Domino cleanup and restoration – Painting

Domino cleanup and restoration – Painting

We are now at the final step of the process.  For this step you will need the Acrylic paint of your color choice, cotton swabs, paper towels and window cleaner.  I also like to have a small pointy object handy like toothpick or tweezers for touch-ups.  A fine paintbrush will also work for this.  A plastic razor blade for scraping off excess paint will save you a great deal of time on this project.

Recommended Paints 

I prefer a gloss paint or a metallic gold/silver paint because it has a bit of a sheen when dry.  

If you have a non-gloss paint then you can accomplish the same effect with an acrylic varnish. If you are using a varnish, I prefer the kind you mix in with the paint rather than the kind you put on afterwards.  It simply saves a step. 

These paints can be found in the hobby isle of most box stores and fabric stores.


The painting is a lot easier than you may think.  You do not have to stay in the lines.  The closer you stay near the engraving, the easier cleanup will be. Try not to cover the whole domino with paint for easier cleanup.

For the engraved area, I rub the swab back and forth over the engraving to make sure the paint catches on the edges of every letter. This saves on touching up paint later. If you miss the edges of the engraving this will be noticeable when done and you will have to repeat the process.

Painting the fronts of the dominoes

For the fronts of the dominoes, I use a toothpick to dab paint into the areas. If you use a pointy object and dab the paint it will leave very little to cleanup.


This process can take a little practice so do not expect to get a perfect result the very first time. The good thing is that you can go right back to using the cotton swab with paint and try again. After a few dominoes, you will get the timing down.

The timing and technique:

The process that I use is to dampen a paper towel with window cleaner and wipe the surface of the domino.

Things that can happen

  1. The domino looks perfect – you did it!
  2. Paint came out of the engraved area – try lightening your pressure
  3. Paint smeared – either the paint was not dry enough before you started, or the paper towel is too wet. Let the paint and towel dry a bit and try again.

Here is what I do; adjust timing to your liking.  First I paint the dominoes with the swab.  Then I use a plastic razor blade to scrape off the excess.  You get something like what is on the right.  You are just moving the excess paint away from the engraving and you can also see if you missed any spots easily.

Then I let them set for 10-20 minutes.  When I am in a rush, I put them in front of a fan or heater to make the paint dry faster.  After they have sat for a while, I dampen a paper towel with window cleaner and do a wipe across the top.  No pressure, just getting the bulk of the paint off.  

The picture to the left is what I get when I have not waited long enough. Some of the paint from the engraving has smeared between the letters. If you take out too much paint, add some more and wait longer, otherwise just give it another 5-10 minutes and wipe again.

Ideally, you wipe and paint stays in the engraving and the rest of the domino is clean. This is perfect and you are done with that domino!

Let dry overnight before sealing domino in any container or stacking them.  At the shop here we stack the open rack/boxes overnight so that by morning all dominoes are completely dry.  


You can wait until the paint is completely dry – either before or after scraping with a razor blade.  The only difference is that it will take more wiping with the window cleaner to get the paint off.  

Quite a transformation.

Domino transformation
Domino Transformation is Possible

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