How to Engrave Ceramic

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Engrave rough ceramic to turn a plain object into something special.
Engrave rough ceramic to turn a plain object into something special. (Image: ceramic pot image by Mike & Valerie Miller from Fotolia.com)

Engraved ceramic can completely change the appearance of a ceramic piece. You can engrave ceramic mugs, dishes, vases, pots and even flooring pieces. If you want to engrave a ceramic item, the best time is before the ceramic piece has the shiny glaze placed onto it. The rough ceramic is easy to engrave and from there you can easily add glaze to protect the new engraving. The time for this project will vary based on the complexity of your design.

Things You'll Need

  • Chinagraph pencil
  • Scrap ceramic pieces
  • Eye protection
  • Ear protection
  • Dust mask
  • Dremel drill with flex shaft
  • Drill bits in various sizes
  • Ceramic glaze
  • Paintbrush

Draw the outline of the design that you want to engrave on the ceramic. Use the chinagraph pencil to mark the design onto the ceramic. You can be as fancy or simple as you like. A simple name engraving is one of the easiest engraving projects to start with.

Choose what drill bits to use based on your design. Use the smallest bits to make fine lines, while larger bits can be used to fill in shapes or draw thick lines.

Attach the flex shaft to the drill. This makes it easier to engrave and allows greater flexibility of motion than the larger drill.

Put on eye, ear and mouth protection while engraving. This is the best way to keep from ingesting or breathing the dust particles from the ceramic.

Apply even pressure to make the designs. Press firmly but gently and draw the tool carefully over the surface of the ceramic. Drill about 1/8th of an inch into the ceramic. This is deep enough to create a visible impression, but not deep enough to ruin the integrity of the ceramic.

Cover the engraved design with ceramic glaze to protect the ceramic from dirt and grease. Heat the ceramic piece in the oven for about an hour to allow the glaze time to set. Allow the glaze to dry completely before storing the engraved ceramic piece.

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