Hey! Here’s how I made Aplabetong Pilipino: A set of alphabet cards for parents and teachers to aid their kids with while they are learning letters and words!
First off, here are the materials that were used:
- MDF boards (preferably thicker than 3mm, but not too thick or it'll be bulky !)
- Sticker paper
- Wood varnish
Other programs/ services needed:
- CNC machine
- Drawing/Photo-editing program (optional)
- Colored printing
You can make your very own alphabet board with your preferred words and language following these steps:
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Step 1: Designing the Cuts
I used Vcarve for designing the cards. The size I used for the cards was 11 cm by 6 cm. The letters cut are about half the size of the board.
As for the paths, the board was a profile path set at 4 mm deep, while the letters were pocket paths cut 1 mm deep for a 3 mm board.
If you're still new to Vcarve, check out these tutorial videos, they may help you :)
How to draw text on Vcarve: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebppWHrW7Ss
A basic walkthrough: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khh5p7BKGfU
Step 2: Cutting the Cards
Once you have the CNC file ready for cutting, save the paths to a file format the CNC machine you are using can read. You may need to ask help from the operator or lab technician for this part--make sure to have a thick enough board and the correct settings so that the drill bit won't cut all the way through your letter pockets!
I used a 3mm thick board, and some letters got cut through, so I recommend you use a thicker board :)
Step 3: Wood-smoothening
Alright! Here's the labor intensive part--you need to sand all the rough bits of the cards, especially the letter pocket part. Keep in mind that a kid will use this card, so try to smoothen out all rough or sharp areas!
Step 4: Words and Illustrations
This part took me a while, since I drew and colored all the illustrations myself. Feel free to look for and save non-copyrighted pictures that you think would suit your language and target age. After you've decided a word and illustration for each letter, print them on sticker paper.
It should be noted that kids can be very visual learners, so you may go crazy with the colors ! And do choose simple words that the kids you aim to teach are familiar with.
Step 5: Cutting and Pasting
Almost there! Cut the illustrations and words and stick them onto the smoothened mdf boards. Place them right beside the letter.
Step 6: Finishing or Varnishing
If you want the cards to maintain good shape and to prevent them from being too damaged when wet, add a coat or two of wood varnish.
And there you have them! your very own set of alphabet cards :D