Creating a wall hanging is a very simple yet rewarding project. I made it at TechShop (http://www.techshop.ws) which is a great location for making anything from art pieces to intricate parts.
To start out, you will need to decide what size, color, and type of wood you will use. For my project, I used birch purebond wood which I stained dark red mahogany.
Step 1: Preparing the Image
First, you need to find a fretwork style image and alter it to make it ready for laser cutting. This part will likely take the most work of the project. You will need to alter your image so that it is a line drawing so you can vector cut it using the laser. To do this, I used Gimp, a free program (any photo editing software would work,) to reduce my image to black and white. A little bit of cleaning up was required. Once you are happy with your image, import in a program such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW. Now you can use the "trace bitmap" feature to create a line drawing. You may have to play around with the options until you get the desired outcome.
Step 2: Cutting Out the Image
This step is the simplest to do. Print your image (I used coreldraw) to your laser cutter. Adjust your settings to vector cut wood, I used 90% power/10% speed/500Hz frequency. After you have the preferences set, click OK and sit back and enjoy the smell of burning wood! I had to perform several passes since the Purebond wood proved to be more difficult to cut than other types of wood.
Step 3: Hang It!
Now that you have done all the hard work, find a nice place to display your work of art. There are countless possibilities as to what you can create. Whether it's fretwork, a Welcome sign, or a piece you inlay into something else, you will be able to make it using this simple method.