How To Make Wood Engraving Stand Out:4 Steps To Finish

Fill the engraving with any color of acrylic craft paint using a small brush. Then, wipe off the excess color with a damp rag. Sand the wood, and apply a finish to seal the engraving.  

That’s not all. You can apply other approaches to make the engraving stand out. Learning about them will also inform you about the right time to use them.

So here, you’ll get a detailed guide for making wood engraving outstanding that every woodworker cherishes.

With this article, you’ll learn some unique ways and methods to make the wood engraving stand out, and you don’t need to look around elsewhere.

Table of Contents

How To Make Wood Engraving Stand Out?

How To Make Wood Engraving Stand Out

No matter what ways you’re choosing for wood engraving, the first condition is to choose the right piece of wood. 

How To Pick The Best Wood For Engraving?

Depending on which method you’re using for wood engraving, you will need to choose different types of wood. So here are some tips for choosing the right wood. 

1. For Laser Engraving

Laser engraving on wood is the most popular technology to printmake images, or matrices. So, first let’s see what wood is good for laser engraving. 

  • Pick Minimal Streaking

While picking wood for laser engraving, choose the one with minimal streaks and features a smooth and consistent grain to avoid distraction while engraving images or patterns. 

  • Resin Content

If you want a dark burn on engraving, it’s best to pick wood with high resin content, like Cherry or Alder wood. Otherwise, if you want to burn lightly, you should choose wood containing low resin content

  • Lighter Wood

Lighter wood is best for laser engraving as it can develop a dark and deep burn when etched, making your engraving outstanding. 

2. For CNC Routing

Here are key factors to consider while choosing the best wood for CNC router engraving.

  • Appearance

CNC router wood engraving needs wood with a clean appearance as much as possible. So make sure the wood you select has no mold or marking. 

  • Knot

Afterward, identify the knots of the wood. Check out if the knots have split. If so, make sure they can be fixable with resin. The wood piece should be smooth and free from knots and blemishes.

  • Wood Wrapping 
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You shouldn’t use the wood piece that has any kind of wood wrapping including crook,  bowing, and kink. Wrapping differs from wood flatness, so this wood is not best for wood engraving. 

  • Twist 

Be aware there is no twist on the wood. A twist is a displaced wrapping that is not even across the wood. 

  • Cup

Check out the cup, which refers to the wooden piece curved across its face. 

Here is some best wood for CNC routing projects: 

  • Cherry
  • Cypress
  • Walnut
  • Popular
  • Birch 
Step 1: How To Prepare Wood For Engraving?

The next consideration to getting quality and professional wood engraving is properly preparing the wood. 

  • First, look at your wood and identify whether it’s sanded or smooth.
  • If not, begin sanding the surface of the wood with medium grit sandpaper. It will help to remove the dust, debris, and dirt from the wood surface.
  • Then, using finer grit sandpaper, sand the wood surface in one direction. It will make the wood surface smoother to make your wood engravings successful and stand out.
  • Now, clean the dust with a tack cloth. 
  • Next, Apply paint primer with a brush and let it dry.
  • Once dried, use a wood filler in case there are any gaps or cracks in the wood to fill them.
  • Again, sand the wood surface using fine-grit sandpaper to get a finer and smoother wood finish.
  • Apply stain and clear coat over the wood surface before wood engraving. 
Step 2: How To Make CNC Routing Wood Engraving Outstanding?

Here is a way to make CNC Routing Wood engraving outstanding.

Tools You’ll Need

  •  ⅛” 2 flute solid carbide end mill

Procedure of Engraving

  1. Run a fairly slow feed rate with a 1/8″ 2 flute solid carbide end mill and make your engraving. 
  1. Then remove the wood dust.
  1. Now spray over the engraving letter or design with enamel spray paint. Tape around the letter before applying it for less cleanup when sanding. 
  1. Now sand the paint off. Use a coarse grit to start working down to finer grit.
  1. Sand some more if needed.
  1. Wrap some sandpaper around the engraving design. Spray and sand again. 
  1. Repeat the process until you make the engraving stand out
Step 3: Using Paint Filling In Laser Cut Engraving On Wood

Filling some paint in engraving makes the letters or design unique instead of only having a scorched or burned color. This process gives more uniqueness to your design and makes it less laser-cut. 

