How to Make Hang Tags (with a laser cutter)
I started a side brand this summer, just for fun. I used to play in a lot of bands back in the day and we all had “side projects” or bands that we did something different with in addition to the one we played with the most. So that’s kind of what BOA (Boulevard of Allies) is to my other business, Rock and Ride.
As a screen printer I have wholesale accounts with many t-shirt manufactures, and plenty of ink. I have a friend that runs a skateboard shop and was complaining that there were not really any affordable brands with low cost gear. I thought I would flex my Tech Shop muscles and make a few things and see how it goes. Knowing that the concept was to do something cool on an absolute shoe string budget to keep prices down and not being one to sacrifice on quality, I made a couple one-color t-shirt designs, then dressed them up with custom printed inside neck labels and attached vinyl cut decals and laser cut hang tags.
I made the hang tags at Tech Shop (Pittsburgh) using their laser cutters. I also used some extra cardstock from extra food packaging I had laying around (free keeps cost down). Knowing this was going to be the route I was going, I used a “cardboard” motif to establish the brand image or association. I also designed the brand logo and lettering to work well as a laser cut design. In hind sight, I really like the logo and kind of wish I would have used it for my main brand.
I made the hang tags in the general shape of a skate board deck and etched in the name “BOA” and Facebook address. Then I laser cut the logo out on one side of the tag and a hole for threading the rope through to connect the hang tag & decal with to the shirt via safety pin.
Step 1: Step: 1
Design the packaging in your choice of vector base design software. Pay attention to settings required to get a good result from the laser cutter you’re using. I sent my cut lines to RGB red with a line weight of .003 and set the engraving area to RGB black.
Step 2: Step: 2
Output / print the design to your cut software (job cutter) in my case. A couple trial runs may be necessary so be sure to have extra material available when starting out. Even if you have done your project in the past, the wear on the lens and machine parts can change the effectiveness so it’s always a good idea to be in the habit or at least expect to make a couple test runs to dial in the settings. Then go ahead and write down your settings in case of a power outage mid-job or to have a jumping off point for the next time you make more. I used the basic paper/cardboard settings, but gave the power a moderate increase and reduced the speed for etching. I like a nice deeper etch and don’t mind the discoloration from heavy burning.
*Note you make want to keep a spray bottle with water nearby, especially when cutting and etching paper products. It’s also useful when working with leather.
Step 3: Step: 3
Cut and remove from the machine, repeating the process until you have achieved at least as many units as you need. I do recommend cutting a few extra if you can afford the material and time.
Step 4: Step: 4
Thread and attach your new hang tags and branding material to your shirts.