Laser engraving

Laser engraving generates visual and haptic effects on paper surfaces.

Technical background

The surface of the paper gets removed at pre-defined spaces by a laser beam. The depth of the laser burning into the paper can also be defined. The back of the paper stays untouched, because the laser isn’t burning through the paper. Mostly carbon dioxide lasers(rarely UV-lasers, because more expensive) are used.


Laser engraving generates unique visual and haptic effects. It is possible to depict razor-sharp images and fonts three dimensional, meaning tactile on paper. Additionally there are many possibilities to experiment with the printing material, so it’s e.g. imaginable to use paper with different coloured layers.

Application possibilities

Thanks to the very precise procedure there are many different motives and materials feasible to work with. Easily conceivable are engravings on slip cases, invitations, programmes, mailings, etc.


Structure, ingredients and coating of the paper have an essential impact on the quality of te engraving. Colour changes can occur after the engraving. On very light paper the motive can appear brownish , while on darker paper it will appear more light. But using an azotic filling of the laser cabin can avoid combustion traces.  

The stability of the paper will be influenced by laser engraving, so avoid doing it close to folds and edges.


Time exposure depends on e.g. motive size, depth of the laser and coating of the paper. Thanks to short setup-times and computerized control systems the laser is quickly adapted. No mechanical tools are needed, so it’s perfect to use for small editions.

Sources and additional literature

[1] Hille,

Frauke Helene: Veredlungsmöglichkeiten und Spezialeffekte für Bücher und

Broschuren; Diplomarbeit, Hochschule für Technik, Wirtschaft und Kultur Leipzig

(FH), Fachbereich Medien, Studiengang Verlagsherstellung, 2008

[2] Beckmann,

Till; Morlok, Franziska: Extra: Enzyklopädie der experimentellen

Druckveredelung; Birkhäuser Verlag, 2009