How to Engrave Wood | Follow These Simple 9 Steps Now


Articles, products, and services offered on this site are for informational purposes only. We recommend using caution and seeking professional advice. This site provides general information. We are part of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. is compensated for sales resulting from links on our website.

Please review our disclaimer before taking action based on anything you read or see.

Making one-of-a-kind items and souvenirs have become a good pastime. Many undertakings can benefit from DIY wood etching, also identified as engraving. Wooden designs can be detailed and deep or superficial and stringy. Wood engraving is a standard pick for décor and customized treasures because of the variety of styles it can produce. Thus, we have made this post on How to engrave wood.

Moreover, the art of engraving wood goes back thousands of years. Initially, images and alphabets were engraved on wood with a pointed chisel to commemorate a significant event or aid in releasing knowledge to a large group of people. In the mid-nineteenth century, it became a popular activity.

Advanced tools revolutionized the craft in the twentieth century, making DIY wood engraving a more accessible and popular fun activity. Come along as we highlight this.

How to Engrave Wood: Best Tools to Use

How to Engrave Wood

The most delicate equipment for engraving patterns on wood offers your item a unique appearance. Here are some engraving tools to get you started.

  • Dremel – These revolving tools can easily make deep and precise markings in nearly any kind of wood.
  • Chip carving – A chip carving tool is a sharp chisel with two angled lines intersecting in the center. Carve ruts in the wood using the tools. You have complete control over the depth of the patterns.
  • Lasers are essential for etching and becoming a part of any artwork or home décor. Using lasers, small plaques depicting a name on a panel, a personal accomplishment, or a clan tartan may get made.
  • Wood burner — Ball point wood burners offer carved patterns or lettering on wood objects, particularly color and form. Apply sufficient pressure to prevent it from slipping off the surface.

How to Engrave Wood

How to Engrave Wood

Engraved wood is a distinct art form. And the programs mentioned above have gone out of their way to make the trip considerably simpler for its users. Engraving wood has never been simpler than its high-speed rotating cutting blades and one of their simple rotary cutters. There are a variety of engraving blades available in various shapes and sizes, allowing you to personalize your work further. So go ahead and pick out a great design and a suitable wood block, and let’s get began!

Step 1: Choose a substance to engrave on.

It’s best to go with something a bit gentler if you’re new to engraving. Why? They simplify you to get the measure of influence you want when using your Dremel tool, making them far more accessible to novices. Since hardwoods are more difficult to burn, softwoods are also the easiest to deal with.

However, the color of the wood foundation you select will determine the neutral color that will appear through your engraving. Dark woods may obscure fine etching work, but lighter woods provide a dark and bleak burn resistant to splitting and a striking contrast for the pattern.

The amount of latex or sap in the wood will also impact whether it is bright or dark. You’ll want to choose woods with higher lignin content for darker-burn pictures. These are some of them:

  • Cherries
  • Ard
  • Pine
  • Ashley
  • Basswood
  • Chestnut
  • Mahogany

Wood with a lower resin concentration may generate wisps of pictures for a more abstract look when used for lighter-burn designs. Woods with a lower resin content include:

  • Cypress
  • Cedar
  • Spruce
  • Juniper
  • Hemlock
  • Ivy
  • Dawn redwood

Concentrate on the form

Concentrate on the form

Whenever it comes to picking an item to start engraving on, the material isn’t the only thing to think about. Consider the surface contour as well as the softness of the wood. What is the ideal shape to start with? Anything flat!

You don’t have to bother about angles or constantly adjusting the item or instrument on a smooth surface. All you need to do now becomes familiar with how the tool feels when engraving. This is how it will be when you’re just starting. Etchings and timber cheese boards are great places to start.

Take the necessary precautions.

You’re likely trying to get started now that you’ve obtained the necessary equipment for the work and a ready-to-engrave surface. But first, let’s go through some safety precautions. Leather gloves will keep your hands safe. They will not only protect you from cuts and scratches, but they will also last longer. Glasses and a face shield are also get required for engraving. You don’t want to inhale microscopic wood fragments or have them come close to your eyes.

