How to Do Paint Fill

Paint fill is a fantastic and simple way to add colour and detail to any etched laser cut pieces! Our demonstration below is for paint filling a pattern, but you could use this technique with any design – like a detailed multi-colour face or flower!

What You’ll Need:

  • Laser etched acrylic charms with tape on (not matte finish*)
  • Acrylic paint pen/s (more information in Step 1)
  • A piece of scrap paper
  • Baby wipes
  • Tweezers
Sample

Step 1: Get Familiar With your Paint Pens

You can use any type of acrylic paint for paint fill. We use Uni POSCA pens, but Ironlak is another common brand (they’re typically better quality and have a larger colour range). Any type of acrylic paint pen will do generally the same thing; however, cheap acrylic paint/pens will have a low pigment quality, which means you may have to do multiple coats to get an opaque finish. Most sizes will be suitable – we commonly use the 0.7mm and 0.9mm-1.3mm.

Sample

Step 2: Get Your Paint Pen/s Flowing

Un-cap your pen and ‘start’ it by shaking the pen and pressing the nib in and out onto a piece of paper. The ink should flow smoothly from the nib when it makes contact with the paper.

Sample

Step 3: Colour in Your Etched Areas

Use your paint pen to colour in the etched areas. You can colour it all in the same, or colour in different areas with different colours. If using different colours, work from light to dark to minimise damaging your paint pens, and leave some time in-between colours for the paint to touch dry. It’s OK if you ‘go outside the lines’ because paint fill will only work on the etched areas. The etched areas have a rough surface that the paint will stick too. Any paint that bleeds out onto the un-etched areas can be wiped away later as it does not stick to the smooth finish of the acrylic.

Sample

Step 4: Wait for the Paint to Dry the Peel

Leave your pieces to dry completely – at least a couple of hours. The paint will look different when it’s dry (less glossy). When dry, use tweezers to pick up the edges of the protective tape, and reveal your new paint fill!

Sample

Step 5: Tidy if Needed

If any paint has gone outside of the etched areas, use a baby wipe to gently wipe off the unwanted paint. The paint will adhere really well to the etch areas and should come off the high gloss finish with ease. You do not need to add any varnish or finish to your pieces – acrylic paint is technically plastic and waterproof once dry.

Sample

Step 6: Keep Creating!

Try other colour combinations and shapes! Combine this tutorial with our other tutorials. Maybe you want to go a step further and link your shapes to something else, or glue them up to be brooches. Keep creating past the basic guide to make even more unique pieces!

Final Tips:

  • *Paint fill does not work on matt finish acrylics, like Sweet Pastels or Matte Black or Matte White. The protective tape utilised for paint fill techniques does not stick down enough to the matte surface, and the paint sticks to the matte finish as well as the etched areas.
  • Check out our page of Designers and Resources for links to components to finish your new pieces (like tassels, chains, etc).