How to Paint Acrylic Tokens for Board Games

We’ve all seen some of the absolutely gorgeous acrylic tokens out in the wild. Recently I had a small batch of my own made, and here’s how to paint those acrylic tokens, quickly and easily. If you want to skip the work, I’ve got them up for sale in my Etsy shop.

Get Some Tokens

Laser-etched Acrylic Token

First things first, you need some engraved acrylic tokens. For this batch, I worked with Ponoko, but I’m on my way to picking up a Glowforge so I can do this all at home. I covered how I designed some tokens in this previous post.

The Prep Work

Laser-etched Acrylic Token Without Protective Paper

With your tokens in hand, just peel off the protective paper backing. All you need is your fingernails for this bit, but a pair of tweezers might come in handy. I’ll have some links at the end of the article to the supplies I used.

Painting the Acrylic Tokens

How to Paint Acrylic Tokens

Now that you’ve got your tokens all naked, it’s time to apply some paint. I use Citadel paints that I had available, but I’m sure normal acrylic paints will work. Mix up some acrylic paint to your desired color, add some water so it’s not too thick, and just sort of lather it on the engraved areas. Try to avoid the edge of the token, because most of this paint is going to get removed.

Wiping up the Mess

Painted Acrylic Token

Give it a few seconds to dry and then wipe it off with a paper towel. My method of choice is to put the token face down on the paper towel and spin it a bit. I repeat this 3-4 times until the paper towel doesn’t have any more residue on it. Take a quick look afterwards and clean any leftover paint off. For the last wipe I usually just use my fingers.

All Done!

Just like most of my projects, it isn’t actually that hard to paint acrylic tokens at home. They don’t even need to be hand-made. This process, called fill painting, can be used to re-color existing tokens, or even dice!

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