I recently introduced my new line of laser cut wood for jewelry designs.  The wood is so much fun to customize with different colors and coloring agents. The sky is the limit!

But as laser cut wood is still new to many jewelry designers, this blog post will show you the many ways to prepare, treat and protect the wood.  Laser cut wood findings are usually unfinished.  Bare wood will soon get grubby with dirt and skin oils.

Sanding the wood is good preparation prior to painting. he sanding, either with sandpaper or a sanding block, smooths the surface. I did not see the need to add a primer.

You can either use the sandpaper to sand as above or hold the wood piece and rub over some sandpaper (400-600 grit).

Another reason to sand is to remove the scorch marks from the laser cutting process. The back of the pieces tend to scorch more as these are in contact with the metal grid surface of the laser cutter's bed.
Left : sanded  Right : unsanded
But many people like the scorch marks to remain as a design element. So if you do, just seal the pieces with varnish.

I used a free owl image to test out laser engraving on wood, varying the power and speed of the laser.  As you can see, the scorching increases with more powerful and deeper cuts. It is a matter of personal preference which one likes. But I personally would be inclined to just seal them all as is and not sand or paint them. Painting does mute the look of the engravings.


You can seal laser cut wood on their own or after you paint or stain them.

There are a variety of varnishes you can use which can be sprayed or painted on.  You also have the choice of matte, satin or glossy. Pick your favorite.  Below are my favorites to use - not just for wood but all kinds of jewelry crafts.

If you are going with a spray varnish like Krylon's Kamar Varnish, make sure to use it in a well ventilated spot!

See this helpful post by The Graphics Fairy on TOP COATS AND SEALERS FOR CRAFTS – A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE!

Want to go all natural?  I recommend Saman's Wood Polish Beeswax and Conditioner. But there are others too out there like  Daddy Van's All Natural Unscented Beeswax Furniture Polish Chemical-Free Non-Toxic Wood Wax Preservative, Conditioner and Protectant.  Or raid your kitchen pantry for olive oil.  Rub a little in.  I find that applying such protectants over wood and painted wood gives the pieces a satin finish.

A cautionary note - some sealers like the beeswax one above impart a yellowish hue which is obvious on white painted wood like my daisy wood pendant below.  Best to use a spray sealer like the ModPodge Ultra.


Without a doubt, the one stellar reason to use wood in jewelry designs is the organic nature of the material. Staining laser cut wood not only adds more color but also serves as protection.

I applied wood stain with a piece of cloth. Wearing gloves is recommended as it gets pretty messy.  You can use any wood stain - you might even have some leftover at home.  I particularly liked the Varathane wood stains in tube form for convenience.  1-2 applications depending on how deep you want the color to be.

I've also used water based stains.  Following directions, I used a sponge brush to lightly spread a little (less is better) stain on the wood.  Reapply after drying if you want to deepen the color. My favorite is Saman's water based stain in walnut.

I like using a dry sponge brush or a rag or a paper towel to remove some of the stain which shows off the wood grain.

Real Pressed Flower Resin Jewelry


I tested out a variety of coloring agents. I did not care for using marker pens because the color bleeds on unfinished wood. First seal the wood if you are trying to draw a design on the wood with marker pens.

The other reason why I don't like marker pen colored wood is the messy result when you use spray varnishes on them. The solvent in the spray spreads the pigments. Tip : do all painting and sealing on waxed paper.  The colors will not soak through to your painting surfaces.

I got different effects with acrylic ink,  ordinary craft acrylic paint and even a water based wood stain. I added 1 -2 drops of acrylic paint into a small amount - about 1 mL -  of the stain base.

As you can see below, the results can vary from a "washed" look to a complete coverage.  My personal preference is for the acrylic paint.

For the washed look, try diluting acrylic paint to water in a 2 : 1 ratio. Brush on and then quickly wipe with a rag if you wish to get a washed look.

Shown below is a washed look comparison between a water based stain use (round wood) and a 2:1 diluted acrylic paint application. As you can, there is not much difference between the two. So if you would rather not buy water based stains, use acrylic paint. 

Bear in mind that diluting the paint will make it lighter.  A deep red acrylic paint became a much lighter hue when I diluted it for this pair of earrings.  (see my listing for laser cut maple leaves here).

Shown below is a comparison with stains and paint. All are water based stains except the green which is a diluted mix of 2 different green acrylic paints and the original unfinished wood. 

I also tried alcohol inks which reacted the same way as marker pens. I think alcohol inks are best saved for other applications!

Metallic paints are lovely to use.  I recommend the Sargent brand - great coverage.

There are other brands. I like the Craftsmart (Michaels) gunmetal one as used below :

I had trouble with the Craftsmart gold glitter paint - I couldn't quite stir the paint properly. So what I got was a lightish gold "wash" with sparkles. I didn't sweat this problem. I simply used it as the overcoat for other painted designs below. If YOUR bottle works, and you want a wash effect, try diluting the paint.

One easy way to create fun designs is by masking with painter's tape.

I don't like to use too many jump rings in earring designs as they make the earrings longer than I like. One option is to make your own ear wires and ensure the loop is big enough to attach the laser cut wood.

I used Starbond cyanoacrylate glue which I received for review some time ago to attach the stud earrings. Get 15% off with this code : BGSB15.  These glues are especially formulated for crafts and lapidary work and I like them very much.  It is a less brittle form of the common superglue. I do NOT recommend E6000 glue for studs at all because it will fail. Starbond glue is very strong and very durable.  This is the Medium which is an all purpose glue.  You can also purchase it from Amazon

Matches my new top!


Check out my Halloween painting tutorial to find out how to get that "tombstone" effect.


Here is how I hang up wood cuts with holes to dry!  I use wooden skewers or a length of thick wire. If the wood pieces cannot be hung up, I lay them on waxed paper to prevent them from sticking to surfaces.

Want the engraved portions of some designs to be darker?  Use a fine point gel pen.  Best to stain or seal the wood before you add any color. This reduces color bleed.

Even better, use extra fine point oil based marker pens like this one. Use a light touch so you do not over do it!

Before You Go:

This blog may contain affiliate links. I do receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links. This goes towards the support of this blog and to provide resource information to readers. The opinions expressed are solely my own. They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation.
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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