Engraving 101 – Can I Engrave “This”?

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Kitchener Waterloo Engraving – Wood, Acrylic, Plastic, Glass, Crystal, Metal, Leather and more!

You’d be surprised at the number of times a week we get asked this question, but it gets asked WAY more often at Christmas and wedding season.  We’re happy to say “yes – it’s very likely” but it does depend on the material and size.  Here’s a brief intro to “Can you engrave that?” you will be pleased to know that the answer is usually “Yes”! Here’s a list of materials we can engrave with our laser.

Acrylic & Plastic are super easy to engrave, provided we’re making custom signs, plates, name tags, or engraving a trophy or award.  The trick is, if you’ve got something entirely made out of plastic (ie. a child’s favourite toy, or a full plastic water bottle) that type of product can’t be engraved because the plastic will melt.  Think of a hot knife through butter, that’s what will happen to certain plastics if we’re not careful.

Wood happens to be one of our favourite materials to work with, we’ve engraved canoe paddles, cheese boards, jewellery boxes, photo frames, clocks, coat hangers, speakers, coffee tables, and even 8-foot doors.  The grain, knots, and hardness of the wood changes the finished result every time, so we’re never quite sure what the end result is going to be until we actually run it.  See our Engraved Wood page for a few examples!

Glass and Crystal engraving is beautiful, which is why it’s used so often at wedding season, and used to create unique corporate awards, sports trophies and personalize keepsakes for rewards and recognition. Be sure to checkout our website for glass and crystal awards.  As far as glassware goes, we carry the full line of Reidel, Libbey and Anchor Hocking and can offer a wide range of glass options that will suit your budget.  For options, please see our Glassware page.

Metal is another material we work with often, but it is the trickiest material to work with because lasers don’t cut metal, the beam bounces right off of it.  So, with engraving in general, if you think of an onion, what we’re doing is peeling layers of existing material and with raw metal there’s nothing to peel.  If we’re working with a coloured water bottle we can peel the paint off, but if something like a stainless steel thermal mug we have to use a special coating which literally doubles or triples the cost of engraving.  Our favourite type of metal to engrave is called anodized aluminum, like on your cell phone or laptop.  Checkout our Instagram account for some electronics we’ve engraved.

We can also engrave:

  • Leather – guitar straps, wallets, purses, belts, journals, daytimers, baseball gloves, baseball, footballs, motorcycle seats, to name a few.
  • Paper – which makes for unique wedding invitations, gift cards, or stunning works of art. Our biggest trick, is ensuring the paper doesn’t catch on fire!
  • Film & Foils – which can create beautiful finishes that layer on top of something like a glass wall, photo album cover, phone screens, or window coverings.
  • Stone – we can engrave stone as long as it’s human-made, not something that’s made by mother nature because that type of stone is WAY too hard. If you’ve got a natural stone, the best process for it would be a water jet, or sand blasting.
  • Clothing, Fabrics & Textiles – yes, you can laser engraved these too, but we’re likely to try ans steer you away from it, because we’re really damaging the fabric (making it weaker) in the process. So, let us show you about some embroidery and screen printing options.

With our new high-tech lasers, there isn’t much (product wise) we can’t engrave on, and there’s virtually no limits to the information or vector graphics that we can engrave onto those products.  Everyone thinks of names and dates for engraving, but how about something special  …a poem, your favourite music lyric, a cool design, a funny gesture, or anything that has special meaning to you.

If you haven’t noticed, our tagline is “Artals – What don’t we do?”, so if you’ve got something that you think could be engraved, just ask us and we’ll be happy to help.  If you’d like us to supply you with what you’re thinking, we can do that to.  And, if by chance engraving isn’t the best option, we’re happy to provide you with options that might work better.