How to Engrave Wood: A Complete Guide on Engraving Wood

Woodworking is among the most popular pastimes, including wood engraving and cutting. Wooden surfaces with intricate burn marks and etched letters are visually pleasing. With the use of laser engraving technology, engraving is now easier, better, and faster than before.

Because of affordable engravers and portable tools, engraving wood has become a popular hobby for many DIYers.

To get the desired effect, engraving on wood involves carefully trimming off and grooving the surface. With the right tools, the possibilities for design are almost limitless.

On this page, you will discover how to engrave wood, some of the best wood tools for engraving wood, and other relevant information you might need. So keep scrolling!

Why Use a Laser Engraving Machine When Wood Engraving

Variety of wood and engraved wood

The perfect engraving can be achieved on wood with a laser engraver. Wood can absorb the strong laser beams that are released by laser equipment.

Because you achieve excellent accuracy and precision, it is a highly recommended alternative for customized engraving on wood.

It just means that the engraving on wood will be made according to your exact specifications and that all engravings using the same design will be the same (which is awesome!)

Complex, intricate patterns that were long thought impractical are swiftly and effectively engraved. What could have taken weeks to engrave is now possible in hours!

A lot of materials with different degrees of thickness can be engraved using laser technology.

Patterns can be engraved with lasers in places that are challenging to access if you are going to use other methods.

If you’ve never operated a laser engraver, BEWARE because it offers a variety of options you may not have thought about.

Ordinary objects can be converted into art pieces since the technology easily handles complex patterns.

5 Ways How to Engrave Wood

There are multiple ways to engrave wood. Depending on the available equipment, you may choose the best engraving technique for your method.

The procedure is described in more detail in the following parts. Read on!

Method 1. Wood Engraving Using Laser Technology

Laser engraving technology has evolved into a common and well-liked technique after years of rapid development.

Although it was initially utilized in industrial production, factories can today provide desktop engravers to DIY enthusiasts at incredibly low prices because of the ever-evolving technology.

You might be able to find high-quality laser engraving equipment for between $100 and $500 if you do some research.

Investing in one high-quality laser machine for your hobbies won’t break the bank and would be easily repaid, given all the work you could complete.

The acronym LASER stands for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.”

High brightness, directivity, monochromaticity, and coherence are the four primary qualities of a laser.

The gadget uses a laser to focus all power into a small area, creating a tremendous quantity of heat that burns or vaporizes the wood’s surface.

The laser engravers have several power levels to achieve engraving of various depths, and the engraving files contain specific instructions on which location and how to process each pixel.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Wood Engraving

  • Compared to other engraving techniques, it offers more information. Because laser engraving has a precision of about 0.1mm, it is preferable if you intend to engrave with intricate patterns or images with high demand for fine details.

  • Compared to engraving by hand, it is simpler to use. Once you’ve set up the cutting machine and figured out all the parameters, laser engraving is a click-to-play operation that doesn’t require a lot of practice or expertise.

  • Compared to other methods, it offers greater creative opportunities. The laser engraving machines’ high power and high precision settings enable them to engrave wood with more pictures and patterns on various items than could be achievable using a CNC router and hands.

  • Aside from wood, most laser engraving machines can also do laser cutting, which is effective on various materials.

  • Laser engravers, however, are only effective for 2D drawings. Even though a laser engraver is occasionally referred to as a 3D laser printer, it is better at creating flat 2D drawings than carved 3D ones.

Method 2. Using a CNC Wood Router to Engrave Wood

Any skilled woodworker or carpenter must have a handheld router in their toolkit. It is definitely a must!

They are frequently used to make intricate burn marks in different objects, such as wood pieces, plasterboard, and sheet metal, or to cut away edges, dadoes, and rabbets.

Handheld routers have the drawback of taking a long time to learn how to use and being challenging to master.

Even seasoned and talented carpenters are susceptible to errors that can be expensive.

For this reason, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) was added to this equipment to increase its adaptability and productivity.

The spindle travels only at the precise speed and distance indicated by the G-code files created in advance. (G-code is the common programming language used by all CNC routers.) Speed also plays an important role in avoiding burn marks.

It enables the machine to swiftly and correctly carve some highly intriguing and delicate grooves, far more so than a machine handled by a human.

Advantages and Disadvantages of CNC Router Machines

  • It falls in between handmade and laser engraving in terms of engraving details.

  • A CNC router is also an incredibly inexpensive tool to have for an engraving project.

  • Moreover, it’s really simple to use, and developing abilities only takes a short time.

  • A CNC router could be used to finish 3D designs that laser engravers cannot, even though a laser engraver offers more detail.

Method 3. Engraving Wood By Hand

Many people may enjoy hand engraving wood, but there aren’t many fast cuts to becoming a skilled carpenter or woodworker.

The only way to handle the skill is via more practice and experience, even though there are numerous tools to make the process easier.

Also, you may acquire expert guidance from numerous websites and locations.

DIY projects that engrave wood by hand have advantages. Deep groves are available whenever you require them and won’t use noisy machines!

