. a list of materials and supplies
. a brief explanation on how to easily and quickly use Adobe Illustrator to create fun shapes. (you will need to be somewhat familiar with Illustrator)
. you will need a laser cutting machine
Step 1: What You Need
. access to a laser cutting machine
. sheets of plexi (size depends on the laser machine)
. thin wire (this is to make ring connections)
. your choice of chains, hooks, leather strings etc..
. permanent sharpie felt tip (optional)
. small mesh bags (optional)
-- you usually can find materials at any crafts supplies store in the jewelry making section
Step 2: Adobe Illustrator
-- if you have a sketch of your design scan it and bring in to illustrator. Find the symmetrical middle and trace half of your sketch
-- if you don't have a sketch you can use pen tool or pencil tool to create half the shape of your pendant using a stroke.
do not close your shape yet
2. If you hold down the pencil tool you will be able to use the smooth tool. This is a great tool if you want to make you design less sharp and rigid. (try using it on a angle and see how it affects it, use it to your advantage if you think you need it, if you don't move on to the next bullet point)
3. now you have your half shape. Right click, choose transform, then reflect. A window will pop up, check preview so you can choose if you want your design to be reflect horizontally or vertically.
4. now your reflected shapes are overlapping, use the black arrow tool while holding the shift key to separate both shapes.
(if you let go of the shift key and the stroke shapes are no longer parrallel then you can use the align to do so after selecting both shapes with the black arrow tool)
5. to join both strokes you will need to use the white arrow tool to select the anchor that need to be joined and hold COMMAND J (or CTRL J if you're using windows)
repeat the same on the other end of the two shapes
6. now that you have a closed shape hit L to get the ellipse tool. hold the shift key to make a perfect circle, this circle is where you will use you metal ring to connect the pendant, the size should be according to your design (don't make it too close to the edge of your shape or your pendant will break easily)
so now you have an idea of making symmertrical shape, but you can do so much more, download or just take a look at the ai file that I uploaded there are more instructions that are essential to prepare your illustrator file for the laser cutting machine
Step 3: Laser Cutting - a Few Pointers
The machine I use
Epilog Legend EXT 75 watts (http://www.epiloglaser.com/
The setting we used for 1/8" acrylic:
consult with whomever is familiar with the laser cutting machine you plan to use.
talk to them and show them your file and make a trial before using you're favorite plexi sheet.
SIZE IS WHAT IS CRITICAL WITH PENDANTS 0.5' IS A BIG DIFFERENCE FOR EARRINGS
(you don't have to use your plexi sheet just print it on paper and test it)
if you have sharp edges on your designs you should make them rounded so that you won't hurt yourself while wearing your pendants (it happened to me, I used sand paper to smooth the edges)
Step 4: Now Your Pendants Are Cut
if you feel that a color is not working, use a permanent sharpie and color your piece, they work great on plexi
apply the wire rings to the pendants
if you're making earrings, connect the ring to the hook
if you're making a necklace, close the wire ring and let your pendant hang on a chain or leather string. choose the length that you find fits best
Step 5: You Can Make Personalized Pendants
(on illustrator click on type, create outlines, now the typography is just like any other shape. remember that engraving should be a different color that the cutting on your file, again consult with laser cutting guidelines).
put it in a mesh bag,
and here's how you can make personal pendants to sell or give as gifts.