Photo engraving is one of the most popular gift ideas of all time. If you are considering making special gifts for your friends or family for a special occasion or event but have no clue where to start, photo engraving gifts would definitely be the number one choice. However, it is not a service you could easily get from your local store, and making such personalized gifts at home could sometimes be a more favorable choice. To help you out, the post would list some of the top photo engraving gift ideas, how to make them at home, and some more information that might be of help.
What’s Photo Engraving?
As defined in Wikipedia, “Photoengraving is a process that uses a light-sensitive photoresist applied to the surface to be engraved to create a mask that protects some areas during a subsequent operation which etches, dissolves, or otherwise removes some or all of the material from the unshielded areas of a substrate. Normally applied to metal, it can also be used on glass, plastic, and other materials.”
In practice, photoengraving refers to the act of using a laser engraver to etch or removes the top layer of the engraved material to leave the image from your photo. A laser engraver would usually generate a highly-focused and high-density laser light to vaporize or melt the top layers of the materials to work on (Click to find out how a laser engraver work ). There are many materials that could be used for photoengraving and wood, metal, glass, acrylic, and ceramic are among the most popular materials to be engraved.
Why Are Photoengraving Your Best Gift Option?
There are many gift ideas out there but photoengraving is usually among the best gift options, why? Everyone might feel different about it, but the major reasons for the popularity of photo engraving gifts would be as follows:
- Emotional Value: photos could easily recall people’s memories and emotional feelings of special moments. No matter if the gifts are for your loved ones, best friends or family members, there are always some shared memories of big moments of their life. Photoengraving gifts capture these big moments which would be considered an emotional treasure.
- Caring: A unique photo engraving gift is also proof of your caring about the relationship and your willingness to spend more time researching your interests, learning and practicing the skills, and making special gifts for each other.
- Uniqueness: Compared with standard products that could be purchased in a local shop or online store, personalized photo engraving gifts are unique. Just like the relationship, there should not be anything alike.
Top Photo Engraving Gifts to Make
Photo engraving is no doubt the most common gift idea to find on any gift website. And we have organized a list of ideas that could be made at home with desktop laser engravers. The listed ideas are only a very small part of the full list and you could use a bit of imagination to expand the idea to every gift that you could get your hands on.
1st: Wood Engraved Photo
Wood engraved photos in different designs are among the gifts that are easiest but also the best gift options to make. Compared with a printed photo, it won’t fade and is also the most commonly seen in our daily life. With some creativity, an engraved photo could also be an amazing decoration for home improvement.
2nd: Custom Photo Engraved Jewelry
Jewelry is considered the most popular gift between people with an intimate relationship. As it would be worn every day, I could not find a second gift that would be a better gift than a piece of jewelry. The idea of getting it engraved with personal photos just makes it even better. It does not need to be expensive, the memories and love in the gift are worth more than the gift itself.
3rd: Laser Photoengraving Crystal Photo
The laser engraved crystal photo is another form of photoengraving. Just like the wooden engraved photo, it lasts longer and won’t fade either. Compared with a wooden photo, it fits better with the modern style of house decoration and it’s a perfect gift to place in your living room, study room, or office.
4th: Customized Wall Clock
A personalized wall clock with an engraved photo would also be another great gift idea. You could either use a family photo or the photo of your favorite model or character from a favorite movie for the wall clock. Instead of using engraving along, you might also cut out part of the clock face to create a unique design.
5th: Photoengraving Box
We use a lot of boxes every day in our daily life from fancy jewelry boxes, photo containers, music boxes to cigar boxes. These could all be very good gift ideas when combined with photoengraving. Following is an example of a photoengraving box from a daughter to her father as a Father’s Day gift.
6th: Photo Engraving Lighter
Lighter is another tool a father/husband might carry around every day, especially for those with an addiction to smoking. The flat surface is also a really good place to engrave a personal photo and customized text.
7th: Photoengraving Tumbler
Tumbler engraving is among the most popular search terms and has been known as a great laser engraving gift idea. Photoengraving could be on the top list for images to engrave on a tumbler. Apart from tumblers, you can also engrave the photos on mugs, glass bottles, and many more drinkware.
