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This personalized animal puzzle is the perfect baby gift. The knobs on the pieces make them easy for little hands to pick up and play with.

We recently made several of these laser-cut puzzles for our friends with new babies. We chose Yukon animals for the pieces, but you could replace them with your own local wildlife.

On the back of the puzzles we laser etched the names of the recipients, to make them extra special.

Step 1: Design

The first step is to make the design for laser etching and cutting. We used CorelDraw, the program used for the laser cutter at our local makerspace.

Choose images for the puzzle pieces. We found photos we liked of northern wildlife.

Open a new CorelDraw file and draw a rectangle the size you want your finished puzzle. Set it to a hairline width so it will be a cut line.

Import the images and then scale and size them. Set all images to the same resolution (we used 300 dpi).

Use "trace bitmap" and minimize the colours. Remove any unwanted parts of the images and the background.

Select each image and use the "outline" tool.

Use the "contour tool" to offset the outline 0.25 to 0.5" from the image. Set this offset outline as a cut line.

Use the original outline, set with a width so it will etch (not cut), to enhance each puzzle piece image.

Adjust the contrast and brightness as required.

Which laser cutting/engraver do you have.
<p>I use the Epilog Fusion at <a href="http://yukonstruct.com/">YuKonstruct</a>, our local makerspace.</p>

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Bio: For more about my costumes, crafts and general craziness, check out my blog: http://modmischief.blogspot.com/
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