The tools you use will be sturdy and have no moving parts. You will be able to input a high level of precision if necessary.

Naturally, since the entire process is manual, most of the time, there will be minor flaws in the final result.

It will rely on the craftsperson’s talents and how much of it is visible. Therefore, if you’re learning to engrave wood by hand, we suggest you start engraving with a simple pattern.

Method 4. Engrave Wood With Dremel

A common instrument for a wood engraving project is the Dremel. It is affordable, simple to use, and yields top-notch outcomes.

First of all, choose a Dremel tip that suits your design. Almost every sort of wood may be worked with using this spinning tool.

Before engraving, use a sponge and clean the surface if you see any dust or debris. The next step is to draw the pattern you wish to engrave on the blank wood.

To create the outline, use a pencil or a temporary marker. Be as precise as possible, and only start engraving once you are happy with the design.

A collection of stencils is included with several Dremel machines. However, they might not have the pattern you desire to engrave.

The Dremel tool has various bits you can switch out and apply to particular jobs. You should be aware of both the angle and the amount of pressure to apply.

Don’t worry! These things will come with time and practice. After the final engraving, take out the chips and sand the surface. Your project has now been engraved!

Method 5. Engrave Wood With Cricut Maker

Engraved wood using cricut maker

The Cricut Maker is simple to use. With its engraving tip, you can engrave wood with text and pictures on diverse materials.

Using the Cricut Maker, the design you wish to engrave on wood must first be drawn or downloaded on the Cricut Design Space.

It is advised that you download the design in an SVG file into the canvas if it is complex. After that, draw a canvas outline of the wooden material on the Cricut Design Space.

On the Cricut Maker, try to maintain accurate dimensions. Drag the design inside the outline, adjusting the material size as necessary.

Change the operations to “Engrave” in the drop-down menu by clicking on the design. Click the “Make It” button after centering the design and outline on the canvas.

Place the wooden component in the center of the StrongGrip mat. Use the grid lines if you’re having trouble locating the central spot. 

Tape the edges of the material to the StrongGrip mat using painter’s tape. Press the button to start engraving when you’re ready.

The Cricut machine process could take a few minutes, depending on the design.


Resin content selection is important if you want a darker burn. Choose wood with a high resin content, such as cherry or alder. Choose wood with a low resin content if you want to burn it quickly for a particular application.

What Are Essential Engraving Tools to Use When Engraving Wood?

Five different types of machines and tools are available for engraving on wood. Not all of them would be necessary; therefore, choose the best candidate for the position.

The five categories of best wood tools are:

1. Chisels and Gouges

The most basic instrument for engraving wood is a chisel. Craftspeople have used them for millennia.

They are made of a long blade with a beveled cutting edge and a sharp point for carving out the bits of wood.

The chisel has a flat blade, but a gouge has a concave blade and is a portable instrument. There are several sizes and kinds of chisels and gouges.

For instance, the chisel’s connection between the hardwood handle and the blade can be either a tang or a socket.

Chisels with sockets are used for heavy-duty projects, while those with tangs are intended for delicate tasks.

Knives, mallets, and hammers are other traditional wood engraving instruments.

The proper type of wood must be used to achieve the greatest outcomes. Learn which wood is best to use for your project here.

2. Rotary Tools

Rotary tool used on wood

Rotary tools have these motors and an engraving tip that spins quickly.

Various attachments for operations, including grinding, sanding, polishing, cutting, and engraving, are also available for these machines.

The best rotary tool for engraving wood is a Dremel. These work well on wood, wood veneer, and other surfaces and are compact, lightweight, and simple.

Dremel has a top speed of 35,000 RPM, making engraving go faster. It helps a lot in avoiding burn marks. Other companies besides Dremel also produce rotary tools.

Although their capabilities vary, their fundamental operation is fairly the same.

Always on the go? Portable laser engravers are definitely for you. Check them out here.

3. Laser Engravers

The most sophisticated wood engraving equipment is a laser engraving machine or laser engraver. These had only been used for industrial purposes before.

But now that inexpensive engravers are readily available, you may use these tools to etch wood at home.

These machines use high-energy laser beams to chisel the surface and leave burn marks. The speed of using laser equipment has the edge over other techniques.

The entire procedure is computer controlled; you set the design on the machine, and the laser beams handle the rest of the work.

Within a few minutes, you can have the design engraved. However, laser equipment is more expensive than handheld instruments and doesn’t come cheap.

The proper software is crucial for maximizing a laser engraver’s productivity. The best laser engraving software is posted here.

4. CNC Routers

Like engravers, CNC routers deliver higher results when used on wooden surfaces. These devices carve the design pattern using spindles and motors.

Moreover, the routers have more control over the engraving process and can produce 3D designs.

CNC routers operate by the subtractive manufacturing process, which entails removing the components from a sizable hardwood log.

These are impossible to accomplish using a Dremel tool or a laser engraver.

Hobbyists now have access to affordable CNC routers. Get one of these if you want to etch 3D designs on wood.

On a budget? You can find the most affordable laser engravers here.

