Engraving granite with decorative grooves, letters or simple line images makes a lasting design or message in a medium that can last a lifetime. Granite's rigid hardness makes it impossible to cut without special tools, but with a Dremel rotary cutter and a diamond-burr cutting bit, you can engrave granite just as effectively as any professional engraver can. Use a proper preparation technique in order to make sure you get your engraving just the way you want it.
Mark the granite's surface with the line you want to engrave. Use a graphite pencil or permanent marker and draw the characters or lines for your engraving. Get the markings just right before moving on, as this will be your guide for cutting.
Create a rough scratch marking of the lines. Set the Dremel to its lowest speed setting and run the spinning tip lightly over the drawing on the granite, leaving white scratches over the lines you want to engrave. Move the Dremel tip in a fluid, steady motion, as if you were writing or drawing with it.
Run the Dremel bit over the scratch lines repeatedly. Each time, increase the pressure and go a little more slowly as the grooves start to form and the tool thus becomes less likely to skip over the surface of the granite.
Gradually increase the speed of the Dremel to maximise the its cutting power as you continue retracing the lines. Pay attention to how deeply the tip of the bit is receding into the grooves of the engraving to judge how deep the lines are.
Wash away the granite dust using a dusting cloth, then a wet sponge.
Assess how the carving looks. Fix any areas that appear to need deeper engraving or cleaner edges by going over them again with the Dremel.
Fill the finished engraving with enamel paint (for small pieces) or epoxy paint if you find that even a relatively deep carving doesn't show up in the granite very well on its own. Choose a colour that's either very dark or very light and not too close to the shades in the granite.
- "Working with Power Tools"; Paul Anthony; 2007
- For engravings that are more artistically complex, create a stencil from a computer printout or photocopy. Print the image on card stock, then cut out the shape with a craft knife before tracing it on the granite.
- If you use permanent marker to trace your engraving, you can wash away any excess later with nail-polish remover.