View Full Version : Color bleeding on V carves

06-09-2016, 04:05 PM
I have this problem frequently on signs that I do V carve lettering and graphics on. Mostly happens on the softer woods, pine, poplar but sometimes maple. I'm guessing it's the fibers getting torn and allowing the color to leach in, surely there is a way to fix it? I always spray shellac on prior to the paint to seal it but maybe I need to do more? More sanding just makes it worse most times. Any help is appreciated.


06-09-2016, 04:19 PM
Try using Marsh spay ink. It doesn't bleed and dries quickly. I get it from Amazon with Prime for less than $5 a can with shipping. Here's one I just finished:


This one is cedar which is quite soft. I spayed the ink on bare wood after machining and light sanding.

06-09-2016, 04:32 PM
"Marsh Stencil Paint" is the way to go. I've even seen a few put adhesive shelf paper on the board BEFORE carving so when its done, paint it and remove paper... NO sanding needed.

06-10-2016, 12:07 AM
I'll have to try the Marsh stuff. I usually just spray it with clear, paint the vee carve with brush on acrylics and respray with clear after sanding.

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09-24-2016, 09:55 AM
I have had some success with the Marsh inks but you can still get some issues in porous woods like OAK where the ink gets down into the pores. I think a combination of a stencil film applied prior to the carve and then using the ink is probably the only real cure for this problem.

09-24-2016, 10:13 AM
Ok I Put my 2 cents it too, I hand paint the letters with Helmsman Spar Urethane, just brush it in the v groove and cover the top of the lettering, then sand off the excess, Ido this on cypress and works fine.

09-24-2016, 10:20 AM
Looking for a Spray film I can buy locally came up with this interesting product... http://www.autozone.com/landing/page.jsp?name=3m-paint-defender-spray-film - It's a spray on film for automotive but possibly it would work for protecting not carved areas of a V-carve?

09-24-2016, 10:37 AM
For a v-carve where everything is carved below the surface of the board, spray two coats of clear, wax free shellac (sanding sealer) on the surface and carvings. When dry, spray or hand paint the lettering/carvings. Sand off the surface. The shellac will keep the paint from bleeding and is compatible with just about all finishes. If you use a lacquer based sanding sealer don't use urethane as a finish. Over time it will peel off.

09-24-2016, 03:51 PM
I just use a very thin coat of varnish.

09-25-2016, 10:19 AM
After carving and lettering I spray with a Poly twice letting it dry between coats. I paint the letters with acrylic and use LP air to blow out the excess. When dry sand flush. If I don't do the poly I get bleeding.

Latest project shipped doing the command board now.


09-25-2016, 04:03 PM
I looked up the Marsh Inks online and found a great series of YouTube videos that talk about this very subject. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wYX0nC0k6w I've never used inks before but I now plan to.

That said, in the past I have just used artist acrylic paints I get at a craft store. It comes in every color of the rainbow including some metallics and sparkle paint. It's water soluble so I don't have to worry about fumes and it's thick enough that I don't get bleeding. I just use a small artist paint brush to slop it in and sand off the excess. I will say that it is still best to use a coat or two of shellac on the board first though. Sharp bits will limit fuzzing of the wood grain and of course closed grain hardwood (like maple) will give sharper edges on your lettering. This last point is not useful if you are mass producing signs - too costly. But I have done fancy hardwood veneers on poplar and gotten a marvelous looking finished piece.