How To Inlay Turquoise In Wood

How To Inlay Turquoise In Wood


Using turquoise as a centerpiece of a wooden piece is indeed a fantastic project. Crushed turquoise can make beautiful wood inlays.

You can place it in natural cracks and checks, into tunnels, grooves or simply on the center or at the top of the wooden base.

There are many techniques to do this and this guide will help you with some very simple steps.

Steps to Inlaying Turquoise in Wood

You can work with fake or genuine turquoise stones however each one requires a special technique to inlay in wood. Fake gems are made of glass or acrylic and labeled as fake, reconstituted or even turquoise for inlay.

Meanwhile, genuine turquoise is hard and may even be harder to work with. Real turquoise is very expensive and labeled Kingman or Sleeping Beauty turquoise.

Things you will need

  • Wood base
  • Turquoise piece
  • Gem Glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Knife

Simple inlaying steps to inlay turquoise

Step #1

Choose the wooden material that you want to inlay. It could be any kind of wooden pieces like a souvenir item, wooden jewelry box or a guitar. For your inlay, it is recommended that your turquoise stone should be flat so it would be easy to inlay.

Step 1 How To Inlay Turquoise In Wood


Step #2

Shape the inlay into a simple form so it would be easier to work with. Cut the turquoise using a sharp knife or a router. Place the piece on the base. Use a double-sided tape or glue that takes longer to set. This way, you will be able to trace the form of the turquoise on the base.

Step 2 How To Inlay Turquoise In Wood


Step #3

Trace the inlay on the base using a sharp pencil. With the use of a sharp knife, cut into the traced lines. There are many kinds of knives to use and one of the best ones for inlaying is an X-Acto knife or a sharp hobby knife.

Start by lightly scoring the wood to be able to create a groove in the wood. Run the knife deeper in the wood this way, you can cut the grooves better with a lesser risk of the knife slipping along the surface of the wood and damaging nearby areas.

Step 3 How To Inlay Turquoise In Wood


Step #4

Remove wood from the groove just deep enough to accommodate the turquoise piece. Fit the inlaid piece when you are nearly done. If the groove you made end up slightly shallow, sand the inlaid piece down.

If the inlay looks deep then you must sand the entire wooden surface to create a flushed appearance. Remove the turquoise and cut the wood underneath it.

Use simple hand tools like a router plane, chisel, or sharp knife. You can also use a laminate trimmer or a router to help you make precise recesses in wood without a sweat.

Step 4 How To Inlay Turquoise In Wood


Use sandpaper to smooth out the recessed area. Use sandpaper to flatten the base and the edges of wood as well after most of the wood from the groove has been removed.

Make sure that the pieces fit before moving to the next steps of the project. This is a very crucial step so do not hurry.

Step #5

Sand the edges of the inlay to make a wedge narrower at the bottom than at the top. A fine grit sandpaper will work best for the inlay. Now that you are sure that your turquoise inlay will sit perfectly flushed in the groove, it’s time to prepare the glue.

You may want to mix this with wood dust to cover any gaps between the inlay and the wood. Doing this will also help create a look that the turquoise is a part of the wooden base all along.

You can use any kind of wood glue for as long as it can hold the size of your turquoise stone. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to prepare and cure glue or epoxy to use.

Step 5 How To Inlay Turquoise In Wood


Step #6

Apply glue or epoxy on the back of the turquoise inlay and stick it on the groove or recessed area. Lightly tap the inlay and the wood to help the two pieces stick together. Make the final adjustments. Clean any excess glue between the inlay and the wood.

Step 6 How To Inlay Turquoise In Wood



Turquoise has very striking colors that make it a good inlaying material for a wooden base. It is easy to inlay stones when you have the right base material, the best tools, and the know-how.

You can make great wooden souvenir pieces and other decorative items when you know how to inlay items on wood.