Introduction: Basswood + Acrylic Material Expiramentation

About: 3rd Year Architecture Student

Experiment with basswood and acrylic layers, light, and distortion by creating a void in the layered wood block and filling it with layers of the clear material. Depending on how and where you create the void, the characteristics of distortion and light through the block will be different. I chose acrylic because of it's optical qualities, and I chose basswood due to it's availability, light color, and beautiful edges after having been laser cut.

Step 1: Procure Your Materials

Two to Three 6" x 24" x 1/8" pieces of basswood

One to Two 12" x 12" x 1/8" pieces of acrylic/plexiglass

Access to a Laser Cutter


The clear material you use can be something other than plexiglass, however be sure that the thickness remains the same as the basswood.

Step 2: Develop a Pattern

Develop a contour-like pattern over the course of 12 layers of basswood. This can be from scratch, through experimentation, or derived from an existing pattern. I developed my pattern through experimentation and trial and error, both physically and digitally.

Determine the dimension of each offset. Remember you have 12 layers, you can make the offset vary or keep it consistent. My project has offsets of 1/16" with a few places that vary from this.

You can use my pattern, or make your own.

Step 3: Set Up Your Laser Cutting File

If you choose to laser cut as is recommended, you'll need to set up a laser cutting file.

You can use the one given in AutoCAD or generate your own.

Step 4: Laser Cut

Laser cut your pieces out of basswood and plexiglass!

Step 5: Begin Layering Your Wood

You can either use the wood as is or modify it's characteristics (like color) to your liking.

Begin to place each layer down, one on top of the other, and glue them down.

Step 6: Begin Layering Your Acrylic

I experimented with the tinted film. First I left it on and determined that, in my case, it looked a little messy and unclean and so i decided to move forward with 100% clear acrylic. The film does create an incredible sense of depth as it's collective opacity gradually decreases when it is layered.

Make sure the pieces of acrylic fit tightly within the wood contours.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

Make sure everything is tight

You can sand down the edges, use a bandsaw, or leave it as is/.