It might not look it, but this was quite a tricky design to cut. The design involved having to leave just tiny links of paper in order to hold the actual physical piece of paper together. So the overall piece got very lacy and delicate towards the end.
I’d cut similar designs to this one earlier on in this project (i.e. even before starting this ‘100 days’ project), but I didn’t really like the results, before. However, now that I’m getting more proficient at cutting by hand (and also at adapting designs so that they can be cut out but still look fairly attractive), the end result is quite close to what I had imagined in the first place:
Plus, it’s another art nouveau-style design, so that quite appeals to me, and it also makes any mistakes less obvious because the curves and swirls in the design make it harder to spot.
Wherever I go my eye is always drawn to laser-cut and laser-etched items, and (as I mentioned in the last post) I was really pleased to see plenty of good quality laser-y products while I was on holiday earlier this month. In fact I was so pleased to see them that I even bought a few laser cut souvenirs.
This is a card that I bought in the Doge’s Palace. It’s got a nice simple front…
…and then when you open it you get the “wow” of the pop-up effect:
Here is a close-up of the inside:
This is the back of the card:
The makers are a bit mysterious – I can’t find them anywhere via the usual search engines – so if you can point me to their website please let me know! You can do that via the contact us page or Twitter (@LaserSister), or Facebook or the comments section below. Thanks!
Following on from yesterday’s post, here is another laser-cut souvenir that I picked up on holiday
Laser Cut Fridge Magnet Souvenir – Bucharest
I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I’d come back from our recent holiday with a few laser-cut souvenirs that caught my eye while we were away. Here’s another one. We visited Ceaușescu‘s bonkers giant palace while we were in Bucharest, and it was amazing and frightening in equal parts.
This piece is a bit more complex than the previous fridge magnet, because it’s also coloured, somehow. I’m not sure how it’s made, to be honest, apart from the shape itself being laser-cut from a sheet of wood. Maybe it’s a transfer/decal applied to the surface of the wood?:
If you know what the process is, please give me a shout – I would be very interested to find out! You can use the contact us form, or Twitter or Facebook or the comments section below. Thanks!
We got back from holiday last week and only just finished unpacking today – and I’d forgotten that while I was on holiday my eye had been caught by several laser-cut souvenirs.
This one is a laser cut souvenir fridge magnet from Belogradchik Rocks, in Bulgaria. Mmmm, laser-y!
I like the way that it has two layers to it. But whoever made it has left quite a bit of scorching/smoke-marking on the front, and I’d be really disappointed if I sold a piece like that. On the other hand, I’m too much of a perfectionist. Weird how it didn’t stop me buying a piece, but it would stop me selling one. Maybe I’ve got things the wrong way round?!
My current favourite resources and inspiration for laser cutting designs. Dover Books royalty-free illustrations.
Dover Books: Royalty-free laser cutting resources
Laser cutters are so versatile that sometimes it’s really easy to get sidetracked, and think “I wonder if I could…” and then start on a whole new series of experiments. That’s how I ended up the other day wondering if I could create a birthday card with fairies on it. I’m not brilliant at drawing though, so I needed to try to find some royalty-free images that I could use as a basis for the designs, where I wouldn’t be infringing copyright and/or stealing someone else’s idea. At times like this, I usually turn to the brilliant Dover Books. They might just as well have “Royalty-Free Laser Cutting Resources” written all over them.
These books are absolutely great to use with art and design projects, including (of course) laser-cut and laser-etched projects. The books are specifically created for artists and craftspeople, to allow them to use the designs in their own projects. Once you have bought the book you may use the designs without having to pay royalties, and – more importantly – without breaking copyright laws.
As it says in the front of most of their books, “You may use them for graphics and crafts applications, free and without special permission, provided that you include no more than ten in the same publication or project…However, republication or reproduction of any illustration by any other graphic service, whether it be in a book, electronic, or in any other design resource is strictly prohibited.”
In other words, you can make artworks which include these images, but you can’t (e.g.) copy the images and sell them as stock images yourself.
The books used to just be in physical format, but in recent years they have included CD-ROMs with the artwork on them digitised as vector images and ready for you to incorporate in your own projects. (And now an increasing number of the books are available in eBook format.)
William Morris alphabet birthday cards. Card toppers. Laser cutter ideas and inspiration.
William Morris Style Laser Cut Birthday Cards
This week I’ve been developing William Morris-style laser cut birthday cards.
