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How to engrave dog tags

Updated July 19, 2017

Dog-tag engraving kiosks charge a pretty penny for making a personalised tag for your furry, four-legged buddy. Furthermore, the design options and texts are limited, so your dog ends up with a tag that looks like any other dog's tag: boring. To make Fluffy a tag that stands out, a basic dog tag from pet supply shop and an engraving tool are the only things needed to dress up a boring collar.

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  1. Rinse the dog tag to clear it of any debris. Debris will cause the engraving tool to unintentionally skip portions you plan to engrave, creating a messy finish.

  2. Dry the tag completely. You do not want the tag to slip around as you engrave it. A slippery surface may make the Dremel slip, creating unwanted details if you are creating text or an image.

  3. Turn the Dremel engraver on and let it run for 30 seconds so you can get used to the feel of the tool and the engraving tip speed. If you have an old piece of glass or a small piece of sheet metal, practice writing and making a few designs with the Dremel until you get used to handling the tool. The engraving tool creates fine lines, grooves and even holes depending on the pressure you use and the angle you hold it. Practice with different strokes and angles until you find a comfortable position in which to hold the tool and make the lines you desire.

  4. Etch the design or text you want on the dog tag slowly to prevent the Dremel from slipping. If you are making a design, use a stencil to help make your lines more precise. If you are creating your text or design freehand, begin with a light pressure and, if necessary, go over the etching again and again until you reach the desired boldness.

  5. Rinse the tag once the etching is complete to remove any metal shavings on the tag. Metal shavings on the tag can be inhaled or ingested by a dog, which may cause breathing issues.

  6. Place the completed tag on the dog's collar and let the dog show it off.

  7. Tip

    Engrave your phone number and address on the back of your dog's tag so you can be alerted if your dog gets lost. Use thin pieces of tape to mark off areas of the tag if you want to create clean edges or a frame during the engraving process.


    The engraver has a tendency to get hot during use, so turn the tool off every few minutes to prevent overheating. The engraving tip can get dull after a lot of use. Keep extra tips handy if you plan on using the tool for multiple projects.

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Things You'll Need

  • Dog tags
  • Dremel engraver
  • Stencils (optional)
  • Water
  • Towel
  • Small piece of sheet metal or glass

About the Author

Yuurei Serai began writing in 2008 when she wrote an ebook for Experian. She has written for Purdue University's "Chronicle" newspaper as well as for various websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and a Master of Fine Arts in literature and composition from Purdue University. She has been teaching English and media arts since 2010.

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