You might have seen our Christmas card from last year (2016). If not, have a quick geez of it here:
Inspired by paper craft and our 2015 card, this time round we wanted to create something along the same lines but ten times better!
Here’s how we did it
The first step we did was to illustrate the different layers of the card. Once there was an overall scene we were ready to start experimenting. We began by converting these layers to shapes that could be cut on the laser cutter, adding some extra tabs to be able to join the two ends together. This was then prototyped on some scrap cardboard.
From this we were able to see which shapes were too delicate and needed to be made thicker for structural support. This was a good first prototype but having said that, we suggest cutting this on the material that you intend to use or something of a similar thickness. This will help to work out the distance between each ring, as the cardboard we used was way too thick between layers.
The length of each layer was probably the trickiest part to work out, and was based a lot on trial and error. This was because our original calculations were much too close together; when assembling the layers we found that the delicate tree branches got caught on other layers and made it hard to insert into each other. For the housing we used a bell jar and measured the base. We needed to also account for the inner ridge, where the glass cover would sit. From there it was a matter of working out the circumference of each layer, and the distance in which we wanted to bring each of the next layers in. Using our second prototype that was lasercut on the correct cardboard (thickness), we used temporary fixings (paperclips and tape) to adjust the sizes of each ring to how we wanted it to sit. We then measured the new circumference accordingly.
Once we had the new lengths of each part, we adjusted our design in Illustrator with the new dimensions. This was then lasercut and carefully popped out of the cardboard. Depending how delicate your design is, we found that using a pin and running it along the cuts of the smaller parts worked well without tearing or bending the cardboard. Once all the parts were ready, we glued them together, and then assembled them in place on the base. For some finishing touches we added some lights and created a little Season’s Greetings message to be cut and etched on clear acrylic. The text of the acrylic sign was spray painted white to add more contrast (this can be easily done by keeping the backing paper on the acrylic after etching).
This card would make a great birthday, anniversary or wedding gift, with the layers being any design you wish. You could use other materials such as patterned paper, polypropylene etc. You could also house this in a jar or no housing at all! If you can’t make it to The Edge to use the laser cutter, you could also recreate something similar hand cutting it using a craft knife. And if you’re feeling particularly courageous you could also take it one step further and pimp out the card by creating a rotating base for the scene or even an inbuilt light to illuminate it and turn it into a glowing lamp. Let us know what you think and share your creations with us!