After a couple of days’ tinkering, I ended up with some really nice filigree designs of card toppers:
Where to find images and inspiration for your laser cutter
For the letters shown above, I bought the extended licence from Dreamstime, which is a website where you can buy royalty-free photos and vector-based illustrations.
Here are the art nouveau alphabet images that I used. Alternatively, you can enter your own search terms in the box below, to look for specific resources. For example, type “Art nouveau”, or “William Morris alphabet” in the box, and then click the ‘search’ button.
Another great resource that I’ve found for royalty-free designs is Vectorstock.com. They seem to have forgotten to use an apostrophe in the link/banner below, but they still do a brilliant range of illustrations. And because their files are all vector-based graphics, that means that they are usually very straightforward to cut with a laser cutter:
And at the moment (April 2018) both sites are even more useful if you have your own laser cutting business, because they can provide a little bit of extra income on top of your actual laser-cut products. You can either upload some of your own original designs and allow people to buy licences to use them, or can sign up as an ‘affiliate’.
For example, with Vectorstock I uploaded my elephant design so that other people with laser cutters can use it in their own designs. Then every time someone purchases a licence for the elephant, I receive a few cents, but there is no extra cost to the purchaser. Win/win!
Similarly, with affiliate links and referral schemes, you can also receive small payments just for pointing people towards something that they are already interested in. As another example, if you include the banners/ads for these services (like the ones shown above) you could receive a small payment each time someone signs up and/or purchases a licence.
Hope you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget to say ‘hi’ via the contact us page, or to tweet me @LaserSister if you’ve tried any of the above ideas or if you’ve got comments or questions.
Step-by-step tutorial on how to create a simple Christmas tree ornament for laser cutting.
OK, it’s February right now as I write this post, so Christmas is long gone! But that doesn’t matter, because you could be reading this on Christmas Day 2024, for all I know.
Also, if you came here wanting to find out about making Christmas decorations using a laser cutter, then chances are that you will be interested in selling them, too – which means that you will need to start working on them a long time before Christmas, so that your buyers themselves can purchase them in time for Christmas.
This post is a step-by-step tutorial on how to make a mega-simple round bauble shape – e.g. that you could cut from a sheet of wood, and then either etch a message/image onto it, or could decorate it by hand (or give/sell to someone else so that they can decorate it by hand).
I’m using CorelDraw because that was the software recommended for my particular laser machine, but most other vector-drawing software has similar commands and effects (although the commands and menus might be called something slightly different).
Step-by-Step: How to Make a Simple Christmas Bauble Shape With a Laser Cutter
Start a new blank document in CorelDraw.
Mine uses millimetres as the measuring unit. If you want to change that, just click somewhere on the blank document and the “Units” dropdown should appear:
1) Use the Ellipse Tool to create a circle 80mm wide
(Tip: Hold down the Ctrl key at the same time as you are drawing, to make sure you end up with a circle instead of an oval)
If the circle didn’t come out at exactly 80mm, you can change it. Make sure that the ‘Lock Ratio’ button is selected, then type “80″ into the width for “x:”
2) Use the Rectangle tool to create a rectangle 15mm wide by 9mm tall
If you don’t get exactly that size it doesn’t matter, but if you want to use precisely those dimenstions then:
Use the Pick Tool to select the rectangle
Un-select the ‘Lock ratio’ button so that the x and y measurements can be changed separately to each other
Type in “15″ for the x measurement, and “9″ for the y measurement
(then it’s usualy best to go back and re-select the ‘Lock ratio’ button)
3) Centre the two objects
Use the Pick tool to select the circle and rectangle. Then press “C” on the keyboard to make sure both objects are on the same imaginary central line
(You can also go via the menu: Arrange> Align and Distribute> Align centers vertically)
4) Move the rectangle
Use the Pick Tool to select just the rectangle.
Move the rectangle until the bottom corners are just inside the circle:
5) Create a 5mm circle
Use the Ellipse tool to create a circle with a 5mm diameter
(Remember to hold down Ctrl + C to make it a perfect circle instead of an oval)
6) Create a 12.5mm circle
Use the Pick Tool to select the 5mm circle, then duplicate or copy it*.
Then change the second circle so that it is 12.5mm across:
*To make a copy of the design, you can do this by selecting the design then:
using the shortcut of Ctrl + D
… or by copying and pasting (Ctrl + C then Ctrl + V)
…or by using the Step and Repeat menu and clicking ‘Apply’. (If you can’t see the Step and Repeat menu go to Edit > Step and Repeat)
7) Link the two circles to convert them into just one object
Use the Pick Tool to select both circles.
