How To Use QR Code Engraving on Different Materials

Over the lifespan of the QR Code, we’ve seen an explosion of innovation—from these revolutionary tools being used in automotive parts tracking to gracing virtually every business, from restaurants to hospitals. 

These unique codes have become the shape-shifters of the decade. You’ll discover the malleable little Einsteins on virtually any print and digital material you can find. And, as they continue to evolve, a cornucopia of creative and marketing possibilities opens up beyond print, blending the world of tech and design in ways we never thought were possible until now. Here, we look at the possibilities beyond printing QR Codes on paper. 

Can you engrave a QR Code?

Yes! Contrary to common belief, QR Codes aren’t just for paper and digital displays. You can etch or engrave them onto wood, metal, glass, acrylic, or even stone. In fact, we implore clients to consider engraving as it boosts QR Code sustainability by eliminating paper from the equation. 

QR Codes are some of the most versatile marketing and information-sharing tools you can find today. Artists can add QR Codes to artwork to create a more interactive experience and offer details about their work; fashion designers or seamstresses can experiment with fabric by printing QR Codes on clothing; businesses can engrave them on wood displays to connect with customers—believe us when we say the possibilities are endless!

Benefits of trying laser engraving for QR Codes

QR Codes have been around for over 25 years and are expected to continue enhancing business processes for many years to come. They’re effective in bridging the gap between physical and digital mediums, and people are always coming up with innovative and creative ways to use them. One such innovation is QR Code laser etching and engraving. Here are some reasons to engrave it:

Aesthetic appeal

There’s something undeniably appealing about engraving QR Codes on materials other than paper—maybe because we’re so used to paper or simply because materials like wood or metal complement QR Codes better. Either way, engraving QR Codes will undoubtedly turn heads and give your product more attention. Incorporate engraved QR Codes into your branding strategy to stand out from the competition. 

Precision and accuracy

Laser engraving is popular for its high accuracy and precision. What you see on your screen when you create QR Codes is precisely what you’ll get on your chosen medium when you choose laser engraving. The high level of detail reduces your risk of constantly dealing with QR Code scanning problems. 

Permanent marking

Tired of reprinting your QR Codes every few months? Try laser engraving. Engraved QR Codes are more durable and resistant to wear and tear than printed ones. This makes them especially suitable for harsh environments, like the outdoors, where you have little control over environmental factors. 

Engraved QR Codes are versatile. This gives you creative liberty when it comes to choosing a material—you can choose more durable materials than paper to enhance your Codes’ lifespan. Add them to wood to create a rustic aesthetic, acrylic for a modern appeal, or metal simply because you want to and can. 

Top use cases for QR Code engraving by material type

The possibilities for QR Code engraving are limitless. You can get as creative as you’d like with your material choice and still end up with a well-functioning QR Code. Here are some top use cases to help get your creative juices flowing:

Wooden QR Codes 

When you meld wood with QR Codes, it transforms into a powerful marketing tool that connects your audience to a vast online world. To top that off, wood is a sustainable choice—not to mention it’s long-lasting, biodegradable, renewable, recyclable, and reusable. Phew. That’s a mouthful of benefits but unquestionably a victorious win for the environment and your business.

There’s also a stylish component to what makes wood an interior decorator’s favorite material. Having a preference for natural wooden tones will complement any space you’re in, so wherever your establishment is, big or small, an earthy finish will make a difference. 

QR Codes work pretty much the same on wood as on paper, so you don’t need to worry about scannability. Consider wood QR Codes if you need a durable and aesthetically pleasing solution that helps you stand out. 

How to use wooden QR Codes

Restaurant owners can use wooden blocks to replace paper menus. Given that the QR Code menu has already claimed its spot in the dining industry, adding a wooden element to your restaurant is a wise business move guaranteed to impress customers. 

Business owners can also use wood QR Codes on business signage, product packaging, and corporate event invitations. This adds an eco-friendly and rustic touch that can boost their competitiveness. 

However, wood QR Codes aren’t just for the business world. Consider them if you’re looking for a new DIY project. You can engrave your WiFi QR Code on wood to give guests instant access to your network or create a wooden chore board with an engraved QR Code highlighting your loved ones’ responsibilities. 

A wood QR Code menu displayed on the door handle at Cozy Cafe.
A wood QR Code digital menu brings an earthy effect to Cozy Cafe. 

Metal QR Codes

If you need a material that can handle heat, metal is the way to go. It’s also malleable, so you can shape it into anything you want. This makes it a compatible match for QR Codes. 

The task is much easier with a QR Code laser engraving machine. These machines can mark QR Codes on virtually any material despite its density or toughness, making QR Code metal engraving a breeze.

A laser engraving machine etches QR Codes exactly as they appear on your screen after generating them, allowing for optimal scannability. Consider engraving your Codes on metal if you want a solution that will last for decades. 

How to use metal QR Codes

There are numerous use cases for metal QR Codes. You can use them for signage in a heat-prone environment, like a factory, without worrying about constant damage. 

You can also use them on business cards and tags in networking events. Metal QR Code business cards and tags are where elegance and innovation meet. Can you imagine the pride you’d feel handing over your personalized QR Code business card made out of metal? Or wearing a sleek metal name tag at your next event? This is an excellent way to go if you want to leave a lasting impression on potential clients and partners. 

