New tile engraving method

Hi, I’m not familiar with PVA glue. If you make a batch of this formula, will it last in a spray bottle / jar for weeks / months or will it dry up or “spoil” in some way? BTW, I tried Titanium Dioxide and Isopropyl alcohol (1:5). It was not good. Very blotchy. Like there was not enough coverage of the TiO2. I think Ethanol is best but could not find any (yet). I need to test more but noticed this discussion and wondered if others have tried Ethanol / Isopropyl alcohol.

The lowest cost ethanol is Ever Clear from one of the big box stores that sells liqueur … 90 some odd proof.

Let us know how it works… I’ve tried the ethanol option and ended up with an air brush for best results, but not easily duplicated for multiple jobs…

I have problems with the ‘glue’ method in that I don’t think I’m getting a good distribution of the TiO2, but that’s just a guess.

Someone suggested adding the TiO2 with the water then adding the glue.

It requires ‘air’ to dry. Comes in a gallon jug with a screw on lid…


@jkwilborn, thanks for the response. Yes, I learned that ever clear is ethanol and will likely give it a try.

My concern with all the TiO2 options is as you say, the consistency / repeatability.

I seek a method that does not require much prep time or messy cleanup. The Norton method sounds like it works best if left overnight to dry. This TiO2 and PVA method sounds promising but maybe hard to reproduce.

Not sure if I even want to invest in a air sprayer just to test it.

PVA is a wood glue and it seems to last for years. Mixed with TiO2 it will also keep for a very long time. TiO2 will settle to the bottom of any mix so dose need to be well shaken before use to get it evenly mixed again. I don’t use a spray. just paint it on like any standard paint with a brush. Use a well loaded brush and spread it out as even as you can. Dry with a hairdryer or leave over night. Mixing with water first seems to help it mix quiker but I always use an electric mixer and strain the solution to be sure there are no lumps. Store in a large jar half full gives you room to remix after storage without stillage.

Never seen that one Nicole. The only ingredient in mustard that could possibly do anything is vinegar. I don’t think the vinegar would do anything for me. If you tried to engrave that same knife on the other side using nothing, I bet it would also work. Possibly try ketchup? ( hahaha, just kidding).

BTW, I did get Titanium Dioxide to work on aluminium, Sort of. I mixed it with some pink paint and put a few thick coats on it. Then I engraved it. The TiO2 did make a black mark and it actually did look good. Mind you, it’s not marked on the aluminium, but in the paint itself.

Vinegar will vaporize like water. There are lots of videos and articles on using many different compounds for marking, including molybdenum, which I don’t recommend.

If you have an led type, it’s more difficult for some marking coatings on the market.

TiO2 should ‘fuse’ to the material… if it doesn’t it won’t last long and you can scrape it off.

I’ve had good luck with LBT100 for the co2, but doesn’t appear to work well with the led lasers. Don’t know if it’s power or frequency… it appears to work but can be scrapped off, so it’s not working.

I would expect it to fuse with the metal, if not it won’t last…

Good luck


This was the video that inspired me to try. Can You Laser Engrave Metal With Mustard? - YouTube

Exactly. It did scrape off with the paint. I was trying to mark aluminium dog tags. I decided to start making them out of wood. Oak tags with a Walnut veneer. People like them. Some people have also used them for their key chain because they said it is too nice to put on the dog. hahahaha. Here is a photo of them front and back


They are not completely finished. I still need to sand and put a finish/sealer on them.

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Oh great, now I have to try it. :rofl: :rofl:

I’m wondering if brushing a thin layer of pva glue onto a tile, then shaking the Titanium Dioxide with a sifter, shaking the tile around to distribute the powder, pouring the rest back and then let the tile dry. Then do the laser work. I’m going to give it a shot just for the heck of it, but my Titanium Dioxide hasn’t arrived yet.

TiO2 is really messy… I doubt you can get an even coat as it would depend on how wet that area is, however I’m eager to see your results…

I try not to nix things, sometimes it actually works out well, just doesn’t seem like a good idea…


I’m pretty sure the TiO2 was delivered today (I’m still at work). But I have tiles and glue so maybe I’ll get a chance today if not tomorrow.

TiO2 by nature is not a good thing to breathe in so would warn you not to do so. Mix with water and add to PVA seems the best method

No solid is good to breath that I know of…

TiO2 is used in many edible items for decades. Some scientists claim it may do genetic damage, but there has been no evidence of it…

At 68, I doubt I’m in much trouble… but it gets everywhere… much easier to manage when mixed with a liquid.


Jack I’m 85 and have just 42% lung capacity. On oxygen to keep me going. I would advise anyone to take care of themselves and not end up like me.

@RonClarke I am definitely going to try your formula. Basically, I’m trying everything to find what works best for me and my diode laser. If I get good enough results with a brush, I will buy an air spray.

Looking on (USA), I see so many options for PVA glue. Is there a “correct” type? I’m thinking “Elmer’s Liquid School Glue, Washable”

I’ve been using this… It seems to work…

@RonClarke I think you misunderstood … I said it’s not good to breath any kind of solid… in agreement with you…

I did say it’s in food, so eating it isn’t a problem or at least as much…


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Do you think this formula would work in the Preval sprayer?

WHY do you need a spray? A one inch brush is much easier to use and keep clean.