Introduction: Recycled Paperboard Personalized Door Name

In this project, we turn a Crown Royal Apple carton into a golden door tag for my son! The gold foil inside the carton reflects any light creating an awesome effect durning the day and night! Normally we would recycle this material, however we got creative!

Comment below with any questions or thoughts!



1. Recycled paperboard - gold foil lined

2. Scissors

3. Tape

4. Ruler or Straight Edge

5. Laser cutter


1. Adobe Illustrator (inkscape is a free version)

2. K40 Whisper Laser Cut Software

Step 1: Recycled Paperboard Material - Crown Royal Apple Carton

First find a paperboard material that is suitable for your project. For this project, we used a Crown Royal Apple carton because my son loves the color gold.

Using scissors, we cut out a 8.5 inch by 5.75 inch section that does not have any embossing or score lines. If there is any memory to the paperboard, flatten it out by placing heavy books on it overnight. When the cardboard is flat it allow for crips edges in the laser.

Step 2: Create Name Design

1. Launch Adobe Illustrator (InkScape is a free program that has similar features).

2. Create an art-board using the dimensions of the cut out paperboard, in this case 8.5 inches x 5.75 inches.

3. Click the 'Type Tool' or press 'T' on the keyboard to enter the name you want to print. For this project, my son's name is Samuel and we used the font Mountecarlo Bold at 190 pt size.

Bonus tip: Some fonts have changes / edits built into them, highlight the letter and a box will appear if the option is available. We changed the 'S' to have a line under some of the letters (see pictures)

4. Create a copy of the final text before going to the next step incase changes need to be made to the original text. This will save a lot of head aches if an error occurs.

5. Now to prepare the text for the laser cutter. First highlight the name, click on 'Type' -> 'Create Outline'. This will create an outline of the imagine where the laser will cut.

6. With the name still highlighted, click on 'Object' -> 'Ungroup'. This breaks each letter into its own moveable section.

7. Now highlight 'amuel' and using the arrow keys, move the section to connect with the 'S'. Remember there needs to be a connection piece to create one tag in the laser.

8. Once the name is one solid section, highlight the entire name, click on 'Object' -> 'Group'. This groups the entire name together.

9.With the name still highlighted, click on 'Effect' -> 'Pathfinder' -> 'Outline'. This eliminates the overlap section and create one continuous name. This is required with cutting or each letter will come out individually.

10. With the name still highlighted, remove the fill and create color the outline black using the boxes in the lower left hand corner boxes.

11. Verify there are not disconnected section and an outline is created. If everything look okay, save the file by clicking 'File' -> 'Save As'. Save it somewhere accessible. Convert the file from an Ai to an SVG, click on save. When the SVG file option box comes up, click 'Okay' as nothing needs to be changed.

Step 3: Pre-paring the File for the Laser Cutter

1. Launch InkScape (With our current laser cutter, it does not support iOS Devices, so we are now on a window's 10 software) InkScape is a free program that same similar functions to Adobe Illustrator and works directly with the K40 Whisper Laser Cutting software.

2. Open SVG file that was saved in the last section.

3. Verify the outline and size did not change. If all look okay, highlight the name, and click 'Fill and Stroke'. Under the fill tab, remove the fill to leave only the outline.

4. Under the 'Stroke Paint' tab, change the outline color to red (Red: 255, Blue: 0, Green: 0).

The laser only recognizes three colors:

Red (Red: 255, Blue: 0, Green: 0) is a vector cut.

Blue (Red: 0, Blue: 255, Green: 0) is a vector engrave.

Black (Red: 0, Blue: 0, Green: 0) is a raster engrave.

4. Once the color is changed, save the file as 'LASER READY' before preceding.

Step 4: Preparing the Laser Cutter

1. Launch K40 Whisper Laser Cutting Software

2. Click on 'Initialize Laser Cutter' to connect the laser and computer. This will also home your laser head.

3. Click on 'Open Deign File' and locate the 'LASER REDAY' saved file on your computer.

4. Once the file is opened in your cutting area, verify there are no errors and name is outlined in a continuous red line.

5. Put the recycled paperboard into the laser cutter and bring the head over to the correct area using the arrows in the K40 Whisper program.

Bonus Tip: When cutting paperboard or material that burns easily, flip it upside down to prevent charing / bubbling on the display side. It also helps if you run a power test on the scrap material to verify the power isn't too high. Invert the design by clicking 'Settings' -> 'Advanced Settings' -> 'Mirror Design'.

6. Once in the correct spot, test fire the laser to verify it is in the correct position (also serves as a homing mark if edits are required)

7. Change the cut speed setting (Laser power: 15.2% Cutting Speed: 17 mm/s). Due to the thin material, the higher speed and lower power settings leave less char / burning marks.

8. Click on 'Vector Cut' to begin cutting out the design.

Step 5: FINISHED! Hang the Name on Their Bedroom Door

The design and the cut is complete! Before hanging it on the door, use a dry cloth to brush the edge of the name, this will remove any char left behind from the laser.

Using double sided Scotch Tape, cut the small stripes (smaller than width of each letter) and place in all four corners.

Final step, hang it on the door!

Cardboard Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Cardboard Speed Challenge