How to Engrave Metal by Hand with 2 Easy Ways

There is no easy way to engrave metal by your hands. But it’s not quite impossible at all. Hand etching or engraving on metal using a hand or power tool is a practical art. 

You need to learn and practice over time, which helps you to develop day by day.  To guide you more in these affairs, we’re here to give sufficient tactics and tips on how to engrave metal by hand. So, let us have started. 

How to Engrave Metal by Hand with

How to Engrave Metal by Hand – Step by Step Guide

Here we shared 2 effective methods of engraving on metal by hands. Read the methods carefully and get the work done successfully.

Method-01: Etched Metal Using an Engraving Tool

The engraving tool is the cheapest one by which you can easily etch or engrave the design on the metal too fast. Hence, they’re affordable and fit on one hand; most people feel free to work with this. Anyway, to do so, just follow these below steps carefully for hand engraving. 

Steps-01: Choose A Soft Metal for Practicing

We advised you to choose the soft metal because if you’re starting with the heavy one. There’s a chance to break or hamper them easily. Soft metals are easy to engrave and suitable on your hand to fit and do the job perfectly. Select the low profile material like copper, brass alloys rather than steel or heavy-duty elements. 

Steps-02: Clean The Metal Surfaces

With the help of any damp cloth, do clean the metal surfaces. It is vital due to reduce the grimes and moisture from the metals. You can use any sort of scrubber, mild soap to wash the surfaces. 

On the other hand, if you’re an over-coated metal finish (brass, bronze), you need to re-apply it to maintain the finish’s consistency. 

Steps-03: Draw or Print a Design On the Paper

It’s mandatory for beginners who usually start their engraving journey to easily draw something simple to mimic the metals’ design. A heavy profile or finicky, detailed works makes the task complex for you. Take an art or polyester film and draw the design on it. 

Step-04: Transfer The Design On the Metal

Skip these steps if your metal already has a transparent design. Anyway, to do these steps skillfully, take the scotch tape. Before that, sanding or varnishing the area which you want to etch is a must. Then wait for a minute to let it dry. 

Next, draw a design onto the polyester film. You can use a pencil or color pen here. For drawing unique and wonderful designs, you can search them on YouTube, Google, Instagram, etc. Then cover the drawing area with the tap, gently rub it through your fingernails or any heavy tools. Then remove it from the film. 

Step-05: Band The Metal in Place & Trace The Design

There are mixed results regarding the effectiveness of engraving metal to trace. In short, in this step band, the metal is a good choice for avoiding slipping. It is rather stimulating to engrave the diagram on the metal. Yet you can use clamps, especially vise, only if you want to engrave it correctly. 

Choose a table or any stable place if you’re using any powered tool like a hammer or chisel. Now engrave the design on the metal with the help of your desired tool. On your first attempts, keep trying to trace the straight lines. Once you’ve finished doing them, go for the complex shapes such as J, M, W. When you start to engrave, keep pressure on the point at an angle to sharpen the pieces of metal.

Method-02: Engrave Metal with The Help of a Power Tool

Using any Dremel or router bit will be fitted for the novice. Because they straightly cut through wood. Especially, any table router can be set to reduce the metals and go too deep for ease of work. 

Experts recommend it for tracing signs and another simple wood carving. But don’t forget to wear eye protection when using this tool. Just do follow these necessary steps for doing it professionally. 

Steps-01: Choose Any of the Chasing bit

There are numerous kinds of chasing bits that can only be used for engraving during the design tracing. It usually comes in bull not bits, cylinder bits, tear dropped shape flame bits, etc. These are used to trace different designs, as long as for different purposes. Unlike, 

  • Bull not bit- for tracing hollow surfaces 
  • a tear dropped shape bits- helps to achieve fine control over the standpoint
  • Cylinder bits- significantly used for flat surfaces. 
  • Pear & oval bits- for shaping the surfaces round as well as carving the bumps
  • Taper bits – to achieve services, making concave cuts
  • Ball bits- for making or carving a hollow out a particular area, creating U-shaped gouges.

Steps-02: Place The Design On the Metal

Although it is pretty similar, unlike the first methods, that’s why we skip the details here. But one thing you consider is if you’re not comfortable drawing any designs on your hand. You can print out any diagram on your own, then sell them on metal with the help of ink or paints. This makes work easier and helps to keep the designs in place for a longer duration. 

Steps-03: Turn On the Power Tool & Engrave The Designs

Now, turn on the power tool and keep it down on the metal. Then slowly move it across the entire design—no need to hurry. As you know, power tools will protect your metal from spatting, metal-to-metal rubbing, frictions, and slipping away.  

Due to its super ability to go in-depth to reach the dimensional appearances, you must start with a swallow notch. Then go further the second time if you’re unsatisfied to reach the expectations. 

You can paint the metal if needed. But it depends on you. 

Tips for Mastering On the Hand Carving

All in all, there are mixed results regarding the effectiveness of engraving metals on hand. In brief, the hand is not a good choice for tracing the designs. It was impossible to expertise on these affairs overnight.

Yet, we attached below some tips for reaching the minimum expectations and mastering them, especially for beginners. But one thing you should have remembered is that these are applicable only if you practice regularly. 

To achieve mastering engraving that needs conditioning, you must go according to the process.

  • Choose the wooden handled chisels as they feel better on your hands.
  • If the part that needs cutting is too sharp or narrower, keep lowering the chisel piece instead of lowering your head. Again, keep the chisel angel straight or upward if you need wider or deeper cuts.
  • Add some small adjustments to the tool or hammer to engrave any heavy-duty pattern. 
  • For making the design more even and sharp, use magnifying glasses or a microscope.
  • It’s obvious to keep close tabs on the condition of the chisel points. 
  • To improve more skills on engraving, practice is mandatory to excel in these arts. 
  • Use a tapper to trace out the sharper lines on the border. 
  • Rubbing oil or any lubricant elements will help to reduce friction and extend the tool life. 

Keep in mind that only the correct utilization of tools and proficiency on the pencil will help you attain or break you as a professional hand engraver.  

Final Wrap

To sum up, trying to engrave the metal accessories, little handcrafts, monograms, sentiments for practice more and more. If you do practice more, you need to attain proficiency in drawing. After all, the more you practice, the more copyright-free patterns you can trace. 

There are many kinds of kits available on the market by which you can continue practicing at home. Before that, you can take help from the YouTube videos or do online courses or workshops. 


But we assure you that how to engrave metal by hand only relies on how sharp you finished the tasks and how often you kept practicing on these terms. Unless all your attempts will go in vain.

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