Forums/Tutorials/Laser Cutting Tutorials & Tips

A closer look at matte acrylic

Josh Reuss
posted this on August 20, 2011 15:12

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Matte Acrylic is one of my favorite acrylics to use when laser cutting so I'm very pleased that we're carrying it now for everyone to
incorporate into their projects. Here's a few simple examples to show a little more about the new material.

General Notes:

  • Matte acrylic has the matte only on the front, by default any etching you do will happen on the matte face. If for some reason you want
    to etch into the glossy please note it on the job under shipping notes.

  • The back and cut sides look the same as regular acrylic of the same color.

  • We currently only have 3mm thickness available in matte acrylic.

  • Because matte acrylic is some what more expensive compared to regular acrylic I suggest using it combined with plain acrylic on larger projects.
    For example if I was building an electronic enclosure I might use it for the face and sides but not the bottom and back where people wouldn't see it.

  • Just like plain white and black acrylic, matte black is opaque and white matte is translucent.

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The small sample necklace on the left is layered matte white and black acrylic. The one on the right is glossy
yellow acrylic with the matte black acrylic on top. I didn't run into any issues gluing onto the matte surface.
I like how layering the matte and glossy gives you a pop of color without showing too many fingerprints.

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 With a closer look we can see the reflective nature of the yellow acrylic compared to the matte surface of the black.

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A small chat bubble charm with a black matte border and a nested piece of white matte.

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I love metallic paint fill in the matte acrylics! It allows the fill to be reflective and eye catching instead of the shiny
plastic getting all the visual attention.

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Another example of paint filled matte black. The one on the right is unfilled and is how it would look with
heavy raster.

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On these I pulled the paper off before the paint had dried completely. Some smudged areas was the result.

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Some sample text on matte white filled with gold paint. Try using a paint pen, it allows you to better control the amount
your putting into the etch.

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Here's a sunburst clock I made for my kitchen using white matte acrylic and a gold metallic paint.
Few more pictures here. If I remember correctly I used gold spray paint that I sprayed into a disposable
cup and applied with a brush. If you can avoid having to tape off the edges go for it!

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Another thing to note is the protective paper doesn't stick as strongly on the matte side. That coupled
with the fact that the matte surface traps paint and doesn't clean up as easily as its glossier cousin
makes the material trickier to paint fill.

  • Use a paint pen for greater control on smaller projects.

  • Try to avoid touching your pen or brush on the middle of letters, the inner paper isn't held on by
    much and is likely to come off on your tip.

  • Usually a few coats is needed to be sure you didn't miss a spot, there isn't any going back once
    you pull the mask off.


Once you peel off the main layer of protective paper you'll be left with the smaller pieces that weren't connected
to anything. As I mentioned above matte acrylic smudges much easier than regular acrylic so you can't rub the
face with a cloth and always have it go so well.

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What works for me is to get some clear packing tape and press it firmly over the painted area. I find it helps to
run a fingernail over it to get it down completely.

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As you slowly peel the tape back you'll see small pieces of paper come up with it, you may have to
repeat this several times pulling the tape up from different directions before you get it all.

 

Don't forget you can order small samples of both matte acrylics from the Ponoko sample store.