8th: Photo Engraving Puzzle
Nothing is more valuable than time and spending some quality time with the one your love could be the best gift that ever exists in the world. One of the best memory of a kid could be the puzzle time with his dad. Why not build a photo engraving puzzle as Father’s Day gift and invite your dad to join the game and make some good memory for him?
9th: Photoengraving Coaster
Coasters are also great gift ideas to have photos engraved on. These could also be something to show off when inviting your friends and neighbors to your house.
10th: Photoengraving Phone Case
Mobile phones have become necessary for most of us and some of us might spend over 8 hours on the digital screens every day. It’s important for us to put down our devices and back to our living life and spend more time with friends or families. A photoengraving phone case might be a great idea to remind you someone is waiting for you at home or cheer you up with happy memories when you are depressed.
How To Make Photoengraving Gifts At Home
Laser engraving isn’t a rocket-building science and the learning curve might take a week or few, but once you figure it out, you might feel addicted to it. If you are a quick learner, you might start to produce really amazing results within a week. If you are worrying about where to start, there are many helpful tutorial videos on Youtube to guide you through the whole process. In general, here are some steps to make photo engraving gifts at home:
Step One: Prepare the Right File for Engraving
Choosing a photo for engraving is just the very beginning of preparing a photo. Even if you decide to use the photo with the best quality, you might still need to do some editing to the photo to get optimized results. Some basic work would include removing the background, maximizing the contrast, sharpening your image, etc. You might find some helpful tips in this post.
Step Two: Download Laser Engraving Software First
The most popular laser software is LaserGRBL and Lightburn. Most laser engraver machines in the market would support this two software. The former is free software with basic functions and features and the latter is paid software with advanced features and a seven-day free trial (If you ordered the LightBurn license with our laser machine in our official store, you might also get a special discount on it!).
- LaserGRBL: https://lasergrbl.com/ (Open source free software, works for Windows system only)
- LightBurn: https://lightburnsoftware.com/ (Paid software, support windows, Mac OS, and Linux system)
Step Three: Get The Right Laser Machine for Your Project
To start photoengraving, you need to choose the right laser machines for your project. Due to the years of development of technology, laser machines are no longer expensive production equipment and many affordable desktop laser engravers are now available at very competitive prices in the market. Fiber, CO2, and diode laser engravers are the three most popular machine types. For making a photoengraving gift, a diode laser engraver would be the most economic and best choice with all factors considered. To choose the right diode laser engraver, you might need to consider the following factors:
- Laser Power: This is the most important fact about a laser machine. It determines the engraving capacity of a machine including speed, supporting material, cutting thickness, etc.
- Engraving Accuracy: If your photo has a lot of details, you might need a machine with higher engraving accuracy to avoid getting messy lines.
- Supporting Material: Before making your purchase decisions, check if the material of your engraved object is included in their material list.
- Engraving Size: If your gift has a big size for engraving, choosing one with a smaller working area would mean more preparation work and limitations.
- Safety: Fire hazards and toxic emission gas are two major safety concerns for any laser machine and should be taken care of with extra settings in the machine.
- Easy to Use: Most of consumer laser engraver machines in the market are still DIY kits that require some installation work. If the machine is too difficult to assemble, you might start losing patience really soon.
- Price: The price for a desktop laser engraver would vary from $150 to $1000 based on different functions, features, and settings. You might need to confirm your budget before comparing all available options.
- Extra functions: Some extra functions and features would make things much easier in many cases. For a laser engraver, cylindric engraving, full enclosure, and an alarming system are some of the most common features you might need.
Step Four: Testing & Calibration
Though we usually provide configuration files in the TF card sent along with the machine to enable users to import recommended settings into the machine, it’s usually suggested to run a few testing to make sure all settings work smoothly. You might need to change some values to get optimized results for your projects. Remember to prepare some extra materials for testing and only start engraving on the gifts when you are satisfied with the final result.
