I wanted to make some wooden lasercut word art for my room, but I thought it would be boring to print a random English word (like "ART") so I decided to create one of my Chinese name, written in fancy Chinese Calligraphy.
Step 1: Download Fonts and Illustrator
Once you've chosen what you want to write, you'll want to download the appropriate font. I found one I liked from a website called freechinesefont.com, which has a large collection of different types of Traditional and Simplified fonts. We'll be working again in Adobe Illustrator, which will need to have its settings tweaked so it recognizes the font you download and install.
You can check out these instructions, or follow the images above; basically, you need to selectEdit -> Preferences -> Type then check the box for Show East Asian Options. I also recommend selecting Show Font Names in English in case you (like me) read Chinese at a kindergarten level.
After adjusting your computer language settings appropriately to type what you want, you should have something like the last image.
Step 2: Arrange Your Characters
I made my name vertical, so as to be properly formatted in Chinese, then I adjusted the Leading space between in the Characters panel until the words overlapped just enough so that they were touching and would not be lasercut separately.
You should play around with these settings to get the version of the characters that you like the best!
Step 3: Create Outlines and Adjust Colors
With all types of Text in Illustrator, you can select Type -> Create Outlines to turn the typed words into vectors. This is especially important for if/when you move onto a different computer to lasercut, as your uniquely downloaded files will not be on the new computer and you don't want Illustrator to throw an error and replace the font with one of the standard Adobe fonts (like Arial). Go ahead and do that your our characters.
Next, you'll want to adjust your colors appropriately so that the shape can be lasercut. You should end up with something like the last image!
Step 4: Stain the Wood
Lasercut your design and stain it for that extra pop! Be careful with the connectors, as they can be flimsy. I had to add some wood glue to add some structural integrity to some parts of my letters that were just a bit too thin to leave alone. It came out really nicely!
Step 5: Final Product
There you go! I put it up in my room, and it ended up looking really great. Hope you guys have as much fun making your own as I did!