Laser Cut Wood Portrait





Introduction: Laser Cut Wood Portrait


  • 3 mm Baltic Birch plywood
  • 3/4" Plywood for the Canvas
  • Acrylic Paint and Paint brush
  • Polyurethane Clear Coat
  • Laser Cutter
  • Wood Glue


  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator

Step 1: Take a Picture

Open Photoshop

Go to Filter > Filter Gallery > Artistic then select Cut Out

Number of levels (8)

Edge Simplicity (0)

Edge Fidelity (3)

Play around with the slider to get the effects you want.

Note: Background lightning and color of the picture affects the filter result in Photoshop. Try to use natural lightning when taking a picture.

Step 2: Use the Brush Tool to Smooth Out Edges

Shape out all pieces and think of them how it will look like in the wood when cutting.See Here

Remove the background and cut your Canvas same size as your portrait and then paint it black.See Here

Note: You can keep the background if you want but for this guide remove the background so that the portrait showcase the whole person's face.

Step 3: Import the File From Photoshop to Illustrator.

Start Tracing.

Note: Try to use the maximum cutting area of your laser. The bigger the better and easier to trace the pieces and putting them together.

Step 4: Laser Cut and Paint

After Painting just glue the pieces to your canvas

  • It took me around 20 hours to paint individual pieces.(Mostly mixing paints takes the most time.)

Note: Do some samples in small part of the plywood and let it dry and see if the color is good enough for you because when the acrylic paint dries in the wood sometimes the colors comes out differently(discolored).

Step 5: Clean Up

Use a clean sponge and water to wipe off any excess glue.

I use a Polyurethane Clear Coat to protect the paint and it brightens the color.

Previous Work



  • Make it Move Contest

    Make it Move Contest
  • Casting Contest

    Casting Contest
  • Woodworking Contest

    Woodworking Contest

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If you're using Adobe Illustrator (CC versions) you can use the Live Trace option & choose one of the simpler options (e.g. 16 colours) to get your individual colours. Then expand > ungroup. Select one path of one colour, then choose Select > Same > Fill Colour. This will select all paths with the same colour. Then you can group/composite path them (Ctrl + G or Ctrl + 8). Keep doing this for each colour until you have 16 groups/composite paths.

That's nice. I used a similar technique to create a multi-layered 3d wooden design of my face. Yours looks nice with paint.

2 replies

Nice!, did you post it somewhere? I would like to see it.

Amazing!! Voted.

Very cool technique! How long does something like this take to complete?

1 reply

For me 20-30 hours, Since i can only access the materials and tools i need during school hours.