5. Cricut Maker

White circut maker

Many think of the Cricut Maker as an engraving tool that can cut mixed materials, notably craft supplies. However, the Cricut Maker can also engrave varied materials.

The Cricut Maker has an engraving tip that allows for inscribing.

Materials, including acrylic, leather, wood veneer, plastic, and softwood, are suitable for an engraving project with the Cricut Maker.

Are you looking to start your wood engraving journey? Here are some of the best laser engravers in the market.


Choose a light color wood instead of darker wood because darker wood frequently hides the laser etching markings, making engraved images or text challenging to view or identify. Lighter wood, in contrast, develops a dark and deep burn when etched, giving you well-defined burn marks for optimal visibility.

What Are Good Wood Engraving Ideas to Use?

Here are some of the best wood engraving concepts for novices to try out on their laser engraving devices.

1. Laser Engraved Wood Cutting Board

One of the easiest wood engraving projects for beginners is a cutting board. You only need a wood piece or a pre-made cutting board. Then decide on an engraving design that will work.

You can apply some wood stain to seal off some pores. It can also be used for decoration.

2. Laser Engraved Wooden Signs

Wood signs are frequently used for various purposes and situations, such as lake houses, mountain ranges, camps, boat docks, private property no trespassing, and cabin signs.

Customized DIY engraved wood signs enhance your home and life with fun and style, helping them attract more attention.

3. Laser Engraved Wood Wall Hangings

Wood wall hangings and a couch

Using wood wall hangings is a great way to use handcrafted objects to decorate a home.

You can laser engrave wood with a picture or design on wood pieces or stack layers of wood to make a 3D wall hanging.

Engraved woodcrafts would be at the top of your shopping or decorating lists, and wall decor would never go out of style.

You can easily find some fantastic creations and wood crafts that meet your wants, regardless of whether you enjoy home renovations or your restaurant and office need some decoration to make the environment more comfortable.

Wood engraving is the kind of hobby that could add extra value to your daily activities and job.

4. Laser Engraved Wooden Coasters

Names, graphics, or messages can be engraved on wood coasters to make them unique.

They are excellent for festive occasions like Halloween or Christmas. Also, the coaster can be made as decor.

You can always choose the design from the pre-made wood coasters in online shops.

5. Laser Engraved Wood Lampshade

An engraved wood lampshade is an additional chic adornment to infuse your home with affection and spirit.

Whether your home has a modern or vintage style, the ideal marriage of light and wood color and texture would result in a masterpiece of decor.

Also, you may take it a step further and make some striking patterns using your favorite cartoon or movie characters, pictures of your family, and much more.

6. Laser Engraved Wooden Rolling Pin

You may engrave rolling pins to create various patterns on the dough. You can engrave the pin with designs that correspond to the occasion. The rotary attachment is required for the task.

7. Photoengraved Presents

Nothing would make you remember those best times in your life more than a photoengraved present with the nicest recollections.

Because of this, photoengraving presents a profitable industry and a top choice if you want to launch a do-it-yourself enterprise from home.

8. Laser Engraved Wooden Jewelry Box

Plywood can be used to create a stunning jewelry box. It is possible to engrave and cut plywood a few millimeters thick. Put on some wood stain to preserve its beauty.


Can you engrave plywood? Not all types of wood are suitable for engraving projects. Birch laser plywood and bamboo laser plywood are two varieties of plywood that work well for laser cutting

Laser engraver engraving wood

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Now, let’s examine the most often-asked questions regarding how to engrave wood and other relevant subjects.

Is It Easy to Engrave Wood?

Yes. Almost anything can be etched onto wood, including text, symbols, and pictures. Either draw your design on paper or print it from a computer.

A straightforward design with plenty of straight lines will be the simplest to engrave if you’re starting.

Can You Use a Dremel to Engrave Wood?

You can cut and carve different types of materials with the revolving head and replaceable bits of a Dremel tool.

A Dremel tool can effortlessly cut through wood and create precise lines if you want to carve designs or letters.

Is There Transfer Paper for Wood?

It is possible to use inkjet heat transfer paper on wood. Use a heat press machine to transfer your chosen image to a smooth wooden surface after printing it on the heat transfer paper.

To successfully transfer the ink, the heat is distributed evenly by the heat press machine.

How Long Are Laser Engraving Machines Made to Last?

Specific work will require more time engraving than when the laser tube was brand-new.

It’s not unusual for your laser engraver to break down as it ages after five years, especially at around seven or eight, due to a major component failure.


A great way to express creativity or launch a business is through wood laser engraving. However, it would help to comprehend wood laser engraving before you begin fully.

Finding fantastic engraving ideas for your project is the first step, and locating the design file is another challenging task.

Even if you have the best engraving design file, you still need to consider the technology and engraving instruments required.

Beginners will now understand what wood laser engraving is, how to accomplish it, the dos and don’ts, and numerous other important details.We hope that the resources and tips in this post will be helpful to you and make the process smoother. We wish you luck on all of your wood engraving projects!

Leave a Comment