To mask or not to mask-that is the question. By considering the advantages and disadvantages of the different products available, you’ll be able to answer the question and determine which mask is right for your next laser project:
Paper mask: This paper product, which contains a light adhesive, is known as premask or transfer tape. When color-filling or paint-filling, it can handle a fair amount of paint without the risk of paint seeping through.
It can be difficult to engrave tiny letters; occasionally, you should laser engrave over the item for a second pass. Make sure you test before using transfer tape and attempting to laser engrave small graphics.
Vinyl mask: The biggest advantage of a vinyl mask is that it applies easily and has an aggressive adhesive, allowing for it to be used as a sandcarving mask. This can also be its biggest disadvantage when removing the mask. If you are not color- or paint-filling the item, simply soak the item in warm water for a few minutes to help release the adhesive.
Dish soap: One real advantage of using dish soap is that you just rinse off the product with warm water to clean after laser engraving.
LiquaMask: This laser-safe product creates a durable mask on wood, plastic, acrylic, glass, marble, leather, painted metal and other materials. By rolling or brushing this liquid mask, you can even protect non-coated products.
-Richard Korbyl, Columbia Awards