Solar Engraving Wood

About: Hi, I'm Mark! I make Instructables of things I find cool so follow me and check my stuff out! :)

So now it is summer and the sun is out, it is super hot, and the sun's rays are the strongest this time of year, so why not harness it to make some cool and cheap engravings into wood. I created this Instructable to somewhat recreate the ability of laser engraving wood. However, my results were way more crude but were fun and cool to make and admire the final result.

Step 1: Materials

Only 4 things needed!

-Wood to be solar engraved (in my case it was scrap wood)

-Magnifying Glass (preferably made of glass but plastic magnifying glasses work too)




Step 2: Adjusting the Burning Point & Engraving

Okay so try to align the magnifying glass to line up between the sun and your piece of wood. You will get a weird shape made of light like in the first picture or a circle of light. Keep adjusting the magnifying glass forward and backward, left and right, and rotate it until you get a tiny circle of concentrated sunlight. Try to get it to be a near perfect little cricle or until smoke starts to come from the burning point. After you get the magnifying glass adjusted and the wood burning, move the magnifying glass to draw out your picture or desired thing with your harnessed ball of solar burningness!!! Also maneuver the magnifying glass while drawing in order to keep the little ball of light and to keep the burning going.

*Do this in a ventilated area because smoke is being emitted from the wood. Do NOT point this at any living beings or things of some value to someone, no one likes burning other peoples' things down*

*Have water nearby because this presents a fire hazard*

Step 3: My Results

I solar engraved my name and a little design and "Instuctables" with the little robot. These are my first attempts but I'm sure with practice, anyone can get their engravings to look nice.



    • PCB Contest

      PCB Contest
    • Comfort Food Challenge

      Comfort Food Challenge
    • Faux-Real Contest

      Faux-Real Contest

    7 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I have a small projector, I also sometimes use transfer paper


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I'm coming to this late, but...

    would you have more precise control of your burn if you moved your wood under the burning point, rather than moving your dot over the wood and trying to keep the sun focused where you want it?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I bet you can get some really clean designs if you tape off the areas you don't want to burn. Try a couple of kinds of tape.

    Here's the step-up version:


    4 years ago

    Perhaps it would be smart to mention in your instructable that you need some water nearby in case things get out of control. I say that so you can protect yourself. I like the idea.

    1 reply