white text on dark paint via etching?

Frequent question about finishing your stompbox: painting, etching, clearcoating, lettering, etc...

white text on dark paint via etching?

Postby bruin2k3 » 13 Mar 2013, 20:55

Has anyone tried using a variant of etching in order to achieve white paint on dark paint? My idea is to etch a peddal such that the recessed areas would be where you want your text. You would etch it, the paint it the background color. Then spray a layer of white paint over the dark color. The white should theoretically get into the etched areas. You could then sand off the raised areas that have white on it to expose the black paint below. Have any of you tried that technique? Does that work?

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Re: white text on dark paint via etching?

Postby davent » 14 Mar 2013, 02:14

Haven't tried this but I think you'd really have to finesse your sanding to sand the white off and not also burn through you dark to the bare aluminum. How complex/detailed is your etch, i would think it'd be easier to paint it all dark first then hand paint the recessed etch with a very fine brush and your white paint. If you do get a bit of white paint on the higher dark area you should be able to wipe it off before it dries and not affect the white in the recess.

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Re: white text on dark paint via etching?

Postby BuryMeInSmoke » 26 Aug 2013, 01:48

It would be too hard to sand, remember that the layer of paint is only microns thick.

I haven't had a chance to try anything yet but I've been thinking about using a technique used to make metal badges, similar to the ones on this site - http://www.precision-badges.ie/ (no affiliation, just the first google result).

There's two ways they're done. With either method you'd etch your enclosure, sand, then paint the colour you want in the raised areas.

Then either:

Use an enamel powder or paste to fill each recessed area in the colour needed. This needs to be baked to get the enamel to liquefy, flow out then cure.


Inject (literally, with a syringe and needle) ink into each recessed area. This would need to be a 2K/2 pot ink/paint - the layer would be too thick for a solvent paint to cure. You'd probably need to bake this also. A lot of experimentation needed here, getting the viscosity of the ink correct, correct needle size. Also as it's catalyst ink you'll need to work quickly to avoid the ink curing in the needle.

Unfortunately that's pretty much all I know at this point. I have no idea on the temperatures needed for baking enamel, materials cost etc, but may be a good starting point for if someone wants to look into it further. I'd imagine you'd need a pretty deep etch. It's a bit of a 'dying art' now so finding info and materials may be a little hard.
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