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However, you can apply different paint colors on different types of wood to get your perfect combination. Though using colors that contrast the wood you’re engraving, is the best idea to make it elegant. You can use this method to stand out the smaller letters. 

  1. First, apply a wood varnish to seal the wood surface. 
  1. Afterward, mask the wood with masking tape (You can use any color you prefer).
  1. Now, laser the engrave. This part requires some adjustments with the laser cutter settings. The depth of the engraved gutter is very important. 
  1. You should engrave the wood piece once again if it comes out shallow.
  1. Make the gutter deeper enough to fill the paint in it.
  1. Apply varnish in the gutter.
  1. Let it dry (If the tape gets much wet due to the varnish, it won’t work later when you try to fill the paint)
  1. Now, fill the engraving with paint using a small brush (You can use any acrylic paint) and let it dry.
  1. Carefully peel off the masking tape. (Here you can make an internal link on how to remove double sided tape from wood)
  1. Sand the surface with finer grit sandpaper, and you’ll get clean outlines of the engraving design.

Note: You can use this technique for any detailed drawings. You can also use white masking tape but be aware you’re not making any gap between the tape. Also, avoid overlapping the tape, as this can make the gutter depth different. 

Step 4: Using Shoe Polish to Darken And Stand Out The Wood Engraving

If you want to make the engraving dark black, apply the following instruction. 

  1. Apply some shoe polish to the engraved area
  2. Take a rag and spray some water over it
  3. Wipe off the excess shoe polish with the rag

Other Ways To Make Engraving Stand Out

There are several ways to make your wood engraving stand out. Let’s get to know about them.

  1. Vector Line

To make the letters instantly pop out, outline them with a vector line. 

  1. Thicker Font

The easiest and quickest way to make the engraving stand out is using a thicker font. In this way, you can instantly make the font stand out more, and a thicker font will show up better on a rougher surface.

  1. Contrast Design
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Nevertheless, you can add contrast by engraving different font types and sizes. For instance, when using a regular font as an engraving base, you can add some words with italic fonts to make them stand out more. 

  1. Etching a Thin Line

Etching a thin line around your engraving edges will also add a touch of elegance and make it stand out by highlighting the engraving. 

  1. Adding Texture

Lastly, adding a texture like sandblasting, engraving, and patterns etching are great ways to make the wood engraving stand out.

  1. Acrylic Ink Pen

You can easily make the engraving pop out by filling it with an Acrylic ink pen. This method is best for big letters and detailed designs.

Can You Engrave Over Acrylic Paint?

Yes, you can engrave over acrylic paint with a CNC machine. This machine vaporizes the area of the wood where the paint is applied by using a laser. This can also be done on plastics, antiques, or any material except wood material. 

What Should I Use To Seal Wood Before Laser Engraving?

To seal the wood before laser engraving, you’ll need a sealant that won’t adversely affect the laser. In that case, water-based acrylic sealants (Here you can make an internal link on how to remove water-based polyurethane) work best. It creates a protective layer between the wood and the engraving. Even it helps to reduce the amount of smoke produced by the laser.

How Do You Care About The Wood After Finishing Engraving?

After finishing engraving with a laser, seal the engraving with a clear coat or lacquer before any fillings. Doing so will help the engraving look prime and finished.

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On Wood Engraving?

Acrylic paint is best for wood engraving as it’s thick and dries faster. Also, acrylic paints can withstand for a long time.

What Font Is Best For Wood Engraving?

You can use any font for wood engraving. However, the most used fonts are Times New Roman, Arial, Italic, Old English, Lucida Calligraphy, or Lucida Handwriting

Final Thoughts

Making your wood engraving stand out is easier, if you follow the proper instructions. So whenever you’re up to engraving, recall what you learned from this article and apply it to make your engraving project eye-popping.