Introduction: Laser Cut Napkin Holder

My roommates and I spilled the salt for the last time. Tired of having our salt and pepper always floating around and getting knocked over, I set out to make a holder for them. I also added on a napkin holder for kicks. This now sits on our dinner table, and helps keep everything neat. The extra space in the spice rack is also great for extra ketch-up packets and stuff from take-out.

In this tutorial, I will walk you through how to create your own DIY napkin holder/condiment rack.

You will need the following files. I have provided an Adobe Illustrator file, as that is my primary graphics design program. However, I realize not everyone uses it, so I provided a PDF file. It's an extremely standard file format so your design program and laser software should have no trouble with it.

Step 1: Getting Your Tools and Materials Together


This tutorial assumes you have access to and operator's knowledge of a CNC lasercutter. As each machine's software and interface are drastically different, I'll have to assume that you know how to operate the laser cutter you will be using. The laser I used accepts illustrator files, which is why I uploaded the design as an .ai file. However, I also uploaded the .pdf for people who use a different software. Open the .pdf file in your laser's software, as pdf's are very standard file types and should be accepted by your laser's software.

In addition to a cnc laser cutter, you will need a few quick release clamps or rubber bands.


As for materials, you will need a sheet of 1/4" plywood. A sheet about 12" by 24" will be surely sufficient. You can get one for just a couple bucks at a local hardware store.

You will also need some wood glue. Any wood glue will do, but I used Elmers wood glue. You can also use hot glue or super glue, but wood glue will give you the best results.

Step 2: Laser Cutting the Pieces

I used a Universal Systems Laser Cutter. It has a materials data base in which you select materials and the machine then knows what power/speed/ppi settings to use. I used the material 'general medium woods' and set the thickness to .242 (using my calipers). I will have to assume for this part that you know how to use your own laser cutter, because they vary significantly from model to model.

Go ahead and cut out the pieces from the provided file. Afterwards, collect all the pieces and grab your wood glue and clamps. Bring them all over to your work table and get situated.

Step 3: Assembly

First, grab one of the side pieces. They are the only non-rectanguloid pieces. Apply some glue to the back of it, and attach it to the back piece. These are the ones shown in the second photo. Next, add the middle divider. It looks just like the back piece, but it doesn't have the feet. Add some glue to the fingers and slot it in as well. Next, add the front piece. Its the short rectangle one. Then, add the opposite side piece with some glue.

After this is all said and done, clamp everything together with some clamps (or rubber bands). Once its clamped together, put some glue in the slots on the bottom and place the bottom piece. Set it aside for a few hours to dry. The wood glue will somewhat dry after an hour or so and you'll be able to handle it, but its better to wait 24 hours for a full cure for best results.

There you go, enjoy your napkin holder! I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. If you have any questions or would like to see me make a certain project, feel free to comment. If you want to see similar DIY home improvement projects, check out my profile.

Makerspace Contest 2017

Participated in the
Makerspace Contest 2017