etching a piece of metal for custom gifts

What Materials Can Be Etched?

Etching is a highly versatile method of creating custom products, from corporate swag to personalized gifts. 

Using lasers ensures that the process is incredibly accurate, highly detailed, and permanent. 

What better way to make a lasting impression on almost any type of material?

If you’re looking for a unique and custom gift for the important people in your life, etching opens the doors to a world of possibilities!

Before we get into the types of materials that can be etched, let’s go over what etching is and how it works:

What is Laser Etching?

Unlike engraving, etching is a process that removes only the top layer of material. This results in a mark or design that won’t smudge or wear off!

It works by melting the surface of a product in order to create a customized mark such as business logos, personalized names, and more. 

Changes occur on the surface as the material quickly melts and cools down, and an etched design appears.

Laser etching can be applied to a variety of materials, most notably wood, metal, and glass. Let’s take a look at how these materials can be etched to create a custom and unique design:

Etching Wood

Wood can be tricky to etch, but if you know your stuff and have the right equipment, you can easily create beautiful designs on various items.

Here are some things to take into consideration when etching wood:

  • Wood Type: When it comes to etching, there is a huge difference between using hardwood and softwood. Hardwoods can be etched but tend to be harder to work with because of their density.
  • Sap: The more sap present in the wood, the darker the final image will be. When the sap melts during the laser etching process, it helps to burn the impression into the wood.
  • Color: Laser etching involves burning and darkening the wood so that designs will appear clearer on light-colored woods.

Examples of Etched Wood Products:

  • Cutting Boards
  • Charcuterie Boards
  • Serving Boards
  • Photo Frames
  • Chess Boards

To get a better idea of what etching looks like on wood, check out our collection of custom cutting boards, charcuterie boards, and serving boards!

Etching Metal

When it comes to etching metal, a laser is used to cause a chemical and thermal change on the surface of the item in order to alter its color.

The best metals to etch are stainless steel, aluminum, and copper to get amazing results. 

Etching metal is a really interesting process!

First, a custom design is prepared using a black-and-white (or greyscale) photo or vector image that is edited using software to achieve the best result.

A laser is then powered up and used to etch the metal. Flat surfaces are easy, but curved surfaces such as drink tumblers are a bit trickier.

Once the etching is complete, the item is cleaned up and ready to use!

Examples of Etched Metal Products:

  • Lighters
  • Cake Servers
  • Serving Trays
  • Dog Tags
  • Knives

Check out our personalized stainless steel Yetis to see how amazing custom etched metal looks!

You can also see examples of etched metals on our personalized jewelry and accessories.

Etching Glass

Etching glass involves using a laser to remove the top layer of the surface instead of completely removing it and leaving a cavity as engraving does.

Laser etching is ideal for thin materials such as glass because it doesn’t cut deep into the surface. Instead, it alters the surface’s appearance and affects its reflexivity.

The best type of glass for etching projects are those with lower lead content, such as soda-ash glass.

Those who etch glass should stay away from leaded crystal glass and other types of glass with high-mental content (these are harder to laser and will cause “skips” in the design).

Designs for glass etching are made using computer software and are sent to the laser machine to create an amazing custom design.

Examples of Etched Glass Products:

  • Wine Glasses
  • Candle Holders
  • Beer Steins
  • Casserole Dishes
  • Christmas Ornaments

Etched Gift Ideas - Personal and Unique!

Here at Etchified, we are all about creating personal and unique gifts and items for the special people in your life!

Whether you looking for a gift for a loved one or a valued client, custom gifts of any material are memorable and always appreciated.

Here are some ideas we’ve come up with for custom etched gifts and swag:

What Material Will You Choose?

Between wood, metal, and glass, Etchified is able to provide you with a catalog full of amazing gifts and customized product ideas.

But which will you choose?

Check out our online shop or give us a shout if you have any questions!