Underwater garden plant tag on slate (I love slate now)

I wanted to label the plants in my aquarium, so I tried marking on a small piece of slate I had on hand.

The text on that sign is 1.25" across and very sharp. I was worried the contrast would fade when the stone was wet, but not at all. Slate is my favorite thing now.

Settings posted by others got me into the right ballpark, I ended up on speed 900, power 30, 340 LPI.

Does anyone know where I can source flat slate chips, about .25" thick and roughly 2" x 2" ? Because I need a bucket of 'em now. So many ideas. :slight_smile:


Amazon has your back.


or if you want more reliably flat stuff:



Oh and this:

You can no doubt find it in solid grey if you prefer, then just cut them free from their backings, voila 36 small slate pieces.

EDIT: Daltile has a range of colors in 2-7/8" squares… https://www.build.com/daltile-cs33mscerp/s1319404?uid=3134686&source=gg-gba-pla_3134686!c1376769095!a58723428158!dc!ng&gclid=CjwKCAjwpKveBRAwEiwAo4Pqm7RUMzmTXiZ4rZmTiHKoprFBwcmEuWCXDLXX-Cxingq_ucD40gnhcxoCPCIQAvD_BwE


Thanks @evansd2 those are great ideas! I never would have thought about the flooring product.

The Cohas link is almost perfect, just too big. I wonder if it is possible to reliably break those in half? I’ll have to get some and try, I am sure I can use those stones for something else if they don’t break well.

Got a dremel? A score and snap might work pretty well.

Or break it off rough, and then go to town roughing up the edges all around, and go for a more rustic look overall?

One thing that I might be worried about with flooring… they may seal it, and that might not be good for your fish. I might consider staying away from flooring for that reason now that I think about your application.

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I was thinking about clamping the big piece in a vice and tapping it with a hammer to try and break at the pinch point. If the edge is rough, that is OK because it would be the edge concealed under the gravel. And if that doesn’t work, adding a scoring step might do it.

Good point about chemicals, but the flooring product would still be useful for dry land artsy applications.

I love this plan. Post pics.

It may be a “rustic” pile of chips, we’ll see.

Hammer and chisel. Score it with the chisel blade, then put chisel into the score line and start tapping.

I have always used a flathead screwdriver as a chisel, think that will work? :stuck_out_tongue:

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I have some of uniform gray color and some travertine from a big box store. They came attached to a plastic mesh. For both, I found that putting them in a tub (sink) full of very hot water (heated in a kettle but, not quite boiling – I wore heavy rubber gloves while doing this) melted the glue holding them to the mesh. They lifted right off and I was able to wipe the glue residue right off with a paper towel.

In case that helps anyone …


Oh wow, I love this idea! So the slate would be perfect for garden labels, including water gardens, as well.

Very nice. I have been experimenting with reclaimed slate shingles. I have obtained deep engravings, but not the contrast that you obtained with your settings. I tried your setting and get the good contrast, but with little depth of engraving. I was using too much power to get the high contrast markings.

Did you set the depth of the piece to the exact size or reduce it to get a deeper cut? First time trying a non proofgrade material. My slate is between .14" - .20" so I did it at .14".

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This particular piece was very flat and uniform. On other pieces I try to enter an average height and if it varies by +/- .1" it doesn’t seem to matter much.

The quality of the mark you get is wildly variable, it just depends on the material. The slate-like rock in this item turned out to be perfect, making a very bright mark with no need to remove any material.

I then ordered some slate chips off Etsy and they are worthless, the marks are too low-contrast to be useful.

I have some slate roofing shingles. Your settings have given the best contrast, but still not as good as your first image. Waxing the surface before engraving does give better contrast as it makes the slate darker. However, that may not work well in an aquarium.

From what I have seen, there’s a huge variation in engrave quality on things called “slate.”