Having Fun With Slate

When you laser on most slate and rocks, the etch can be very light looking. Checking out other forums for answers, most agree that pre-coating with varnish or shellac can bring out the contrast. Here is some experiments pre-coating with varnish.

Thanks for the tip. I have not done any stone yet, but do want to try


Thanks for the tip, very useful. Are all three images pre treated, or are any not treated at all before engraving?



All of them them have been treated. On the lighter slate, the angle you look at the engraving when not treated affects how it looks to the observer.

I should have added that it does matter what you use to pre-treat the slate. If they are going to be used as coasters or in a wet environment, you should use a urethane instead.

Got it, thanks very much. I am doing a couple of house signs so a timely piece of advice!


I love working with Slate
We do coaster and cheeseboards

I always pre-coat with a clear gloss spray. Seems to offer the best contrast.

Nice! That contrast is amazing, have you touched up the white letters at all? or do you coat first, laser, then coat again?

These have’t had any touch up. I coat first and then depending on application I touch up afterwards or not. These haven’t had anything applied afterwards actually.
These were pre-coated with a Laquer spray

Hi Nigel, I finished the house signs this weekend and they looked great. Followed your advice and pre coated with two coats Polyurethane then lasered.
Thanks again for sharing.


No problem, glad to hear.

No coating or pre treating on this one. 40W laser speed/power 100/10%.

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That engraving is great, Eloy. Great contrast. I was never able to get that much contrast. My engraving went toward yellow before I got it that white.

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Hi @Doug. Thanks.
If you increase the power, the engraving tends to yellow. If you decrease the power it remains white/gray. If I increase the power higher than 12,5% I got the same problem. That is why I use 10% power with this speed setting. It is as always a bit trial and error. I’m quite happy with the result.

Hi just seeing this wonderful thread, I’m new and get my laser very soon! Have any of you tried placing masking tape prior to engraving, and then paint over it using the engraved tape as a stencil? I think the engraving needs to be a little deeper to make a little valley for the paint to catch from what I’ve been reading?

@HalfNormal Where do you get your raw materials from? These look great!

I get the material from different sources. The slate can be purchased from hobby stores or from tile stores. Amazon also has a great inventory of slate products.

Michaels sells slate coasters for $3.49 for 4 with little rubber feet on them. Usually you can find a coupon to make them closer to $2.50.



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