Eric Conway at Brixton Business Consulting’s metal QR Code vCard is displayed on both sides of the surface of a wooden table.
A metal QR Code vCard makes saving contact information on your smartphone easier and smoother.

Glass QR Codes

We know what you’re thinking—how can something so fragile be embedded with QR Codes? Simple, using a glass laser engraving machine. This machine cuts through glass, creating a precise QR Code outline, all without breaking the glass. It’s a testament to how far technology has come over the years. 

Adding QR Codes to glass is an excellent way to impress your clients, partners, or even loved ones. After all, a glass engraving isn’t something you see every day. There’s an air of class and sophistication that comes with everything glass, so you’re sure to create a lasting impression with glass QR Codes. 

How to use glass QR Codes

Year after year, brave music artists bare their souls into their next single or album. The next daunting step is promoting their albums. And what better way is there than glass QR Codes?

While a huge part of music has gone digital, many people still yearn for a more intimate connection with their music—where you can see, feel, hear, and touch. 

Skeptical? Over 2 million vinyl albums were sold in the week ending Dec. 21, 2023, showing that people still value physical albums despite almost everything going digital. You can improve the experience of such listeners by engraving QR Codes for musicians on glass album art and selling it along with your music. 

Another option would be to display the album art at your concert, launch party, or gig and ask attendees to scan it for music, information, special offers, etc. You can embed numerous types of QR Codes on your art, including an MP3 QR Code to direct listeners to your songs, an Event QR Code to promote your next performance, a Social Media QR Code to engage with fans on social platforms, or a Video QR Code to share new music or exclusive behind-the-scenes footage. Whichever one you choose will have fans talking about you for a long time. 

The Three Sparrows’ glass album art hanging on a wall next to flowers and a golden light.
Glass album art from The Three Sparrows.

Acrylic QR Codes

Acrylic is widely sought after and used across industries, from events to retail, because of its durability, eco-friendliness, and modern style. Chances are, you at least pass one business establishment with acrylic signs every day. 

Transparent in color, acrylic is an inexpensive glass alternative. If practicality, versatility, and affordability are what you’re looking for, this should be an easy business decision. The icing on the cake is that the material is fully customizable, making it a perfect candidate for QR Codes.

How to use acrylic QR Codes

Acrylic can be used as your blank canvas to create signage that turns heads—at your office, retail store, or stand. An acrylic QR Code sign is the perfect medium for any marketing campaign. So don’t dim your light now. 

Signage is super for creating more brand awareness for your company. And with QR Codes, you can add your logo so your brand is instantly recognizable. Aside from that, using an acrylic QR Code sign connects new customers to online platforms, such as your website, virtual shop, or social media channels. 

Event organizers and gallery owners can also use acrylic QR Codes to connect with guests and provide additional information on their events and products. Further, retail stores can use them at points of sale or checkout stations to facilitate easy payments. 

A woman with her hands on the counter next to an acrylic QR Code sign on display to follow Elle Boutique’s social media pages.
Acrylic QR Code stands/signs are perfect for counters next to a point of sale.

Stone QR Codes

Stones carry the history of the earth within their makeup. As solid as they are, you can still engrave QR Codes on them with diode or CO2 laser machines. It doesn’t matter whether you want to use ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, or granite; nothing is too complicated for professional QR Code engravers. 

And, as with printed QR Codes, expect seamless scanning on your preferred stone. Laser machines have an accuracy of up to 0.0004 inches, so there’s little to no risk of making mistakes that could affect scannability. 

Focus on creating a high-quality QR Code landing page and generating a QR Code that links to the information you want visitors to see, and leave the rest to a professional engraver for the best results. 

How to use stone QR Codes

Engraving QR Codes on stones is a subtle and effective idea for museums, galleries, and memorial sites. Where there’s limited space for displaying information, QR Codes fill in the gaps by providing the visitor with information about the painter, sculpture, or historical event that took place.

You can also add QR Codes to gravestones to help commemorate the life of a loved one. To do so, create a memorial webpage and link it to your QR Code. This way, rather than preparing booklets for memorial services, attendees can easily scan the QR Code and view your loved one’s memories on their mobile devices. 

With a Dynamic URL QR Code, you can update your QR Code’s destination and the QR Code type to share more memories. For example, you can change a URL QR Code into a Video or Image QR Code if you want to share your loved one’s pictures or videos without getting their gravestone re-engraved with a new QR Code. 

Explore a world beyond traditional QR Code printing 

There’s always unexplored territory in QR Code land until one explorer discovers a goldmine. QR Code engraving has redefined how individuals and businesses share information. Today, you can etch, engrave, or mold QR Codes on wood, metal, acrylic, glass, and stone, eliminating the need to confine yourself to paper. 

QR Code Generator PRO lets you create unique QR Codes you can engrave onto any material. You can customize your QR Codes by adding colors other than the typical black and white and using custom frames to ensure your code is visible on whichever material you choose. 

Sign up for QR Code Generator PRO today to push the boundaries of standard QR Codes and make a lasting impression on whoever sees your creation!

Tobias Funke

Tobias Funke is Bitly’s Vice President of Product. With a background in software engineering, he has a decade of combined experience in product development and the QR Code space. Tobias leads a team that developed one of the most successful and popular QR Code generators available. His entrepreneurial and growth mindset helps build products that continuously disrupt the market. You can connect with Tobias on LinkedIn.

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