Laser Engraving Wedding Menus

I just got married!
You know, the thing you do once in your life, where you spend a whole year (sometimes more) preparing a single day. Well, we did it!

When you have to prepare a lot of things, there’s no reason not to have some fun doing it. And it’s even better when you end up doing something nice.

That’s what I did for our wedding menus, which I’ve been engraving on wood.

wedding menu

wedding menu

In this article, I will describe the process I went through doing that engraving.

The beginning

It all started because I’m looking into restarting a model railway, and I want to gain experience in laser cutting, as it’s an awesome way to build small and precise things easily. So in May, I followed a 2 hours laser cutting training at the local makers lab.

There, an example given was a menu engraved on wood, and I figured “eh, I have this wedding to prepare and I want to learn this thing too. Let’s do both!”

The preparation

Laser engraving or cutting is actually fairly easy. The cutter will take a vector file, and cut on the lines. That’s all!
So my file was actually fairly simple too. I’ve been using Inkscape.


Object to path

One interesting gotcha here.
I was building this document on my laptop, and I had to move it to the makers lab’s computer.
Obviously, they didn’t have the fancy font we’re using on our names. So it wouldn’t have been printable properly.

To solve this, inkscape has an “object to path” feature, which will transform text into lines.
Once the text has been transformed into path, it’s not editable anymore. But it can be used on any computer.

object path

The testing

One of the longest steps has been finetuning the machine’s configuration to get the setup we wanted.
Not enough power in the laser, or not enough speed, and things wouldn’t visible enough. Too much power or too fast, and it would look burned and be ugly.

I ended up trying 5 menus before finding the actual configuration we wanted. So if you’re doing something similar, you should definitely have spare wood for tryouts.

The engraving

Engraving a single menu took around 5 minutes. Multiply that by 20 tables, and two menus per table.
Laser engraving every menu took me one morning (waiting for 5 minutes).

The following video shows the process for one menu.

Let’s do more

Why stop with the menus? As that worked well, I’ve been laser engraving direction signs so people can find the place more easily.



Engraving those signs had it’s whole set of challenges, as we don’t need them to be nice from close, but to be visible 20 meters away.
Each sign took 25 minutes to engrave.


But who said we can’t have fun while doing it?