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Here are some cute wooden earrings I made for my wife and daughter for Valentines day.  They loved them :-)

Materials:
  • wood veneer or other thin stock material (get it at Woodcraft or on line, or wherever.  Southern Lumber has a small sample kit -- not very good but it'll do in a pinch)
  • contact cement, spray adhesive, or other glue to laminate 2 sheets of veneer together
  • 4 jump-rings per pair of earrings
  • 2 earring loops per pair of earrings
Tools
  • Laser Cutter (I used the Epilog Helix at TechShop)
  • Pliers for opening/closing the jump rings.

 
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Step 1: Get the artwork, trace it with CorelDraw

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I got this design from my daughter's sweatshirt.  I'm not going to go into the details of tracing artwork here, there are lots of other instructables (here, here, here, etc...) that tell you how to do that.  Basically, you scan or take a photo of your original artwork and fiddle with the trace settings until you get the results you like.

The attached .cdr file has this design in it, pretty much ready to laser.

There are several steps to this illustrated in the photos.  I'll just briefly go over them:
  • Import the photo to CorelDraw
  • Trace the bitmap
  • remove all the colors, leave only outlines
  • Add a speech bubble around the text
  • create a harline outline all around where you want it to cut out.
  • Create a hole for the jump ring attach point.

For this design, you can simply download the attached .CDR file.  

Step 2: Create a mirror-image

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Create a mirror image.  Also, go ahead and create a few copies of each so you can do several at one time.

Step 3: Prepare your veneer

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Take 2 pieces of your veneer and glue them together to make it strong.  I used Weldwood contact cement, but just about any permanent glue should do just fine. 

Be sure to glue the grain at 90 degrees!  Otherwise, you won't gain much strength.

Also, be sure to stir your contact cement first! It doesn't work at all without stirring.  Trust me. :-(

Step 4: Laser the front!

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Now, you're ready to laser the front.

You want to use a combined raster + vector.  The raster will put the drawings on, the vector to cut the outline.

This step is pretty straight forward.

For reference, I used the SJ TechShop Laser 1
  • raster:  600 dpi, speed = 60, power = 30
  • vector:  2 passes at:  100% speed, 50%power, 500 pps

Step 5: Now, the tricky part: raster the back

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The hard part now is that you have a bunch of loose little dinosaurs with blank backs.  I realized, it's quite simple to raster the back and get good alignment:  you create a template.  Here's how to do it.

Take a sacrifical board, tape it down to the laser bed, and vector the back lightly with your reversed design.  (See the image).  This creates a placement template for where to place the little dinos.

Once you create your template, you can simply place each piece down in it's perfect outline.

Before you go and run the laser though, there's one more step!  You must turn off the air assist!  You need to do this because the air assist will blow the pieces all over creation if you don't.  Trust me on this one too :-)

If you're at the TechShop, get a DC to do it.  They don't want you mucking around with the laser settings.
 

Step 6: Ready for finish

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Now it's time to finish those little buggers.  I used epoxy finish to really give them some extra strength.  

go ahead and finish however you like though.

Hang from a wire to dry.

Step 7: Add jump rings and earring loops

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Final step:  just add the jump rings and ear loops.  These are really simple to put on, you just give the jump ring a little twist, slip it on, and twist it back.  

And Voila!  You have a valentines/birthday/Christmas gift for your girl (or guy...).


fufugirl2 years ago
Adorable. I love how clever you are. Smart, involved, talented. The earrings are perfect. Okay, now start making some oar blades, or rowers & watch those babies sell at regattas!

Love you.
ccrome (author)  fufugirl2 years ago
Hmmm. I wonder who fufugirl is? Let's see. oar blades, rowers, regattas.

Mom!?!? Is that you?
rosyred2 years ago
thats so cool
sunshiine2 years ago
How sweet! Thanks so much for sharing your hard work and do have a splendorous day!
sunshiine
ccrome (author)  sunshiine2 years ago
Thanks!