Decorative Vector Ornaments: Papercut 082

Decorative Vector Ornaments: Papercut 082

Papercut 082 : Oh dear! I’m in the process of changing over my website host, and have been a week without being able to access my blog!

I’ve moved the old pages and blog posts across to the new host, but there are still a lot of tweaks that I need to make in order to get the site fully working again.

In the meantime, I continued to do my papercuttings every day, so now (belatedly) I am finally able to update the website with my latest papercuttings:

Day 82 of my papercutting adventure (using the “922 Decorative Vector Ornaments” book).

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.

papercut 082 with pen for scale - Kay Vincent - LaserSister

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:

papercut 082- Kay Vincent - LaserSister

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.

Laser-cut Personalised Jewellery Holders

This week I’ve been experimenting with designs for a personalised laser-cut jewellery holder. Free cutting file included for you to try it yourself!

Laser-Cut Jewellery Holder

Here is something I’ve been playing with this week – the design of a laser-cut jewellery holder.

I made one for my mum last Christmas…

As you can see, it can hold lots of different types of jewellery (rings, necklaces, bracelets, watches, earrings). However, it still needs some tweaks.

What I like about it is:

  • As mentioned above, it can hold nearly all types of jewellery. The only exceptions I can think of at the moment are hat pins, scarf pins or brooches.
  • You can see all of the jewellery in one place. It’s not in a drawer or box, so you get to enjoy your favourite pieces like mini artworks.
  • It’s personalised and therefore unique.
  • It’s versatile, so (e.g.) the same horizontal bar can take either hook-type earrings or post-type earrings, and the vertical side bits can hold either rings or bracelets or watches.

Things to improve on the design:

  • Create a way to hang it so that it is held away from the wall, to make it easier to hang earrings.
  • Have a way to store brooches and pin-type jewellery (e.g. a tray at the bottom)

As a very basic version though, this is the design that I used:

If you’ve got a laser cutter and you’d like to have a play with this design yourself, I’ve made a vector file available below.

(Click here for basic jewellery holder design for lasercutting)

Basic jewellery holder design for lasercutting - copyright Kay Vincent - LaserSister 2018

Hope you found this post useful! If you think it might be of use to other makers/designers, please feel free to share the link to the post via Twitter (@LaserSister), Pinterest, Facebook (@LaserSister), etc…

Favourite Laser Cut Souvenir from Venice

A laser-cut souvenir pop-up card from Venice.

My favourite laser cut souvenir so far…

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…

venice laser cut souvenir - front
Venice laser cut souvenir – front

…and then when you open it you get the “wow” of the pop-up effect:

venice laser cut souvenir - inside
Venice laser cut souvenir – inside

Here is a close-up of the inside:

venice laser cut souvenir - close up

This is the back of the card:

venice laser cut souvenir - back
Back of 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!

Laser Cut Fridge Magnet Souvenir

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?:

laser cut fridge magnet - Bucharest Romania
laser cut fridge magnet – Bucharest

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!

Laser Cut Souvenir Fridge Magnet

Laser cut souvenir fridge magnet: I went on holiday away from my laser cutter, and ended up buying some laser cut souvenirs.

Laser Cut Souvenir Fridge Magnet – Belogradchik Rocks, Hungary

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!

laser cut souvenir fridge magnet - belogradchick rocks bulgariaI 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?!

Dover Books: Royalty-Free Laser Cutting Resources

My current favourite resources and inspiration for laser cutting designs. Dover Books royalty-free illustrations.

Dover Books: Royalty-free laser cutting resources

Dover Books: Royalty-Free Laser Cutting ResourcesLaser 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.)

So I ordered a copy of Fairies and Elves Vector Motifs (Dover Electronic Clip Art) from Amazon, and it arrived the next day.

I found three images where I liked different parts of the fairies, and then combined them into one single fairy and added some “Birthday Wishes” text:

laser cut fairy birthday card

Finished design for the laser-cut birthday card:

laser cut birthday wishes fairy card

laser cut birthday wishes card

Here is a link to the “Fairies & Elves Vector Motifs” book.

…and here are some other similar books, but they maybe don’t have vector-format images:

Fairies, Elves & Gnomes

Cupids, Cherubs & Nymphs

Children

 

William Morris Style Laser Cut Birthday Card Designs

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:

William Morris style laser cut birthday card: E
Birthday card design: E
william morris style laser cut birthday card F
Testing a gold “F” design

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.

Stock Images

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.

