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What Are the Best Tips for Engraving Plastic?

Tiffany Manley
Tiffany Manley

Engraving plastic is a way to personalize a variety of items. Many types of engraving machines are available, from small handheld engraving tools to automated machines. To have the best experience with engraving plastic, an individual might choose to practice on scrap pieces of plastic, choose the right types of plastic, use materials to create a template on the plastic item, use the best engraving tool tip for the type of engraving and keep his or her work area clean.

Perhaps one of the most important tips for engraving plastic is for an individual to practice. Engraving plastic takes a bit of practice to get better, so practicing on scrap pieces of plastic might help someone perfect his or her engraving techniques. For an individual who has practiced, when it comes time to engrave something for someone else, he or she is likely to have worked through any issues that might have arisen.

Not all types of plastic are meant to be engraved. An individual who wants to engrave something on plastic should research what types of plastic work best for engraving. Many hobby stores carry plastic items that are suitable for engraving.


Some people might have an artistic eye and steady hand, but for many individuals, it is important to stencil the design to be engraved before engraving plastic. To do this, an individual might use a wax writing apparatus such as a crayon or wax pen. Not only will this adhere to the plastic so an individual can see where he or she should engrave, it also can be wiped off easily after the design has been completed. It is best for an individual to avoid using a darkly colored wax pen or crayon, because the dyes might stain the plastic before being wiped off.

Many engraving tools come with a variety of tips, so an individual who is engraving plastic should become familiar with what different tool tips do. If a design is wide, a wide tip might be used to engrave expansive areas. For a smaller design, such as text, a thin tip might be used. By using the correct tip, an individual might create a nice-looking design without extra effort.

Keeping the work area clean might not directly affect the design when an individual is engraving plastic, but it does assist him or her in creating the design. Excess plastic shavings might make it difficult to see the stenciled image on plastic, but after the shavings have been cleared, it usually is easier to continue the design. In addition, a clean work space might help an individual focus better while working on his or her design.

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