6 Beginner Metal Engraving Patterns

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People have been engraving since the earliest human settlements in Sumerian times — a testament to its timeless appeal. Today, this art form serves many practical and useful purposes, including jewelry making, decorative signs, and industrial marking. However, if you’re just getting into metal engraving, you might be overwhelmed by complicated patterns. This guide will help you find simple patterns perfect for beginners learning how to engrave metal. 

How To Get Started With Metal Engraving

Metal engravers combine technology and artistry in the engraving process. Some common tools used in engraving include hand engraving tools, a rotary tool such as a dremel with an engraving bit, or a laser engraving machine. Laser engraving machines allow you to quickly produce precise metal engravings with fantastic results! 

Laser engravers use concentrated light to etch designs onto various metals. Common types of laser engraving machines include CO2 lasers, which are mostly used for non-metal materials but can engrave some metals, and fiber lasers, which are ideal for metal engraving. 

You can choose a small desktop model like the OMTech Polar if you want to explore the hobby or a larger machine if you want to launch a business. Don't forget about protective equipment such as proper ventilation systems and a dust mask. 

polar desktop co2 laser engraver

6 Easy-To-Do Metal Engraving Patterns for Beginners

The sky’s the limit when it comes to metal engraving. However, it's probably best to start with a few easy patterns and slowly add in more complicated ones. Before you know it, you'll be creating intricate designs that will amaze your family, friends, and customers. 

1. Basic Geometric Shapes

Starting with basic shapes is an excellent way to develop essential engraving skills. Geometric shapes include straight lines, circles, squares, triangles, and other polygons. Each of these shapes will help you build proficiency in engraving. 

geometric patterns for laser engraving

The easiest engraved pattern for beginners is a linear geometric pattern. You can create a grid-like pattern using straight lines intersecting at various angles to form a checkerboard or lattice design. You can also engrave a series of parallel lines at different distances. Vary the line thickness or space them unevenly for dynamic effects.

Create circular and curved designs using concentric circles or use semicircular arcs or wavy lines to create a rhythmic, flowing pattern. Or design a repeating pattern using triangles, squares, or hexagons that fit together without any gaps to create a mosaic-like effect.

2. Simple Text Engravings and Lettering

Text engravings and lettering provide a personal and expressive way to add character to metal items. This type of engraving ranges from minimal to complex, depending on the font style and intricacy of the design. 

laser engraved metal name plate

Here are some pattern ideas for text engravings and lettering: 

  • Monograms: A monogram uses two or more interwoven letters, typically initials, to form a symbol. Monograms can be an artistic way to personalize jewelry or decorative items.
  • Inspirational quotes: Choose a short, meaningful quote and engrave it in a minimalist font on plaques, keychains, or tools.
  • Nameplates: Engrave names with a straightforward font on metal plates that can be used for desk nameplates or door signs.
  • Dates and significant numbers: Engraving special dates or numbers, like anniversaries or lucky numbers, can add a personal touch to bracelets or pendants.
  • Lyrics and poems: Short lines from songs or poems can be engraved in a flowing, easy-to-read script, ideal for personalizing gifts or keepsakes.
  • Coordinates: Engraving geographic coordinates of a meaningful location is a unique way to capture memories—perfect for pendants or cufflinks.

3. Nature-Inspired Designs

Nature themes can be adapted to fit any style, from minimalist and modern to detailed and traditional. Nature designs connect you with the natural world, bringing a piece of the outdoors into everyday objects. Here are some ideas for nature-inspired patterns: 

floral patterns for laser engraving

  • Floral designs: Flowers are a classic choice in engraving. Easy designs include singular flowers like daisies or roses.
  • Tree designs: Trees can be depicted in many styles, from a basic outline of a tree silhouette to a more detailed rendering of a tree with individual leaves and branches.
  • Landscape scenes: Create miniature landscapes, such as mountainscapes, forest scenes, or ocean waves. Start with simple horizons and progress to more detailed scenes.
  • Celestial bodies: Incorporate the sun, moon, and stars into your designs. You can go with crescent moons or more elaborate star patterns.

4. Beginner-Friendly Illustrations

Line illustrations are a fantastic way to build confidence and skills in metal engraving. These illustrations often use clear lines, straightforward shapes, and recognizable subjects. 

fruit pattern for laser engraving

Apples, bananas, or carrots are fun, recognizable shapes. Potted plants or basic flower pots can be more detailed than individual fruits but still manageable for beginners. Hobby-related illustrations, such as those associated with musical instruments, sports, and holidays, have a broad appeal and can be a great start for engraving metal.

5. Animal Patterns

Animal patterns in metal engraving can range from simple silhouettes to detailed depictions of fur, feathers, and scales. If you start with easy designs, you'll be able to grow your library of options by gradually building up the complexity.  

animal silhouette for laser engraving

Animal silhouettes are an excellent starting point. They require a focus on the overall shape without getting into the complicated texture or finer details. Consider animals with distinctive outlines, such as a cat sitting with its tail curled, a howling wolf, or a dolphin jumping. Birds in flight can also make striking silhouettes on metal objects. 

6. Scroll Patterns

Scrolls are a classic motif in engraving. Although complex scrolls are challenging, basic ones are accessible for beginners. Start with a basic scroll shape, which resembles a loosely curled spiral or the letter "C" extended into a curl. This basic shape is the building block of more complex scrollwork. Once you master it, you can move on to more complex designs. 

scroll patterns for laser engraving

An S-curve scroll is essentially two single scrolls mirrored and connected at their ends, forming an "S" shape. This pattern is slightly more complex but still accessible for beginners, particularly on flat surfaces. You can also use single scrolls or S-curves in a repeating pattern to create elegant borders. These can frame stone settings or be used as decorative bands on bracelets or rings.

Get Started Today and Develop Your Metal Engraving Skills

By starting with simple designs, you can build your skills and get more comfortable with your machine engraving. OMTech builds top-quality machines for everyone from hobbyists to industrial users. Use our fiber marker machines for engraving metal, and our CO2 machines for engraving other materials as well. Create custom pieces with OMTech!

Our economical prices for our top-of-the-line products ensure that everybody can explore the creative world of laser engraving. Contact us today to find the best machine for you!