Making With a Laser for the Curious
Artist/crafters/makers go by many different titles but have one thing in common, their desire to continually look for that next extraordinary project. Whether it is an item made for someone else or a design to beautify their own home, that next project might not be a learned or comfortable craft. We are all comfortable at what we do presently but it takes some courage and intrigue by the user to branch out and seek alternative ways to make different crafts or enhance/develop what they do presently. Expanding the scope of your crafting/making is essential to stay current and updated. There are plenty of tools, instruments, mediums, and machines to choose from when you are ready to take that next step or leap towards making/crafting stardom! One tool you may not have thought of or are curious about is a laser printer!
There are many different types of lasers that you can purchase to enhance your crafting/making capabilities and a laser is a wonderful addition to your craft arsenal. Lasers can run from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars and they can sit on your desktop or fill up a room. But what can you use your laser for? How can it help you take your crafting/making skills to the next level?
Let’s make something!
Lasers can cut, engrave and score (lightly engrave). Wood, glass, leather, tile, metal, paper, felt and many other materials can be use in a laser. Curious about what you can make with a laser? Wondering if it is worth creating lasered items for your business or just want to make fabulous items for you and your family? Let’s start by making a simple box using the 3 main features of a laser- cutting, engraving and scoring.
First you have to make your design or get one off of Creative Fabrica’s website! I use plenty of their items in my business and I am even a contributor.
Secondly, you will need a design software program to your ideas and designs. There are many different design editing software programs you can use to do that range from free to a monthly fee. Finally, you have to get the image into your printer machine program. With mine, all I do is drag it over. It is that simple! Lasers are complicated inside but as technology evolves, they are making them easier for anyone to use. The graphic and user interfaces are where the simplicity lies.
Now you have to make your machine/printer work for you. In the title picture above, you can see the laser in action. See, it isn’t scary? They are very safe!
Here are the cut pieces I pulled from the printer. As you can see, I have used all 3 ways the laser’s capabilities. Blue is engrave, Green is cut, and Red is Score. This laser image was actually pulled from Creative Fabrica. Doesn’t that come out nice on wood? This actually took 6 minutes to cut on my laser.
Put it together
Lasers can cut, engrave and score so intricately, something that you cannot do by hand. Here is a 4- layered bear project that I completely designed and completed with my laser. Notice the fantastic cuts and beautifully detailed lines. The first one is off the printer with beautiful brown lasered edges. The second is painted with craft acrylics and now you can really see the details pop! What colord would you paint this bear? Or would you stain it? Or just sand it down and give it a name like Kenny or Bubba?
So now that we have our pieces cut, we just have to put the box together! Wood is so versatile that you can paint it, stain it, sublimate on it, or just keep it bare like I did with mine. This box was actually created by me on a free program available online. The box just gets snapped together, add a little wood glue for support and shazam – a nice little box! This box can be made larger or smaller, depends on your needs! When the wood is flat in your machine, you can engrave on all sides, do cut outs, it is really left up to you and your imagination!
Some of the fears about laser is safety and cost, and rightly so. Lasers are built safe and effective and you can see people using them around kids and animals without issue. Cost is another worry but if you can meet the expense, you can usually pay off your laser rather quickly. I have heard of some full-time makers paying theirs off on three months! Other items I have done in my laser is “engraved” metal, engraved and cut leather for guitar straps, purse straps, bracelets and book covers, made jewelry out of leather, wood and acrylic, cut and scored paper for birthday cards, engraved a glass vase and made 5-foot name signs for the bridal industry, both out of wood and acrylic!
I have been working with my laser for over a year and it has gone from making crafts to making a full-time business for me, just as many others have done. You can make the designs you created or buy them from places like Creative Fabrica and others. A laser takes what you have in your head and helps make it into reality. No matter why you make/craft, what you make is your uniquely yours, but if people happen to like it and an to pay you for it, well, that is icing on the cake!
So now you can see what kind of things lasers can do. If you are ready to explore the world of lasers, do some investigating, talk to others, join online and social media groups and see what others are creating. As you know, most crafters/makers love to help out and share their experience and most offer help for free! There are thousands in the same place you are, wondering if you too can use a laser for your craft/making and the answer is YES! Now go out there and discover the world or lasers!