DIY Engraving: Gift Ideas – Inspiration for Any Occasion

A silver bracelet with "honor love" engraved on the side.

Anyone can pick out a gift and take it to a professional engraver to have a personal message or a special date inscribed on it.

Does that make a nice gift? Sure, but what truly shows that you care is if you take it a step further. 

Investing the time and effort to engrave a gift all by yourself not only shows that the gift comes from the heart but also allows you to add your very own personal flair to each and every gift.

With DIY engraving, an ordinary gift is transformed into one that is destined to become a treasured keepsake.

What are good gift ideas for DIY engraving? Engraved metal gift ideas include jewelry, utensils, garden signs, and travel mugs. Cutting boards, valet trays, signs, and picture frames make perfect wooden engraved gifts. Other ideas include glasses, decanters, mirrors, wallets, journals, and luggage.

As you read through the following DIY engraving ideas for gifts, you’re sure to be inspired to step up your gift giving with personalized, custom-engraved messages and designs.

What Do I Need to Get Started?

You may already have a favorite engraving tool and plenty of experience under your custom-engraved belt but just need some ideas to get the creative juices flowing.

If that’s you, feel free to jump ahead to the next section.

However, for those of you who are new to the process of DIY engraving and are excited by the thought of making thoughtful, unique gifts, let’s quickly go over what you’ll need to get started on your new engraving hobby. 

Then we’ll jump right in to gift ideas you can create yourself.

Some people engrave using only nonelectric hand tools, but the process is slow, there is a steep learning curve, and the materials you can engrave will be limited. 

Other people use a tabletop laser engraver, like Twotrees DIY Engraver Kit, but although they are really cool, the engravings are typically quite shallow and they won’t work on many surfaces.

The majority of DIY engravers use one of two tools: either an ordinary rotary tool or a rotary tool designed specifically for engraving. 

(I go into greater detail about why rotary engravers are ideal in my article “Is a Rotary Engraver Good for a Beginner?”)

Recommendations

You may already have a multipurpose rotary tool in your toolbox, and if you do, you’re all set.

You just need to use either tungsten carbide bits (for engraving materials like wood, glass, leather, and plastic) or diamond tip bits or burrs (for engraving stone or hard metals).

If you’re in the market for a quality rotary tool, I recommend the Dremel 4000 – 6/50.

It features a powerful motor, three-jaw chuck, pivot light attachment, variable speeds, and electronic feedback to tackle any engraving project you have in mind. 

(My other rotary tool recommendations can be found here.)

There are plenty of rotary engravers available today, but two in particular stand out from the crowd. 

The Uolor Engraving Tool Kit comes with 24 fun stencils, an assortment of disks and blades, 30 diamond burr bits, and a bonus tungsten carbide scriber, so the engraving possibilities are practically limitless.  

The Original Easy Etcher is a light-weight battery-operated engraver that is held in your hand like a pencil. 

Beginners find that engraving with this tool is very similar to writing on paper and is exceptionally easy to work with.

Ten stencils and a replacement bit are included, and thanks to the diamond tip bit, this tool will work on nearly any surface.

Tip #1: Unless your handwriting is flawless, use a stencil!

Tip #2: If you happen to be looking for a gift to give to someone interested in DIY engraving, any of the above tools would be much appreciated.

Now, let’s dive into gift ideas that you can create yourself.

Gift Ideas for Engraving Metal

Metals have different degrees of hardness and thus, will have varying degrees of difficulty in terms of engraving.

Items made of pure gold, silver, tin, aluminum, and copper are considered to be relatively soft as far as metals go and are a good choice for beginner engravers.

Word of caution: It’s not recommended to engrave metal-plated items, as the plating is usually a different color than the underlying metal and will not look attractive when engraved.

Jewelry

A ho-hum piece of jewelry becomes something special when you engrave it yourself.

Of course, watches, wedding bands, and lockets immediately come to mind, but don’t be afraid to think outside of the box for engraved jewelry ideas.

Other jewelry that is great for engraved gifts includes:

  • Charm bracelets.
  • Affirmation bracelets.
  • Earrings.
  • Rings.
  • Necklaces – pendant, choker, collar, and lavalier.

Make Your Own

Making simple jewelry yourself isn’t as hard as you might think. Since you have an engraved gift in mind, you’ll want to be sure that your design includes some form of blank metal.

Blank metal bending bars, like these from ImpressArt, make creating engraved cuff bracelets a piece of cake. 

Small blank pendants can be found on Amazon in a variety of shapes and sizes, perfect for making necklaces, charm bracelets, and earrings.

I especially like this variety pack by Penta Angel that features round, rectangle, teardrop, cat faces, fish shape, and bone shape pendants. 

Useful Items and Decorations

Kitchen knives and other kitchen utensils can be engraved with the gift recipient’s name or with cute expressions such as “Kiss the cook.”

Pet lovers would certainly appreciate custom-made ID tags or uniquely decorated food and water bowls for their pets. More inspiration:

  • Travel mugs.
  • Key chains.
  • Flasks.
  • Belt buckles.
  • Pens.
  • Picture frames.
  • Bottle openers.
  • Tool boxes.
  • Door plaques.
  • Whimsical garden signs.

Gift Ideas for Engraving Wood

Wood signs with the family name or meaningful expressions, such as “Live, laugh, love” make excellent gifts, as do various desk accessories, such as business card holders or pen cups. 

Another idea is to engrave one letter each on small, thin wood rounds to spell out an individual’s name. Drill a hole through each one and add lengths of ribbon to make hanging on the wall easy. 

These look great when left plain, but adding stain or paint elevates them to a whole new level. (Can’t decide? Be sure to read this article.)

More ideas for wooden engraved gifts include:

  • Cheese or cutting boards.
  • Rolling pins.
  • Jewelry boxes or valet trays.
  • Woodworking tools.
  • Coasters.
  • Coat or hat racks.
  • Picture frames.
  • Keepsake boxes.
  • Set of wooden coat hangers.
  • Barbecue tools.
  • Wine racks.

Gift Ideas for Engraving Glass

All kinds of lovely glass gifts can be engraved, but my favorite idea is to custom engrave personal and decorative mirrors to give as gifts.

You could add the person’s name, simple flower and vine designs, stars, hearts, short poems, or affirming messages, such as “Beautiful inside and out.”

Other gift ideas for glass engraving include:

  • Spice jars.
  • Pitchers.
  • Vases.
  • Paperweights.
  • Glass coasters.
  • Wine glasses.
  • Tumblers and other drinking glasses.
  • Shot glasses.
  • Wine or liquor decanters.
  • Dish or hand soap dispensers.

Gift Ideas for Engraving Leather

Leather items are flexible and durable, yet soft to the touch, and have been in high demand for many years.

Gifts made of leather will hold up well for a long, long time when properly cared for, and when you add the personal touch of a DIY engraving, the gift becomes something even more special.

Ideas for leather gifts to engrave yourself include:

  • Wallets.
  • Journals.
  • Keychains.
  • Leather bracelets.
  • Briefcases and luggage.
  • Eyeglass cases.
  • Holsters.
  • Guitar straps.
  • Bookmarks. 
  • Belts.

In a Nutshell

Many, many gifts that you might ordinarily take to a professional engraving shop you can actually engrave yourself as long as you have the right tool and a steady hand.

Gifts made out of metal, wood, glass, and leather make wonderful presents and are generally easy to engrave yourself. 

Really, any gift made from the previously listed materials can be upgraded by adding a name, initials, date, message, or artwork by hand.

Nothing truly speaks of how much you care as when you give of your time and put forth extra effort to make a gift truly personalized. What better way is there to say, “I love you?”