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Is a laser engraver right for you?

Have you wondered how those awesome craft wood or leather tags are customized? There are lots of shops on Etsy that offer awesome customizations, but what is the process of producing them?

I’ve wanted to explore laser engraving for a while so I decided to purchase an entry-level laser engraver from Amazon and give it a go. My experience might help you decide if this craft tool is for you too.

What does it do?

A laser engraver basically carves a design onto a material by using a laser. Think of it as burning or etching an image onto the surface of an object. Laser engravers vary greatly in cost from an introductory one to a professional level ranging into the thousands. Today I am only featuring the financially friendly and beginner engraver. 

What Types of Materials Can It Engrave?

Here are the materials this entry-level machine can engrave:

Wood
Leather
Paper
Rubber
Plastic
Bamboo
PCBA

So what can I make with it?

Of course, being a fiber fan, most of my projects so far have been centered around yarn accessories. I could see how this tool would be useful if a craft vendor wanted to add more items to their shop. I’ve only just touched the surface of the possible projects. 

For my very first engraving experience, I used a leather-bound notebook my husband brought home from work. It had a sporting company logo on it and was leftover from an event, so a great project to try out. I put my logo on the back and was instantly impressed. I’m thinking personalized leather-bound notebooks might be on the list of gift-giving in the future. 

Is it hard to learn?

I was honestly shocked at how quickly I had it up and running. I planned on spending hours learning it before I ever got something engraved, but I was laser printing an image within 15 minutes.

The instructions that come with the machine are a bit clunky. They haven’t been well translated, but it’s not too difficult to navigate. It comes with a USB drive to install the program to your computer and the needed connecting cord and power cord. 

Crafting up some fun.

Once I got the hang of working on leather, I decided to make a few items for myself. I’ve adored the custom leather tags I’ve seen crocheters and knitters put on their finished items. So a engraved a couple of those and I’m so excited to make more whenever I want.

Next, I knew I wanted fun stitch markers. These were super simple and easy to do. I purchased a bag of scrap leather and colorful markers on amazon, along with a leather hole punch. After printing an image on the scraps of leather I simply cut out the squares, punches a hole, and placed the stitch marker. These can be used for both knitting or crochet. 

For my next stitch marker project I think it would be awesome to do some simple numbers. That way when working in the round it helps me keep track of my starting points or where I’m at on the project. 

The hardest part is deciding what image you want to engrave with lots of options of themes. The machine doesn’t have a large built-in library of images, but that’s not needed with many free or paid images on the web. They can’t be too high in detail in order for the computer program to read them.

Holiday and Home Decor.

I’m really in the fun play stage of this thing. If I were to sell these in a shop I would be more intentional, but right now I’m all about making ALL the things. So I created a snowflake design on a small piece of wood and an engraved gift tag. I could see how this could be used to personalize almost anything, especially around the holidays. Gift-giving means so much more when it’s personalized. I see engraved coasters, earings, cutting boards, tags, and so much more in my future. 

Plus, I’m going to label all of my children’s items so they are easy to identify in the lost and found lol.

Where Can I Purchase These Items?

I purchased this machine and the crafting accessories on Amazon. The affiliate links below add no extra cost to you and I may make a small percentage from sales.

What are the Pro’s and Con’s?

This is an entry-level machine. So the surface workspace is approximately 3×3 inches. If you want a bigger workspace you will need to go up in price. This is great for small projects like featured above.

Don’t think of it as working as fast as your ink printer. It takes time to engrave so doing lots of projects at once will require time. The built-in fan also needs time to cool between projects so you don’t overheat the machine. And while it’s working it’s important to not look directly at the laser as it will harm your eyes. There is a green plastic barrier on one side so you can visually check your printing. As it is working there will be a burning smell since it’s essentially burning an image onto your item.

For an entry-level crafter who does the occasional projects, this is a great starter machine for all types of projects and decor. If you sell at craft fairs it’s a great way to test the market and expand your inventory with something custom. If these items really take off and large quantities need to be produced fast, then a larger and faster machine may be required. 

Overall I’m really enjoying making my own custom tags and projects. It’s great for personalizing my items and having a unique look. I can’t wait to make even more!

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