Instructables
Picture of Laser etched wood coasters
I made these coasters as a Christmas gift last year and an extra set for around the house.  They are a bit time consuming since you'll need to seal them after etching but well worth the extra effort. I made it at the TechShop in San Francisco.

You will need:
* Access to a laser cutter
* 1/4" wood sheet.  I used plywood laminated with cherry from MacBeath Hardwood in Berkeley.  Laminates are cheaper than solid hardwood and you won't see the plywood edges since they'll be charred by the laser.
* Scrap cardboard
* Box of nails
* Exacto knife
* Paint brush
* Wood stain (optional)
* Polyurethane (or other protective sealant)
* 200 grit sandpaper
* Mineral spirits (or other solvent for cleanup)
 
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Step 1: Design your coasters

Picture of Design your coasters
You'll need to design your coasters using vector graphics software like Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw.  You can use the attached file as a starting point.

Start by creating 4" squares with rounded corners that will be the outline.  Add a border inside the perimeter, this will hide the smoke stains from cutting out the coasters.  Finally, add your design in the empty area.  You can create your own or import an image.  If you want a cut-out stenciled look, use a stencil font like Allerta Stencil, remove the fill and set a 0.001pt stroke.  When you're happy with your designs, copy them into a grid the size of your laser bed.
EthanJP10 months ago

How much for a custom one?

I think they came out great! You should enter these in the Holiday Gifts Contest too, especially since you really did give them as gifts :)