Besides wishing a loved one a happy 50th birthday, the following card is also meant to deliver their gift of a diamond ring.
- 4mm Play
- 180 gsm sketching paper
- PVA glue, or something similar
- Yellow paper
- Clear Varnish
- Laser cutter
- Craft knife
- Laser cutter software
This instructable assumes that know how to use the above software
Step 1: Creating the Design (part 1)
- Use a vernier caliper to measure the outer dimensions of your ring.
- Decide on the size of your card (in this instance it started out at 105x147mm).
- Use LibreCAD to create the initial layout. I found that using CAD software simplified the process with respect to creating an accurate cutout for the ring.
- Export the layout to an SVG to edit further in Inkscape.
Step 2: Creating the Design (part 2)
- Now use Inkscape to do the actual design i.e. add images, add text, manipulate the fonts and decide what needs to be cut (red), etched (blue) or engraved (filled black). The text was edited so that no letter had any internal pieces that might fall out as a result of the cutting process. To see what I mean by this, have a look at the SVG file (Happy_birthday_lovely_5826.svg) and see the changes that I made to all closed loops.
- In order to manipulate the text it was converted to paths (Path -> Object to path) and then the individual points manipulated.
- Images that where added where converted to gray scale using Gimp, imported into Inkscape where they where traced (Path -> Trace Pixel Art or Trace Bitmap). They were then cleaned up so as to be suitable for laser-cutting.
Adding the fancy border resulted in my overall dimensions increasing.
Please note that before cutting all of the line thicknesses were changed to 0.001 mm. At this thickness however Inkscape is not able to display the drawing. Therefore while developing the design I worked with the line thicknesses as in the attached drawings, changing them to 0.001 mm just before sending them to the laser cutter.
Step 3: Laser Cutting
The only issue that I had with laser-cutting was that my machine did not appear to allow for etching paper (possibly because paper or card is considered too thin). I therefore only used cutting or engraving on the paper/card. This was done by changing the Card-50-inside-papercard.svg and Card-50-back-papercard.svg as follows:
- Changing all the etching to engraving by removing the fill and and changing the outline colour to black.
- Increasing the line thickness from 0.001 mm to between 0.05 and 0.5mm (it is worth experimenting with these thicknesses to see which works best for you).
- Before engraving the "Made for you" on the back, I removed the red box so that the card outline was not cut for a second time.
With the above in mind, cut the following:
- "Card-50-front-plywood.svg" on the plywood.
- "Card-50-inside-papercard.svg" on the card.
- "Card-50-back-papercard.svg" on the backside of the card.
- "Envelope.svg" on a second piece of card.
Step 4: Creating the Card
- Varnish the plywood.
- Apply glue to the plywood.
- Stick the inner card to the the plywood so that when folded the card is formed. Apply pressure and wait for the glue to dry properly.
- Once folded, use a sharp craft knife to trim any resulting excess card (as it was laser cut you would think that there would not be any need for this but this will not necessarily be the case; there may possibly be 0.5 mm excess as a result of the different burn characteristics of paper and plywood or as a result of not folding the card 100% accurately).
- Add any extra decoration e.g. a yellow corner or "made with love" tag.
Step 5: Creating the Envelope
Fold the envelop along the lines shown as green in the SVG file, applying glue to the relevant sides so as to hold it all together. As the card is just over 4mm thick, the envelope needs to be glued such that it forms a bit of a pouch and does not land up being flat like a traditional envelope.
One issue that I did have was that the laser cutting process produced ugly flash backs on the underside of the card. I seem to be able to minimise this by lying two pieces of card on top of each other when cutting the envelope.
Step 6: Final Touches
Write your message and then use the string to thread the ring to the card. Finish off by sealing the card using a wax seal and some yellow sealing wax.
Threading the paper tongue through the double slip proved to be challenging. In order to get this right I cut a piece of card 1 cm wide and pushed it through the slits. I then managed to thread the tongue through by sliding it over the top of this 1cm wide piece.
I did try and make my own seal using a design that I cut on the laser cutter but when it came to applying the seal the whole process failed. I therefore resorted to purchasing the seal and wax from an online shop.