It’s been a few months since I engraved my dog’s granite memorial… But I remember it like it was yesterday.
It was an emotional roller coaster.
On one hand, I was very excited to be engraving a beautiful granite memorial to honour my dog’s memories…
Yet, on the other hand, I was very nervous and scared of screwing up the engraving and ruining such a beautiful stone…
My father was a headstone engraver in cemeteries for 40+ years, so he taught me exactly how to engrave the memorial from start to finish.
You can watch the engraving process in this short 3-minute video below…
STEP #1 – Preparing the image for the engraving process
This part didn’t make it into the video, but before a granite memorial can be engraved, the photo has to be professionally edited.
I wish it was just a matter of converting the photo into a black & white format. Unfortunately, the photo must be manually altered in a dozen of ways.
The photo of my dogs had a lot of adjustments to be made…
Just to name a few… The background had to be removed… My dog’s furr had to be highlighted… And shadows had to be added in the grass…
These little details make a HUGE difference in how the engraving shows up on the natural stone…
If you skip this step (and sadly, many engravers don’t do this because it’s such a time-consuming task), then the engraving ends up looking faded.
Personally, I’d rather spend the time and make sure I do the best work I possibly can… After all, I’m going to keep this memorial for the rest of my life.
STEP #2 – Engraving the pet memorial
The engraving itself is done with a special, and very expensive machine that can cost upwards of $10,000 which is designed to engrave granite.
By the way… This is the same machine that is used to engrave headstones for humans in cemeteries. So the quality it produces is outstanding.
Most other engraving companies uses laser. I’m not a fan. Laser is great for quickly engraving a variety of materials, like wood, ceramic, paper, plastic, etc. However, on granite, it only burns the very stop layer of the stone which results in very shallow engraving.
This machine is different. It uses “Diamond Impact” which means it physically hits the granite with a diamond needle at the rate of 200 times per second.
This results in a much deeper and brighter engraving (compared to laser)… The drawback is it takes a lot longer…
It took 1 hour 30 minutes just to engrave this one memorial… And that doesn’t include the time to set-up the machine, cleaning the stone and highlighting the stone.
In my mind, the higher quality engraving it produces is worth it.
STEP #3 – Highlighting the engraving
After the engraving process is completed, I cleaned the stone with compressed air to remove any dust residue…
Then, there’s the option of highlighting the engraving with a little bit of paint. (This is optional.)
The problem with natural stone, is when it gets wet, it soaks up the moisture and the stone gets darker. This makes it very hard to read in the rain or if the stone ever gets wet (say, near a sprinkler.)
So I decided to add a bit of highlight to the stone… Not so much that the engraving is completely white, more of an off-white colour that compliments the natural color of the granite.
I simply rub it on the stone and then wipe it off with a rag… It naturally soaks in where the engraving was done and wipes off the polished areas of the granite.
That’s pretty much it!
Here’s what the finished memorial looks like…
What do you think?
Personally, I think it turned out beautifully… I plan on putting my dog’s granite memorial in one of my gardens on top of their cremation urns… This way, I’ll be able to see them whenever I go outside and remember the good times we shared together.
Due to the success of my endeavour with engraving my own memorial for my dogs, I decided to launch this website and offer this as a service to other pet owners who may have lost their beloved pet recently.
If you’d like me to engrave a memorial for your pet, please visit our Pet Memorials page, you’ll see at the very bottom various shapes of granite memorials you can choose from and order.