Conventional photolithography normally utilizes a photomask for patterning light onto a chemical resist film. Therefore, the accuracy of microfabrication is highly dependent on the accuracy of the photomasks. Fabrication of hard masks involves the use of expensive laser pattern generators and other sophisticated machines using very highprecision stages and the necessary control instrumentation; therefore, an inexpensive strategy is highly necessary for laboratory-level fabrication. As this technology is primarily based on raster scanning of a laser beam, the mask making as such becomes a low-throughput process. A strategy of high-throughput manufacturing of hard masks with laser micromachining using a one-step exposure process of a chromated glass slide through a micromachined aluminum shadow mask is proposed. The features that are finally embedded in the mask are highly demagnified and well focused. Optimization of the laser machining process is carried out by considering all processing parameters. The features are characterized using an optical microscope, a scanning electron microscope, and a self-developed image analysis code. Geometrical methods are used to estimate the average edge roughness and feature size. We have also validated the usage of these masks by performing microfabrication on films made of photoresist. © 2013 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.