Laser Engraving and Laser Cutting

by | Oct 12, 2016 | Printing | 3 comments

Lasers are incredibly powerful tools. Their intricate designs are almost impossible to achieve by hand.

Laser Engraved Whiskey Glasses

What is laser cutting and engraving?

It can be hard to imagine a laser if you have never seen one. It’s a lot like a regular printer. But instead of ink on paper, lasers create designs by burning off the top layer of your chosen material. You strategically work with your material so that when the top layer is burned off, the layer below reveals your design. Lasers can also make extremely detailed cuts that would be nearly impossible to recreate with scissors.

The best part is that you can laser almost anything imaginable — mirror, glass, wood, leather, marble, paper, cork — even a an iPhone!(There are a few exceptions, but even if something can’t be printed on a laser, it can likely be cut / engraved on a different piece of specialty equipment. This list here provides even more examples of laser friendly materials.)

Engraving Mirror Signs

Mirrors signs look beautiful laser engraved. It’s a little tricky to engrave them the first time. This short video explains how we print them. Unlike most materials, you have to engrave the mirror’s back side with a reverse image. (If you were to accidentally engrave the front, the laser will automatically reflect back onto itself and self-destruct. Yikes!) When the sign is finally flipped over, the design will be correctly oriented and very pretty! 

Laser Cutting Mirrors

Acrylic mirror is especially wonderful for cutting, since glass mirror cannot be laser cut (only engraved). The photo below is an example of why we love acrylic mirror! It’s lightweight, comes in range of pretty colors (like the gold pictured), and can be cut to any shape or size. In this case, we cut out the State of Michigan, with a heart for Ann Arbor and Detroit. It’s worth noting that acrylic mirror will achieve a much better engraving contrast than glass mirror, which is why we instead use a technique called sandblasting for glass mirror.   

Laser Cut Heart of Michigan Sign

Laser Cut Paper

Paper is a very delicate material to laser cut, but with the right settings (so you don’t burn the paper) you can achieve very beautiful results. This sympathy card below is an example of an intricate laser cut. As you can imagine, the tiny cuts would be incredibly hard to recreate with scissors or knives. And you can select any color and texture of paper that goes underneath.

Thinking of You Card: Laser Cut Paper Sympathy Card

Engraved Chalkboard

Chalkboard is another material that lasers very well. The only tricky part is figuring out the colors to go beneath the chalk paint. This example here is actually engraved chalk foam board, where the color below is white.

Laser Engraved Chalkboard Sign: Choose a Seat Not a Side Many Thanks from the Groom and Bride

The possibilities really are endless!

If you think of something out of the box to engrave please let us know! For any questions / comments please comment below or email

Thank you for visiting! — Susan Dodge


  1. Robin Primm

    I saw via Wrin Gates IG that you rehab old frames. I am not looking to spend a lot of money on a vintage/antique from (such as Erin did not), but I love her idea of using one of the frames for a black and white kind of abstract nude to place in my bathroom. I am looking for something affordable in which to place a medium to large size sketch-certainly no larger than 24 x 36 inches. Please let me know if you have anything such as this available with shipping to Arkansas.

    • Susan Dodge

      I’m so glad you reached out Robin! It’s been a pleasure working with you this year! I am so impressed with your gold leafing skills.


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