Types of Monument Carving Explained

Almost all headstones and markers are personalized in some way.  You will often find an arrangement of special texts, icons and images to help commemorate the life of their loved one.  Monument carvers use a variety of techniques to bring these heartfelt tributes to life.  If you are in the planning stage of a personalized memorial you may come across the following terms – techniques used by monument stone carving companies.



You have probably heard of etching.  Most often used on black granite where it shows up best.  Etching uses a manual or electric tool – either diamond or laser tipped to create fine details in the monument.  With a computer it is possible to recreate complex digital images and photos with etching.  The technique can be used to create large scenes, simple icons, floral designs and more.


Flat / line carving

Using a sandblasting tool the process of flat or line carving uses high pressure to abbraise the stone, creating desired text or images on granite, marble and sandstone monuments.  As the name suggests this does not protrude above the stone and lies flat.

Flat carving is commonly used on flush stone markers.


Shape Carving

Shape carving is used when you want to create depth and texture in a headstone design.  It can be used to add interesting details such as trees, leaves and flowers which create a more 3-dimensional look.  Shaped carving uses a range of sandblasting tools and requires years of experience to master.


When creating a fitting and long-lasting tribute for your loved one, there’s no carving technique inherently better than another.  It all comes down to personal taste and the overall look you want to achieve.  When you know the possibilities you can go to your monument maker, discuss the options and then they can advise on the methods they think best.