I've always wanted to have my very own issue of Amazing Fantasy #15 displayed on the wall. However, even the copies in the roughest of shape fetch a far prettier penny than I could ever justify spending on a comic. I work with wood often, so naturally I decided to make my own hardier version that I'd be proud to display in my home.
Originally I was going to laser etch the Amazing Fantasy cover into a solid piece of wood and then stain it different colors. Not only would that have been even more tedious and time consuming, once stain touches wood it is difficult to remove, thus allowing little room for error. I wanted something that would really pop and catch your eye on the wall so I altered the design to be three-dimensional. This was achieved by laying various species of wood veneer on top of balsa wood to give the illustrations depth, and then finally attaching all of the pieces to a solid wood board that can be mounted and displayed on a wall or bookshelf.
This Instructable requires basic knowledge of graphic editing software and laser cutting.
Step 1: Materials
First things first, you're going to need access to a laser cutter. I recently joined a co-op work space that has one and I've been lasering nonstop. Many large cities have co-op work spaces or hackerspaces with minimal monthly membership fees. Having access to a laser cutter alone makes the membership fees worth it in my opinion. You're also going to need a few other things, including:
I used a board that I had laying around. It was a 1x8" Poplar board that I cut 12 inches off to use as the base.
A good assortment of different wood species is key to making the cover pop. I purchased a pack of assorted veneers from Woodcraft that came with about 30 different sheets to choose from. I wanted to make sure the woods were relatively close to the colors of the comic cover. Originally I was going to use a bluish grey Oak for part of Spiderman but changed it after realizing that that particular veneer was dyed. Dyed veneers do not laser engrave well, so I changed it to Walnut instead. I ended up choosing Mahogany, Walnut, Cherry, Bamboo, Maple, Lyptus and Purpleheart for this cover.
Balsa wood is used to give the cover more depth. For the Amazing Fantasy cover, I wanted Spidey to be the most prominent and farthest out piece, so the veneer is mounted on a 1/8" piece of balsa. The word bubbles, title, and bad guy are mounted on 1/16" balsa.
Since it's mostly small pieces, I chose a fast setting super glue. You have to be quick when placing things, but you won't have to clamp them like a traditional veneer glue.
I used a clear semi-gloss polyurethane to finish and protect the wood. I bought the spray kind so I wouldn't have to brush or hand rub all of the tiny pieces.