In this instructable you'll learn how to use a laser etching/cutting machine to etch words and/or graphics onto the surface of smooth stones.  "River stones", which are rounded and smooth, and have a fairly flat surface, make the perfect material for this project.

Once etched with your favorite inspirational, romantic, or comical message, these stones make perfect gifts.  With Mothers' Day coming up fast, now's your chance to gather some stones and get etching some inspirational/loving messages for Mom onto pretty, permanent stones.


I made it at TechShop!


Step 1: Materials List

For this project, you'll need:

1. A selection of stones to etch.  I've found that flat "river stones" work best, since they have a smooth, fairly flat surface onto which you can etch your messages.
2. Play-doh or other type of modeling clay, which you'll use as a moldable base/jig to support the stones on the laser etching table.
3. Ruler or calipers to measure the flat, etchable area on each stone.
4. Pencil to mark the etchable area on your stones.
5. Access to a laser etching machine.  I highly recommend the Trotec (and other) lasers available through membership at TechShop (http://www.techshop.ws)
<p>Very cool. I have a rock garden that could use some customization! I'll be tying this very soon :)</p>
Where the heck would an every day person get a laser etcher ?? And mrmerino your comment made me crack up :-)
<p>some kind person on this site tells you how to make a laser etcher ,if your brave enough to give it a go.</p>
Hi I have access to one in Fountain Valley, CA , it's by membership :) <br>Kass <br>
For irregular shaped objects, I generally use the &quot;center&quot; etch option, instead of trying to find the upper left corner of your etching area.
I'd love to do this to a bunch of these (I have a pile of them next to my house), but carve a bunch of dirty words on them and just leave them around.
Thx! Not sure where you're based, but maybe there is a TechShop or hacker-space in your area that would give you access to a laser etching/cutting machine. Good luck!
These are very nice, just wish I had the big toy needed to play. Good instructable.

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More by apexchaser:Laser-etched river stones - perfect for Mothers' Day gifts! Excellent Gift Idea - Customizing a Tool Handle with a Laser at Tech Shop 
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