Get the materials ready

Get the materials ready

Ensure the wood you’re engraving is completely dry before you start. To see clearly, all remnants of grease and cleaning liquid should be eliminated. You won’t have any problems with this throughout the transfer step.

Also, make sure the wood you’re engraving doesn’t get treated. If you want to engrave a bit of wood that has previously gotten painted, you’ll need to sand it down and clean it off with a moist cloth first. You’re ready to proceed after your area is nice and dry.

Trace your design onto the wood.

It’s good to start with a printed pattern to draw over. You can still engrave illustrations, but having a design will make it easier. Use carbon paper to imprint a design on a wooden surface.

Set the paper on the wooden panel, then place the pattern above and outline it with a pencil. It’s a lot simpler to engrave wood this way. Just make sure it’s firmly attached to the board so it doesn’t slide about mid-engraving.

Additionally, always stare straight ahead – glancing at an angle increases the likelihood of your lines getting distorted.

Hold you’re dermal with a pencil grasp.

Hold you're dermal with a pencil grasp.

Whenever it comes to engraving, it’s simpler to grasp the Dremel tool – also known as the Versatile Shaft – like a pen or pencil. It’s a style you’re already acquainted with.

As a result, it stands to reason that this familiarity will give you the most confidence while operating your engraving equipment. This brings us to another crucial point: self-confidence. It’s typical for things to take a bit when you’re new to engraving to go according to plan.

Put in some practice time, be reasonable with yourself, and keep going. Your engraving abilities will improve as well as your courage. After then, the real fun starts.

If necessary, apply a protective coating.

You are free to leave your engraved wood alone. You may also use a top coat to give it a polished appearance. Apply a thin layer of a finish in a condition that resonates with you (matte, silky, or glossy).

For items that will be stored indoors, use shellac, and for parts that will be kept outdoors, use weather-resistant urethane.

  • Using a sweeping movement, add spray-on topcoats, overlaying each swipe.
  • Use a flat, broad paintbrush to add brush-on topcoats. Follow the grain of the paper and connect each stroke.

Let the top coat dry completely before applying a second layer.

Let the top coat dry completely before applying a second layer.

You may get away with only one coating for indoor or ornamental objects. Add one or two extra light applications if the thing will be stored outdoors or used often. Let each layer dry completely before applying the next.

If you apply the coatings too rapidly or too soon, they will get sticky.

Before using the item, let the surface layer dry and cure thoroughly.

The length of time you must wait gets determined by the varnish you are using. Some are entirely dry and ready to use in a few hours. Others may take several days to heal, particularly those exposed to the elements.

Check the instructions on your topcoat can or container. Remember that factors like humidity, climate, and temperature may alter drying and hardening timeframes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I engrave wood?

Yes. The above tips on how to engrave wood will aid you immensely in this.

Why are most wood engravings so tiny?

Since the tools employed are highly pointed, most wood engravings are carefully crafted and tiny. Due to the refinement, wood engravings are frequently, but not always, black and white. They generate a vibrant tonal spectrum.

The picture that arises is unique to this method, just as paintings are unique to artwork and images are unique to a camera. Printmaking is a fundamentally creative process: it is inherent in the form that numerous prints may get generated from a single block after it has gotten engraved, but each impression is unique – created by the technique and not replicated.

Is it possible to carve letters in wood?

Yes. Wood may get carved into letters. The blades created by a hand tool give the engraved letters you generate a unique appearance from those made by more sophisticated hand-held instruments.

You may obtain a wide variety of letters from the internet. The more effort you must make to get the exact pattern to transfer nicely to the wood, the narrower the letter will be. Trace the pattern onto the wood using the letter-carving patterns you prepared.

It doesn’t matter what instrument you use. Getting the right angle is crucial for a clean line. Reach the wood from a steady to a predetermined point. This will dig into the wood rather than skip over it.


Finally, wood engraving is both the most basic and one of the most beautiful kinds of printing. And if you need help on how to do this, the above tips on how to engrave wood will aid you immensely on this.

Comments are closed.