If you are a DIY enthusiast, chances are you have thought about laser engraving. Laser engraving is an awesome way of starting a profitable home-based business. And the best part is you don’t have to break the bank to make it happen. Traditionally, laser engravers went for thousands of dollars but it is now possible to get affordable laser engravers for as little as $300.
What can you do with a laser engraver?
You can engrave a wide range of products including spice glass jars, wooden key holders, plant labels, wooden rolling pins, coasters, woodcut puzzles, wine corks, beer caps, phone cases, logos, necktie holders, wall art, light shades, picture frames, raster photos into a cardboard, signs, baby décor, and more.
A quick overview of laser engraving
Simply put, laser engraving is the art of creating custom designs, text, or logos on a product using a laser machine. Compared to the traditional forms of engraving such as mechanical engraving and carving, laser engraving is fast, precise, and effective.
The laser beam emitted by the machine focuses on a tiny area on your object referred to as the focal point. Eventually, the light energy will physically remove material from the targeted area thereby uncovering a cavity that showcases an image seen by the eye. It is a quick process that delivers breathtaking results. Laser engraving compares with laser marking and etching but it differs in the fact that it guarantees deeper cuts and that it is primarily used for customization and personalization.
To laser engrave an object, you’ll begin by feeding the design, photo, text, numbers, logo, etc. on a design software (such as Photoshop, CorelDraw, InkScape, Illustrator, and Autocad). Next, feed the graphic to the laser machine via the printer driver. Finally, check to ensure you have placed your laser engraving material in position and push the start button on your laser machine to engrave your preferred material. Ideally, the laser is set according to a number of factors such as the material used and the desired depth of the engravings. The more you experiment with your laser, the better you will hone your skills.
Things you can do with a laser engraver
You can create a wide variety of customized products both for individual and commercial use. Here is a conservative list of the top 10 things you can do with your laser engraver.
1. Engrave logos
For decades now, companies have printed logos on a number of materials using laser engravers. You can set up a home-based business and offer logo engraving services for startups and SMEs. From branding beer bottles for brewers to engraving menus and utensils for restaurants, there are endless possibilities.
When engraving a logo, small and fine details guarantee precise and clear engravings. Go for a good resolution artwork. Any image with a resolution of 300 DPI – 600DPI will deliver a good result. The process is quite straightforward: – design your logo, load it to a computer, send it to the laser, set up your item, and run your laser.
2. Engrave signage
A laser engraved sign is a unique branding strategy that can make a brand pop. Signs are used for various purposes including directing people to the different sections of a company, welcoming invitations, warning people of imminent danger, etc. A laser engraver gives you options ranging from engraving individual letters and flat panels to backlit designs. You can create amazing signs on an array of materials including acrylic, wood, metal, and more.
3. Engrave spice jars
Storing your spices in spice jars will help to keep everything organized and neat. But one can easily get things mixed up by using the wrong spices unknowingly and end up ruining a good meal. That is why labeling the spice jars is important – and what better way to label your jars than with a laser engraver? laser-engraved spice jars look sleek, elegant, and inviting making them great additions to any kitchen. Laser etching on glass produces a frosting, sophisticated effect on the labels. A simple design will best highlight the name of the spice. For more information on working with glass, take a look at this article.
4. Engrave photos
Photo laser engraving is a popular technique for creating stunning works of art. It is a great idea to explore to store memories or works of art for generations to come. Laser engraved photos will make for great wall hangings that will add to the aesthetics of your room. For best results, get a high-resolution photo and use a photo editing software to remove the background or any other unwanted parts. Here is a detailed guide on how to engrave photos with a laser engraver
5. Engrave coasters
All it takes to ruin pristine furniture is an ugly stain from a beverage. Thankfully, this can easily be avoided by using coasters. In addition to protecting furniture from damage and staining, coasters are also great for interior decor. Coasters can also be a great branding tool for restaurants, bars, and other food establishments and this is the greatest opportunity for making laser engraved coasters.
You can engrave the logo of your clients on their coasters and you can experiment with different materials, shapes, and sizes to make them pop. For example, instead of making rectangular or round-shaped coasters, how about those shaped like a bee, lavender flower, or brain?
There are lots of materials that you can use to make stunning coasters. These include sandstone, onyx, glass, travertine, slate, granite, marble, and stainless steel. The choice of the material will depend on the unique needs of your client.
For instance, if you are looking for coaster material that is durable, and has great scratch and stain resistance, sandstone is your best bet. However, if you need a coaster that can withstand high temperature and pressure, you are better off with Marble. Wood can be awesome for coffee and tea coasters.
6. Engrave wine glasses
There is a huge demand for customized wine glasses in the hospitality industry. You can approach a local hotel to engrave all their wineglass with a custom logo or slogan. But apart from businesses, you can also laser engrave wine glasses for individuals. For instance, you can create a solution for couples who want custom made wine glasses for their wedding reception.
Glass is a delicate material to work with. If you don’t take the necessary precautions, it can easily break or fracture during the laser engraving process. Here’s a great resource to help you know how to produce beautiful glass engravings without damaging it.
RELATED: Best laser engraver for glassware
7. Engrave artwork
There is a whole world of opportunity for making amazing laser engraved artwork today. When optimizing your artwork for laser engraving, the trick is to choose a high-quality art that is simple and bold. The one with a few tones and colors will do. Change it to black and white using your favorite editing software. Proceed to add some contrasting Levels and Curves adjustments. Finally, start your laser, testing different power settings and speeds until you arrive at the right settings. If you are looking for inspirations for laser engraved art, here are a few:
- A botanical paper art
- Typography art
- Illuminated shadowbox art
- Sleeping dog art
- Wood wall art
- World map mirror art
- Portrait art
Related: Best laser engraver for woodwork
8. Engrave wedding décor
Everyone wants their wedding decor to be unique – and there is no better way to make it unique than using laser engraved items. We have already seen that wine glasses can be customized to have the bride’s and groom’s names but there are lots of other possibilities. For instance, you can make wooden invitation cards and also make customized table numbers. Other ideas include a laser engraved wedding book cover, invitation envelopes, signage, place cards, and even bridal shoes.
9. Engrave wall clocks
Besides art and pictures, a wall clock offers the best use of space. It is a functional and timeless fashionable piece. A wall clock can make your room elegant especially if it is a unique one – and that is where laser engraving comes in. If you head over to Etsy, you will see lots of ideas of laser engraved clocks. You can use that as an inspiration to get you started.
10. Engrave jewelry
A laser is also capable of engraving on various materials to create breathtaking jewelry pieces. Whether you are a fan of a wooden geometrical set of earrings, a chevron necklace, or a giant acrylic chain, a laser has got you covered. There are a ton of shapes, material selections, painting, and ideas you can experiment with when making laser-cut jewelry. You can go minimalistic by making a wooden, triangular-shaped chain or push the button and make a 3D bracelet using different materials. This can feature varied flamboyant colors and geometrical shapes that can be expertly and displayed on the hand. Unlike hand-crafted jewelry, a laser machine gives you the freedom to create custom engraved parts and unique shapes. This is a huge deal because it sets you apart from your competitors.