cut of a vase full of flowers (better get moving, valentine’s day is fast approaching) and am using a follow path to trace the outline of everything. However, when i go to save, nothing happens (doesn’t launch the file select dialog box). I can export the gcode no problem, just can’t save the SVG with the toolpath.

Great! I assumed the paint mask was normally cut with exacto knifes or maybe drag knifes (only reason I mentioned it). I think I’ll give it shot and another project. Being able to use spray paint, besides being a lot quicker, I think will give a much better finish.

FYI, here is where I ordered mine from. They have a lot of different sizes to choose from.


When I did some searching for avery paint mask, I found a forum ( that talked about using a coat of rubber cement (30 minute cure time) followed by a layer of transfer tape. Some say its the best solution. Options, that’s what I like :slight_smile:

Is there a difference between transfer tape and the vinyl paint mask?

I use transfer tape for cut vinyl signs all the time. There are several types, but essentially it’s just a low tack adhesive sheet. The medium can be paper, vinyl, or some other film plastic. So, to answer your question, no, there really isn’t much difference between the vinyl paint mask and transfer tape. It is used to stick over cut vinyl after you’ve taken out the parts you don’t want (the remaining vinyl is still stuck to the non-stick backing) so that you can peel it off the backing and keep all the pieces in place, then put the vinyl where you want, stick it down, and then peel off the transfer tape. When I first started cutting vinyl I used painter’s tape, but with large designs that becomes both expensive and tedious, so a wide roll of transfer tape is key.

I have a couple rolls of transfer tape, one paper and one that is similar to vinyl, so I may try an experiment by hand routing with some transfer tape on the plywood surface if I can find some time this weekend. My wife is away for a few weeks on business, so, unless I can get the kids in bed early enough and still have some energy left over, it may not happen.

@Allen_Burton, thanks for the link. For future reference, if you are going to buy a lot of the paint mask, I buy a lot of vinyl from, and the paint mask is significantly less expensive there (though you have to buy 10 yards). Link to USCutter Paint Mask

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@keith, I’d be very interesting in know how well it routes. I assume the undercoat of rubber cement that was suggested is reallyfor rough pieces of wood… like cedar, where the transfer tape wouldn’t stick well enough. Transfer tape seems just a little cheaper than the paint mask for a given size.

I would imagine this is bc the paint mask is intended to stand up to vehicle painting at high temperatures, but don’t know for sure why it’s more expensive.

I’ll do my best to get an experiment in with the transfer tape this weekend.

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that looks pretty good to me

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Can I get the file!? I really want to make this!

It’s down at the bottom of the page. It’s just the svg because the gcode that makercam produced was really, really inefficient.


Ok, so I managed to get a little time while my sister entertains the kids. I had a roll of vinyl transfer tape and a roll of paper transfer tape on hand and tried them both. I didn’t get around to painting a piece of wood, so it is just pencil marks. I imagine paint would work better for adhering the transfer tape.

I did three cuts with the bits I had on hand, a straight router bit, a v-carve router bit and this downcut router bit

Here are the results:
Paper backed–

the left most cut is the v-carve, then clockwise from there is the straight router bit and then the downcut. As you can see, only the downcut bit performed in any way that I would call a success. That said, the edges are pretty frayed, which might cause issues using spray paint into thin cuts. And, now that I think about it, I might also be worried that the paper would allow the paint to bleed through

Vinyl backed–

The vinyl backed transfer tape did much better, though the straight bit and the v-carve still show some fraying, with the straight bit being by far the worst. The downcut bit has very minimal fraying. Overall, I’d say that with a v-carve or downcut bit you could have decent success, especially on a painted surface which would likely allow the transfer tape to adhere better.

For the price, it’s definitely worth a try


Thanks for doing that. I happened to try with something similar today. I found some vinyl contact paper with waterbased adhesive and figured I’d give that a go. I was using a 3/32" straight bit and it didn’t work very well. Lots of tearing as you showed on yours with a straight bit. It was an intricate piece so even some pieces came off the board rather than staying on. It didn’t cut it very well… sometimes the vinyl rode up on the router bit rather than getting cut (picture lifting up a sheet while in bed). I was wondering if I could spray some light adhesive on the back of a piece of posterboard (or something similarly rigid, maybe even cardboard) and carve through that. The closer I get to a piece of wood, I suspect, the cleaner the results since cutting through actual wood gives clean results.

This is what I’m dealing with now. I’ve cut the wood and removed the vinyl since it was pretty much useless. My plan is to use diluted watercolor acrylic gel paint so the wood grain is still relatively visible. However, I’d like something in the carved area as an outline. The plan was to use black paint there, but I tested spray painting black on the same piece of plywood and I could not sand the spray paint off without eating too much into the veneer. It will be very difficult to paint it by hand. To spray paint/sand, I need to use a sanding sealer and then I don’t know how well I could get the sealer off.

I found a forum thread with a video that showed a technique for filling in carved letters. The procedure was to shellac the entire piece, paint the letters with oil based paint (not worrying about overspray) and then wipe off the surface with a rag with mineral spirits on it. It seemed to do a good job. I think I’ll give it a go as it appears shellac is compatible with acrylic paint (i.e., I’ll paint the water color before shellac’ing)

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looks great. I am eager to see the end result. If I get around to doing the millenium falcon before too too long, I’ll try it with the transfer tape and report back.

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I have to have it done for the wife by February 14.

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I’ve done that sort of thing in the past when I needed to fill in fine lines in
plastic pieces, use a paint that can be wiped off when wet, but is solid when it
dries and things get much easier.