Step 1: Tools
- Exacto knife;
- Stylus with round point or anything with a round point (actually my knife becomes a stylus chaging its point);
- Cutting mat (optional, you can use an old newspaper);
- Light table (optional, you can use a window).
Step 3: Design the image
I decided to try with a simple word "Friend" and the beautiful font Zapfino.
Since the Zapfino has many variants for its glyphs I exploited this feature using different variants of the letters. A software that I have that can show variants is XeTeX, that is free and open-source. Using the fontspec package of XeTeX I created an image with all the variants of the glyphs in the word "Friend," then I chose the best combination, for my taste.
I then modified a little bit the design with Inkscape, that is free and open-source, to avoid enclosed areas. Enclosed areas in the design will be detached when the cardboard will be cut and that is a bit annoying for me. I also thickened the drawing to make the cutting easier.
Step 4: Cutting
Holding the paper firmly on the cardboard with my hand, I started to cut along the boundary of the black regions. The hardest parts are the ones with the higher curvature, you may need to help yourself cutting also from behind. When cutting around a thin part you may break the sheet so hold it firmly with a finger.