Introduction: Easy Wooden Ornaments

Picture of Easy Wooden Ornaments
UPDATE: if you like these but don't have access to make them yourself, you can buy them from me here

It is very easy to create beautiful, natural wooden ornaments. This method can be used to create these ornaments out of an assortment of materials, and using several different construction methods depending on what you have available to you:

  • Laser cutting
  • CNC milling
  • Scroll / Band saw
  • Hobby saw (by hand!)

Laser cutting is the simplest, but I'll go over the extra steps needed to use a CNC machine.

I used several types of 1/8" hardwoods to make these; specifically African Mahogany and Walnut.

Step 1: Create Your Star / Snowflake Design

Picture of Create Your Star / Snowflake Design

I used this convenient Snowflake Generator I made to create this Chicago star design. You can also use it to create way more complex shapes though! Then you can simply download it as an SVG file.

Step 2: Create the Notch for Interlocking

Picture of Create the Notch for Interlocking

Open the design in a vector editor such as Illustrator or the free alternative Inkscape which is available for all operating systems. Then you need to create a notch halfway into the design. The width of the notch has to be the width of the material you are using.

For my 1/8" wood, I made a 1/8" notch in the star that went down to the middle of the star. If you want the file I used specifically, you can get it here.

Step 3: [Milling Only] Generate Tool Paths

Picture of [Milling Only] Generate Tool Paths
I use the web based MakerCAM to create the g-code toolpaths for my Shapeoko 2 CNC machine. It is very simple:
  1. Upload the SVG file by going toFile -> Open SVG File
  2. Click on the shape and go to CAM -> Profile Operation
  3. Input your bit size, material depth and feed rate settings, and click Ok
  4. Click CAM -> calculate all
  5. Click CAM -> export gcode

Step 4: Make It!

Picture of Make It!

Laser cutter

Bring your vector file into the laser cutter software and make two identical copies.

CNC Mill

Use the gcode file created in the last step to mill two copies. I use the Universal G-code Sender to send gcode files to my Shapeoko 2.

Cutting it by hand

If you are making a simple design like mine, it is fairly straightforward to cut the design with a scroll saw or with a jewelers saw.


zposner (author)2016-12-10

Laser cutting may be a better technology for cutting them.

billgeo (author)2014-07-26

I made those out of pplexiglass last year! They look great!!!

mdeblasi1 (author)2013-12-17

I have one comment,
I am suddenly so excited!

mdeblasi1 (author)mdeblasi12013-12-17

been playing with "Snowflake Generator" for hours now. ..

plkap74 (author)mdeblasi12013-12-30

Haha I'm glad you like it! And yes acrylics would work really well for this too, and they are much easier to cut on a laser cutter

elizabeth55 (author)2013-12-16


action pig (author)2013-12-15

Love the ornaments! Beautiful job.

I'm thinking about buying the Shapeoko 2 - how do you like it? I'd love to hear your thoughts, it looks great but I haven't seen one in action yet...

plkap74 (author)action pig2013-12-15

Disclosure: I work closely with the Shapeoko project, and I think that it absolutely rocks. It is a project though, you know, because it is a kit. But in terms of cost vs. craft/design/fabrication opportunities it opens up I think it is great.

plkap74 (author)plkap742013-12-15

If you have any specific questions about it absolutely feel free to private message me! I'd love to help out.

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