Step Five: Start Engraving
Once you get used to all the settings, engraving would be a very easy part. Here are some tips for engraving in case you might run into any of these conditions:
- Remember to coat transparent material before engraving. Material like transparent glass would reflect right and would fail to engrave and one simple trick is to use a color coating or color paper to block the light to get the ideal result.
- Set the right focal length: each machine has its own focal length settings and you need to make sure the distance from the laser to the engraved surface is exactly the same as the preset focal length or the engraving might fail.
- Wear a protective goggle when engraving. Though laser machines are usually with a protective cover on the laser module, it’s recommended to wear a protective goggle as the laser light might cause permanent damage to your eyes if without any protection.
Step Six: Post-processing
After the engraving is done, there is still some post-processing work. You might need to pack the gift with a unique package to make the gift looks amazing. Adding a resin coating for the engraved photo would also be a nice trick to try. Putting the crystal photo on a wood base with LED lights might generate a superb lighting effect. Writing a customized note seems to be quite necessary.
Best Laser Engraver For Photoengraving Gifts
Photoengraving isn’t a challenging job for many laser engravers in the market and our TS2 is definitely one of the best to deliver decent results. And following are some reasons to use the machine for making photo engraving gifts at home.
10W Laser Power
Compared with most desktop laser engravers which is with 5.5W laser power, TS2 uses a unique technology to focus lights from two separate 5.5W diodes into one 10W laser light with more powerful penetration strength to cut through 8mm plywood with a single cut. This unique technology enables TS2 to work on more materials, cut more thickness and easily handle most DIY projects for makers and small business owners.
0.01mm Engraving Accuracy
Another advanced technology for TS2 is the LD+FAC+C lense which enables TS2 to get more focused laser light with the same diameter for horizontal and vertical directions. TS2 is with a 0.01mm engraving accuracy to get much cleaner, thinner, smoother, deeper cuts and extremely fine details.
Wide Range of Supporting Material
The super-powerful settings and highly-focused light make it possible to handle different materials including wood, plastic, paper, leather, bamboo, sponge paper, alumina, stainless steel, chevron, acrylic, glass, etc. You might check recommended settings for different materials on this page.
450mm*450mm Engraving Size
TS2 is with an engraving size of 450mm*450mm. It’s so far the one with the largest working area among all Two Trees laser engravers. The extra working area allows the machine to engrave skateboards or objects of larger size. The open structure design also allows users to lift up the machine to work on many different objects and sizes.
Safety Settings of Highest Leve
Just like our TS3 enclosed laser engraver, the safety settings of TS2 are also of the highest level. The machine is with a flame detector which users could adjust its sensibility after disassembling the laser module. The intelligent turn-off function goes further to protect the users. When the machine is tilted at over 15 degrees or the laser head remains at the same location for over 10s, the auto-turn-off function would be triggered. The emergency stop button allows users to stop the machine immediately.
Easy to Use
As one laser engraver DIY kit, TS2 is also pre-assembled with a modular design. What’s more, to get rid of the tedious work of adjusting focus, TS2 is designed with an auto-focus function that allows users to set the engraving and cutting thickness in software, and the machine would automatically focus the laser for optimized results. Meanwhile, the top rotary switch also enables users to adjust the focus manually with ease. The limit switch and offline operation feature also enhance users’ experience with the machine.
Apart from all the above-mentioned features and functions, TS2 is also with a preinstalled air assit nozzle on the laser module. This air nozzle allows users to connect with Two Trees air pump to get better cutting and engraving results from the machine. Though the air pump is not included, you can get our air assist kit including the pump in our official store.
Though with many advanced features and functions, the TS2 machine is now on a Limited-Time Offers at $699 on our official store. Considering its 10w powerful laser, extra safety features, and auto-focus design, the price is very competitive compared with other product options.
Photo engraving gifts are among the best gift ideas to make at home. If you have no idea what to make, you could start from our listed top 10 gift ideas. With the right machine and some practice, you would start to love making these gifts and get great results that are even better than finished products to buy online or offline. Though the learning process would be full of challenges, you could always turn to our community on Facebook for help.