This is my first Instructable, and hopefully one of many more in the future!
In this Instructable I would like to show you how easy is to create some unique Art, art that involves wood and can be hanged on a wall just like any other painting.
Wood is such a great material, and we have found so many ways how to implement it by using all kinds of tools. (Something like potatoes, which we are preparing in all different ways and blending in all kind of meals!?! :) )
This instructable involves laser cutter, and those who are familiar with laser cutters knows that working with this tool is fairly straightforward. The most difficult part is getting to one. But if you can, if there is some workshop near your place, I strongly encourage you to go and try it out. I'm sure all kind of ideas will come to your mind in just a few seconds. And it's such a pleasing thing when working with wood, especially if Laser is involved :)
Ok, lets begin with step one and see how simple this is...
Step 1: Preparing Your Art for Cutting
First you will need to pick your Art. You can choose any famous photo that you would like to engrave on wood, or you can engrave your own painting that you have painted yourself, or use some favorite that has been seating in your living room through your entire childhood.
If it's an art that you posses just take a photo. Or if it's not something you have, find it online and download it.
For example, here I have 3 pictures from the internet, and 2 photos that I have taken from existing Art.
The raster engraving process with the laser cutters works fairly simple. Grater the contrast on the photo, the more recognizable the painting will be on the wood. When the wood is engraved by the cutter, basically it has only two colors, Black & White, engraved (black) and not engraved surface (the wood). So it's very important to create high contrast on your paining, otherwise the laser will try to engrave every color and you'll end with black square where you cannot see anything. In order for this not to happen high contrast it's the only important step of this process.
If your Art already has high contrast you can skip the next step. But if it doesn't, or if you want to make the engraving even more opaque, we can use the help from some photo editing application.
It can be any basic product that's free like Paint or Gimp. Or any advance that you may have like Photoshop.
Let me show you this simple step of how to increase the contrast of your painting in the next page...
Step 2: Increasing the Contrast of Your Painting
Select you dear Art, and open it in your application.
Because the laser really "paints" only in just two colors, black and white, (engraved and not engraved), we can instantly start by changing the colors of our photo to Black and White. By doing this we can better see what will be on the wood as eventual final result.
On the first image you can see that by doing this step, I have various shades of gray. To make this really work increase the contrast so you keep only the details you would like to see engraved. In my case, on the second image I have keept only the Golden Gate Bridge, the two sail boats, a little reflection from the bridge and the boats on the ocean, and a little bit of the clouds.
I have completely eliminated any color, and I increased the contrast by keeping only what would I like to engrave. That's it.
Save the painting as JPG file, and lets go into the next step to see the magic happens...
Step 3: Final Step: Paint Your Engraved Wood
From the images you can see that the engraved art already looks compelling and unique in it's own way. But if you like to add to this, to paint it and add some flavor, there are two ways that I would prefer.
You can paint on the wood that was untouched by the laser, or paint exactly on the cuts and leave the smooth surface of the wood. Honestly I like both methods.
The painting works with any acrylic paint. You can further experiment by adding just one color, for example by just paining the Golden Gate Bridge with red color, and leave everything else as it is. There really aren't any limitations, and you can be creative in your own way.
In the two image examples you can see how I painted one by adding color only to the untouched surface, and on one to only the engraved surface. Both of them works in it's own way.
I hope you liked this sort of 3 dimensional art. You can really light up you living room by using the full bed of the Laser cutter and creating 36"x24" unique Art.
In my next Instructable I would like to show you how to create custom build canvases. Something else that is unique, that moves the boundary of the usual rectangular painting.
Thank you for reading my article!! Feel free to contact me and share your feedback.
If you are interested in my paintings you can chack my online store at marinela-art.com