I want to make a general guide for masking the missing toner on copper clad after toner transfer.

The masking methods I know so far:

  • Permanent marker (some say it doesn't work, I am intimidated by it so I'll use extra cover)
  • Nail polish (very reliable)
  • Paint (I don't know which type, I would like to learn)

My story: I am using the acetone method to transfer toner (iron didn't work) and I have a small part of missing toner. The permanent marker pen sometimes removes the toner accidentally when it is rubbed and it is frustrating. I am planning to buy nail polish but I wanted to ask before doing so.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ People still try to etch their own boards? You should check how ridiculously inexpensive it is to have professional grade prototype boards made.. You'll be surprised. And you don't have to deal with disposal of extremely toxic chemicals (I'm sure YOU'RE NOT JUST POURING THEM DOWN THE DRAIN) \$\endgroup\$
    – Kyle B
    Sep 1, 2022 at 0:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is expensive to ship pcb actually if you need only one. Also I am not entirely sure if my circuit is going to work so I don't want to risk it, prototyping you know. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1, 2022 at 0:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ We use to use iron on using thin paper to prevent burning or set the temperature right and photo artwork for best results from a lithography shop for same day boards. Laser printer on some polyfilms tolerate the heat also works well.for UV etch \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1, 2022 at 1:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ As with any industrial process: the devil is in the details. Having a process documented in detail is worth a lot. Mr Carlson's Lab has a good, much used process: this video first, then this video second. If you follow the procedure and materials, you'll get excellent results. I've tried and it was largely foolproof. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1, 2022 at 2:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CaveScientist Shipping is free at OSH Park \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Sep 1, 2022 at 3:48

1 Answer 1


I have had great success with sharpie brand permanent markers. I’ve never seen them remove toner but I usually do an iron transfer and not acetone.

I have not used any other brands of marker and couldn’t speak to their effectiveness.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The transfer method is not crucial I guess, thx for advise. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1, 2022 at 0:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sharpie is the best for low reflection and low transmission of light \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1, 2022 at 1:17

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