Then press Ctrl + L to link the two objects together to make a ring (this is important for a Step 12 later, when the ring is ‘welded’ to another shape)
8) Centre the ring and rectangle
Use the Pick Tool to highlight the bauble and the rectangle.
Press “C” on the keyboard to centre them.
9) Reposition the ring
Use the Pick Tool to select the ring, then move it down (using the cursor key, or hold down “Ctrl” button at the same time as dragging the object down) until the bottom of the circle overlaps the top of the rectangle:
10) Make a copy of the design
Use the Pick Tool to highlight all 3 shapes (big circle, rectangle and ring), then make a copy of the design.
(As in Step 6 you can do this by copying and pasting or by pressing Ctrl + D, or by using the Step and Repeat menu and clicking ‘Apply’)
11) Use the Boundary tool to combine two shapes
Use the Pick Tool to select a rectangle-and-big-circle pair…
…then use the Shaping Tool to create a boundary
You can find this tool via Arrange > Shaping > Boundary (make sure that you un-select “Place Behind selected” and “Leave Original Object(s)”):
12) Weld two shapes together
Use the Pick Tool to select the ring, then click the “Weld to” button
(If you can’t see the Weld To button, you can find it in Arrange > Shaping > Weld)
Then click on the outline of the bauble…
You should now have a simple bauble shape, ready for cutting!
Now you can put a personal message or an image onto it and make it into a quick gift for someone
Speaking of Christmas – here is a gift for you! I’ve created a free download below for you to use, if you like. Regarding licences and copyright: please feel free to make multiple copies and to sell any items you create with this shape – however:
Copyright remains with Kay Vincent (me)
Please attribute me as the copyright owner
Do not distribute or sell the actual design or file (e.g. by uploading it to stock image sites or using it in collections of clip-art)
If unsure what any of that means, feel free to ask 🙂
Every month(-ish) I do a roundup of what I’ve been researching and saving to Pinterest.
I thought if I listed those findings here (and gave links to them) then these ready-made resources might save other people time and effort.
Hopefully you might even find some inspiration for your own craft projects.
So far this month I’ve created a Pinterest board for the following area of research:
Alphabet: Initial letters to display on children’s doors.
Tutorial on how to laser cut a child’s door plaque
This is a quick and easy way to make a personalised door plaque for children (or yourself!).
As mentioned previously in an earlier post, this is the start of an “A-Z” resource of laser-cutting business tips and information. We’re starting with ‘Alphabet’ because there are so many ways to personalise objects with a laser cutter, and this is a great way to start earning money with your laser machine.
If you’re interested in creating your own designs then Pinterest is great for picking up inspiration from the different types of door plaques …
… but in the meantime here is a quick project if you are looking for instant gratification 🙂
1) Download the free .pdf file below, of “Alphabet Door Plaque”. (If necessary, copy or import the designs into your blank file ready for cutting.)
2) Create your required (capital) letter of the alphabet in whichever font you prefer. (The “K” in the sample file happens to be in a Jasmine font, but please do experiment with your own; maybe the child you have in mind deserves a more delicate, refined-looking font, or perhaps they are more of a straightforward sans-serif person?)
3) Make sure the letter you just created has got a “hairline” width of outline, and preferably no colour filling (this is a lesson I’ve learned from accidentally etching a lot of items instead of just cutting them…)
4) Check that the initial letter will fit inside the frame of the plaque. (This is down to personal preference, really, but as a guide the inside of the frame on the .pdf design is 50mm wide, and the “K” example letter is 35mm wide so it fits nicely inside the frame.)
5) Decide how big you would like the whole plaque to be. The example in the .pdf sample file is 60mm across, but you might like a bigger or smaller version. (Remember to change the size of the backing piece as well as the frame piece, if you are making the design larger or smaller.)
6) Decide whether you would like to include a hole in the piece, for hanging it on the door. If so, then keep the red circles in the cutting design. Otherwise, remove the red circles before you cut the pieces out.
7) (Optional) Cut out the blue circle as a test piece, to make sure you have the correct settings for the laser.
8) Cut out the plaque pieces
9) Glue the frame and letter onto the backing.
10) Paint/spray/decorate/sell the plaque.
If you have found this useful (or if you’ve got any suggestions for making the resources better), or if you’ve created a door plaque yourself, please comment, tweet @LaserSister, or share your photos on instagram.