Introduction: Laser Etched Wall Calendar

Picture of Laser Etched Wall Calendar

While experimenting with the laser cutter at the Instructables work shop, I became intrigued by the letterpress-like effect of laser etched paper. Wanting to make something that utilized this feature, I decided on a calendar. Filling in etched areas with a pencil adds a uniquely tactile experience and a useful visual cue for remembering important dates. I've attached my original .ai file for anyone who wants to edit the layout or update for coming years.

Step 1: Materials and Tools



Materials:

18" x 24" or larger sheet of card stock paper*
A scrap piece of card stock for testing laser settings
2 binder clips
2 push pins or nails
Duct tape (bonus points for digital camo style)


Tools:

Laser Cutter
Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw


*Etching on lighter colors will yield a natural color contrast as a result of the laser burning the paper's fibers. Darker hues yield less contrast; this can be a fun feature when combined with a contrasting colored pencil as each day seemingly appears from a blank page. If you'd like to see details on the kind of paper I used, here's a link:
http://www.dickblick.com/products/daler-rowney-canford-cardstock/?clickTracking=true

Step 2: Laser Setup

Picture of Laser Setup

Depending on the laser cutter model and paper you use, your settings will vary. The 120v Epilog laser cutter at Instructables rastered well on my 140 lb card stock at 600 dpi with 95% speed and 15% power. You'll definitely want do some test runs on a scrap piece to find a setting that works well.

Once you've found a good setting, load the attached .pdf or .ai file to your computer and get ready to print. Make sure your card stock paper is lined up and flat inside the laser cutter. It helps to run some duct tape along the bottom and right edges of the paper to keep it from bowing during the etching process. Make sure you've got the fan/vent going and start the print. Wait time for me was about 11 minutes.


Step 3: Pickup

Picture of Pickup

Hey, that was easy. You're all ready to pickup your freshly etched calendar. Don't forget to remove your digital camo duct tape (if you can find it). 

Step 4: Hang

Picture of Hang

Clamp on a couple of binder clips, find a good spot to hang, and you're good to go! Use a contrasting colored pencil to fill in the days. Enjoy!

Comments

perfectsleeper (author)2015-07-05

Nice idea, need to make it for the 2016 calendar :)

Mindmapper1 (author)2014-03-01

I use magnets to hold paper and textiles down in my cutter. I got some 20mm magnets from Ebay and 3D printed some coloured holders for them, hey presto, easy to use and easy to find. I keep them attached to the inside of my cutter case.

lmnopeas (author)2013-03-25

Awesome!

timwikander (author)lmnopeas2013-04-01

Thanks Imnopeas!

M.C. Langer (author)2013-03-23

Great work!!! I like it!!! :-)

timwikander (author)M.C. Langer2013-03-25

Thanks again!

M.C. Langer (author)timwikander2013-03-25

You are welcome!

qewt (author)2013-03-25

beautiful!

timwikander (author)qewt2013-03-25

Glad you like!

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