How to make Personalised Christmas Tree Decorations Using a Laser Cutter

Step-by-step tutorial on how to create a simple Christmas tree ornament for laser cutting.

laser cut simple wooden bauble

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:

Simple Christmas Tree Ornament 01 - changing units

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)

 

LaserSister - Simple Christmas Tree Ornament 02 - create circle

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:”

LaserSister - Simple Christmas Tree Ornament 03 - Change size of circle in CorelDraw.jpg

 

2) Use the Rectangle tool to create a rectangle 15mm wide by 9mm tall

LaserSister - Simple Christmas Tree Ornament 04 - Create a rectangle in CorelDraw.jpg

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)

LaserSister - Simple Christmas Tree Ornament 05 - Change size of rectange in CorelDraw.jpg

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)

LaserSister - Simple Christmas Tree Ornament - 06 Centre the objects in CorelDraw.jpg

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:

LaserSister - Simple Christmas Tree Ornament 07 - Move the rectangle into position.jpg

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)

LaserSister - Simple Christmas Tree Ornament 08 - Create a circle with CorelDraw.jpg

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:

LaserSister - Simple Christmas Tree Ornament 09 - Copy circle in CorelDraw.jpg

*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)

 

LaserSister - Simple Christmas Tree Ornament 10 - Step and Repeat in CorelDraw.jpg

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)

LaserSister - Simple Christmas Tree Ornament 11 - Linking objects in CorelDraw.jpg

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.

LaserSister - Simple Christmas Tree Ornament 12 - centering objects in CorelDraw.jpg

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:

LaserSister - Simple Christmas Tree Ornament 13 - Move object in CorelDraw.jpg

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’)

LaserSister - Simple Christmas Tree Ornament 14 - Copying baubles in CorelDraw.jpg

11) Use the Boundary tool to combine two shapes

Use the Pick Tool to select a rectangle-and-big-circle pair…

LaserSister - Simple Christmas Tree Ornament 15 - Select two object in CorelDraw.jpg

…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)”):

LaserSister - Simple Christmas Tree Ornament 16 - Create a boundary in CorelDraw.jpg

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…

 

LaserSister - Simple Christmas Tree Ornament 17 - Weld two objects in CorelDraw.jpg

You should now have a simple bauble shape, ready for cutting!

LaserSister - Simple Christmas Tree Ornament 18 - Simple Christmas tree ornament for lasercutting.jpg

Now you can put a personal message or an image onto it and make it into a quick gift for someone

LaserSister - Simple Christmas Tree Ornament 19 - Add text to etch onto the bauble for lasercutting.jpg

laser cut wooden Christmas tree bauble

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:

  1. Copyright remains with Kay Vincent (me)
  2. Please attribute me as the copyright owner
  3. 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)
  4. If unsure what any of that means, feel free to ask 🙂

LaserSister – Simple Christmas Tree Ornament

It’s a PDF file, but if that’s no good to you then I have also posted a similar design on Vectorstock.com as a free-for-personal-use file in different formats.

 

Pinspiration: November 2017

Round up of this month’s visual research

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.

laser cut MDF letters for door plaques
Screenshot of Pinterest search for shield initial plaques

I then used this general inspiration about shield shapes to come up with a design for a shield-shaped door plaque (click here for tutorial on how to make a shield door plaque with children’s initials.)

 


 

Have you made anything similar, or seen any good (preferably free) resources that might help other people? If so, please do comment or use the contact form, or tweet @LaserSister

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A is for Alphabet: Laser Cut Initial Letter Door Plaque

Tutorial on how to laser cut a child’s door plaque

laser cut door plaque initial
Small laser cut 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 …

search results for alphabet door plaque
Pinterest search results

… but in the meantime here is a quick project if you are looking for instant gratification 🙂

Basically,

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.)

alphabet door plaque – LaserSister 20171113

alphabet door plaque - laser cut initial shield
screenshot of “alphabet door plaque” file

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?)

laser cut initial letter free project
e.g. of selecting different letter and font

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…)

laser cut initial letter door plaque free project
“S” with hairline outline and no colour fill.

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.)

initial letter S door plaque - free laser cutting resources
trying out different font sizes

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.)

laser cut door plaque initial
Small laser cut door plaque

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.

free laser cutting resources: initial letter door plaque
red circle/hole is optional

7) (Optional) Cut out the blue circle as a test piece, to make sure you have the correct settings for the laser.

free laser cutting resources: initial letter door plaque for children
Optional: cut out test piece

8) Cut out the plaque pieces

laser cut MDF letter and door plaque
Individual pieces cut out

9) Glue the frame and letter onto the backing.

laser cut initial letter door shield plaque
Assembled plaque

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.