Engraving in Calligraphy Tutorial

lettering Sep 24, 2020

Hi everyone! I’m Johana from @JJPaperieCo and I’ll be sharing a few tips on beginner's hand engraving. You can even put your calligraphy skills to the test by engraving IN calligraphy! There are so many ways you can do this, it's all up to you!

Follow along with me below in my step-by-step instructions and create a personalized gift for your loved ones!






  • Engraver
  • White Pencil 
  • Rub-N-Buff 
  • Old brush for applying Rub-n-Buff  
  • Old brush for dusting off any glass residue 
  • Cloth
  • Bottle (or any item you want to engrave)



  • Safety Glasses 
  • We're in the year of COVID so any mask will do! It’s important that you are not inhaling any residue as you engrave!



Step 1: Sketch Your Lettering



Before you make any permanent marks, I recommend sketching out your lettering beforehand. This will allow you to see what your lettering looks like and make sure alignment looks good to go! Use your white pencil, or whatever you have around the house, for this step. If you're using a pencil, it's erasable so if you are unhappy, you can simply start again! 

Because I'm using a wine bottle, I can see where I have the most space to place letters. For this one, I have more space at the bottom so I laid out my letters below. This will vary on the size of your piece (wine bottle, wine glass, etc) but sketching it first is always SO helpful. 

Step 2: Engrave


Once you’re happy with how your lettering looks, you are ready to engrave! Depending on your engraver, you can start with a slow speed and increase it based on your comfort level.

Since you have the sketch all laid out, you can start applying the engraver onto the glass. Start with engraving the first word, completing the full word then move onto the next. It’s important to go slowly if this is your first time engraving and adjusting to each surface.

Something important to remember is that not all surfaces are smooth! 



Step 3: Faux Calligraphy



To create those thick and thin lines, use the faux calligraphy technique. Apply more “strokes” on the downward lines of each letter. Make sure to go downward with your engraver for the downstrokes to get a more clean-cut into the glass. Once you do that you’ll start to notice it begins looking more like calligraphy!


Step 4: Clean Up & Examine


This step is based on how much glass and/or residue your engraver creates on your glass. Feel free to brush off any residue you see after each word that is engraved. In this step, you’ll use your brush to dust off any pieces - these will look like particles and unnoticeable but they are there! 

Then, examine your work and see where you need to do any touch-ups. If everything looks good, you are ready to apply some color! 




Step 5: Applying Rub N' Buff

Pick your color and get your supplies ready! You’ll need your brush (not the same brush you used to get etching particles off) and a cloth.

Open the tube and place a small amount of rub-n-buff on your lettering (a little goes a long way). Get your brush ready and begin applying the color onto your first word.

Do this part as quickly as possible, as rub-n-buff does dry fast. Once you have the color in your letter, grab your cloth and start wiping it off. The rub-n-buff will stick onto the letters! Repeat the same step for your next word. 



Pro tip: If you have any rub-n-buff that won’t come off, re-apply more of the same color and wipe off again! This usually allows it to be removed. 

Step 6:  Admire your work!



All done, WOO! You're officially an engraving master! If you want to go over anything again, you have to re-apply rub-n-buff if anything comes off. The only thing you won’t be able to erase will be the lettering! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and introduction to engraving! Always remember to be safe and have fun! 

Disclaimers: Do not engrave on champagne or any type of bottle with pressure. 



I'm Johana, I'm a calligrapher, engraver, and designer! I recently started my own creative business after 5+ years of working in the media and entertainment industry in NYC. I’m the owner of JJ Paperie & Co and specialize in creating beautiful pieces for special events and custom gifts. I’ll be launching products this Fall for the stationery & home decor lover! While I have no formal art background, I hope to inspire those that are seeking to be creative to create! Find me on Instagram and my website!