Laser-cut butterfly necklace

I made this necklace for my girlfriend, using the laser cutter at TechShop, San Francisco.  It was a really simple first project and, after one bad cut, I got a result I was happy with.  The cedar has a lovely smell and a nice purple sheen, which doesn't come out so well in the picture.

  • Laser-cuttable wood.  I used LaserBits aromatic cedar plywood.  I've heard stories that cedar on its own is very hard to laser-cut so best to stick to ply unless you know what you're doing.
  • 200-grit sandpaper for finishing.
  • Optional: oil, for finishing.  I used some safflower cooking oil and it seemed to work fine!
  • One length of waxed cotton.  I used brown, 1.5mm cotton that I bought on ebay.
  • One clasp.  I used a magnetic clasp, also found on ebay.
  • Laser cutter.  I used an Epilog 60W machine.  Even the plywood cedar is pretty hard to cut on that machine so YMMV if you have a lower-wattage machine.
  • Vector drawing package.  I used Inkscape and then transferred to CorelDraw, which is what's attached to the laser cutter.
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Step 1: Designing the pendant

Using Inkscape, to draw the outline (which is the cutting line), I
  • set the document size to the size fo the laser cutter bed
  • turned on a 1mm grid
  • freehanded half the butterfly, using the grid only for the endpoints
  • copied and flipped the half-butterfly
  • combined the paths
  • added a circle for the loop at the top
  • using the grid to line it up, added a circle for the hole in the loop
  • combined the larger circle and edited the path to make it all join up.
Then I cloned the shape and edited the path to make the inset, which would become the etched area around the edge.

Finally, I cloned the outer path again and combined it with the inner so that I could fill the space between them and sett he outline of the shaded region to none.
pippi461 year ago
very cute !
I am looking for artist to put on my web site, and love the laser cut technic
Would you contact me at
sabu.dawdy2 years ago
Very cute design!

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