Various Laser Engraving Materials

Laser engraving machines are used to engrave a wide variety of intricate, delicate, detailed designs on almost all types of materials. The graphics of these designs are of exceptionally high resolution and often features the finest details. A fast-growing business niche in laser engraving is in engraving family photographs onto highly stable surfaces such as stone.

Laser engraving is extremely versatile across several surfaces like the following:

Various Laser Engraving Materials

Paper & Wood

Wood is one of the firsts surfaces where a laser engraver was used. Wood tends to burn easily, so it only requires low-wattage engravers. Mahogany and oak are hard woods that are best suited for this process. Softer wood species can be engraved, but lower wattage must be used to prevent igniting the wood. Hard paper and fiberboard are also good for laser engraving.


Conventional metals don’t make a good engraving surface for laser engraving systems. Coated metals are more suitable to this kind of engraving. Coated metal laser engraving involves vaporizing the coating to uncover the metal under it. Anodized aluminum and painted brass are two examples of coated metals.

Glass & Stone

Glass and stone are challenging materials upon which to laser engrave. Usually, other engraving techniques are used, but when laser engraving is used for glass or stone, it makes tiny fractures that produce amazingly stunning and highly durable finished products. For example, when granite is successfully engraved using a laser, it makes an extremely durable piece that will last for literally decades even if it’s used for a project like floor tiles.

Three dimensional images are some of the most common laser engraving, or etching projects for glass projects. These make beautiful keepsakes and gifts that no other engraving technique can match.


Hard plastics, like acrylic, make the best laser engraving materials. Acrylic is known for holding the etching better and for making some of the most amazing finished projects. Softer plastics don’t respond well to laser etching because it tends to melt. If melting is part of the end results, softer plastic would be fine for such a project. Some specialty plastics have been created specifically for use in laser engraving. Other plastics like silicone and vinyl aren’t suitable for laser engraving.

Rubber & Leather

If you have ever been shopping for rubber stamps, you are looking at an example of what laser engraving on rubber and latex rubber can do. Rubber stamps are used in business to stamp files, checks, and documents as well as for creative endeavors like cardmaking.

Leather is another material sometimes used in laser engraving. Laser engraved leather creates something that looks like hot branding on the leather hide. Leather jackets, belts, and other leather apparel and products can be engraved with a laser engraving machine.

These are some basics about laser engraving that should satisfy your curiosity. Individuals, businesses, schools, non-profit organizations, politicians, auto parts manufacturers, medical implement manufacturers, and other industries make use of laser engraving technology. Laser engraving helps create ideal marking, coding, etching, and engraving projects for a wide range of purposes.