Thanks guys and enjoy.
I did a couple of coats of lacquer and let them dry on the plaque, then applied a generous layer of the minwax paste wax. I hardly let it dry before laying over the Avery paint mask (sorry don't remember the product number, but it's pretty tacky).
I did the carving, then made sure the paint mask was pushed down and trimmed where it came loose, which wasn't much, then spray painted, let it dry overnight, then removed the paint mask.
Since there was some wax and I had a couple of areas that the mask still was loose or gone, the paint on the plaques finish scraped right off cleanly. I just did a quick buff of the left over wax to give it a satin finish.