Material question: Laser engraving paper: Keep soot where it is?

I’m still using the 200mW laser module, and am very tempted to buy the upgrade for actually cutting thicker paper, but for actually engraving cardstock and leaving the black soot where it is, are there options for keeping the blackened paper sections fixed in place?

In my case, I’m using some relatively cheap, coloured cardstock, where the core of the paper is white, but both sides have been dyed a colour like red, or what-have-you.

Is there a thin glue I could saturate the paper with to hold everything in place?

I don’t want to laminate the paper, as that would add a lot of thickness to what will eventually be bookmarks, but there ought to be options, right?

Just thinking out loud here… maybe spray some hairspray on the paper just before you start? Although that might continue to be tacky for a while.

Wood glue and paper glue are pretty easy to dilute with water, and soak in nicely once they’re thinned enough. Maybe just thin some paper glue out enough that you can brush it on with a paintbrush? The extra water will help it stay unset longer than the hairspray.

My wife (a teacher) used to have an embossing tool. She’d sprinkle some powder over the area, and use what was essentially a heat gun to melt it. By controlling the amount of sprinkles, she could get a pretty thin layer. If you have a DIY heat gun, it should work as long as it doesn’t blow air too strongly.

They make lamination sheets in different thicknesses, between 1 and 10 thousandths of an inch. Surely an extra 2 thou won’t make much different since you’re already using cardstock? Maybe even just laminate the top side for an extra 1 thou?

I know there are times you don’t want at plasticy finish. All of my ideas will alter the feel of the finished product.

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Have you tried double-sided tape? That shouldn’t affect anything and the cardstock would be fixed in place.

Um, wrong kind of fixing. Because I’m using the less powerful engraving laser, the material burnt up by the beam isn’t fully vaporized, so just turns to a nice, black soot, providing an extremely nice contrast to the paper’s colour.

Another forum I’m on suggested using charcoal fixative spray, as it is essentially charcoal or soot to be kept in place. I’ll report back when I’ve tried it.

Oh I completely misunderstood. Thanks for the explanation and please report back :grinning: