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145: Laser Christmas!

December 28, 2012

This post is coming to you live on tape from my parents’ living room in Grand Prairie, TX.

During my project creating the standpipe covers, I fell in love with laser cutting. It’s definitely the most fun you can have while cutting something out. Plus, it’s easy and quick. Both of these are qualities I look for when making Christmas gifts, so I guess it’s going to be a laser Christmas this year.

I ran down to the local art supply store and picked up some thin walnut and yellow hardwood, and got to designing.


In the outlines above, I cut the left piece out of yellow wood, but I wanted to be able to attach an earring back, so I made a second layer out of walnut. The red lines are etch lines, so I can line up the top layer better.

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And this is what I ended up with. My finger is included to show the scale, although I have big fingers, so the overall effect may be a little off.

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In the above picture I’ve painted the right one’s surface has a thin coating of polyurethane. It makes the dull yellow into a shiny gold.

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The completed triforce earrings (backs not pictured) were gifted to the zeldiest Zelda fan I know. Jami, who also received the DDR earrings last summer.

Side note: I may have mentioned these cafeteria trays before. They may not be the ideal photography background, but they are among the most useful tools I’ve ever purchased. Glue doesn’t stick to them, they’re burn-resistant, and they’re an instant lap-table. If you have the opportunity to buy some old cafeteria trays in the future, do it.


Speaking of nerds, does anyone know what this is a picture of? If you’re like most people, you thought, “Nope,” or maybe, “A signature?”

But if you’re one of my brothers, you probably screamed “Derek Jeter’s Autograph!” And that’s because you’re nerd. A sports nerd.

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I’ve already mentioned that, in my childhood home, Derek Jeter (shortstop for the New York Yankees) is basically equivalent to Jesus. I don’t understand it, but I knew they’d appreciate it. Of course, neither of my brothers have pierced ears, so this signature earring was gifted to one of my sisters-in-law instead.

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I lacquered it up real good, but I ultimately decided that it was too thin and fragile, so I redesigned and went back to the cutter with this image:jeter2

Red lines are etches, so the outline is doubled up, and the actual cut out of the earring is thicker, and stronger.

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Before (top of the picture) and after (bottom of the picture)

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I made a lot of earrings this year for Christmas, and everybody who got dangles also got studs. The above studs were cut out using the below paths.etch-earring

I made other earrings, but I pretty much ripped the designs right off Etsy and Pinterest, so I don’t feel like I should show them here 🙂


At about 1 PM, the afternoon before we left town, Megan said, “I have an idea!” And it was, unfortunately, a good idea.

5 hours later, we were in route to the laser cutter for the 3rd time that week. And when we were done, we had made this:

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A custom picture frame, showcasing my parents, their 3 sons, and the sons’ 3 significant others. The Hepworth Bunch!

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The most difficult part, by far, was gluing the stupid little inside pieces of the letters. Still, it was totally worth it.

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And I was able to incorporate a kickstand for the frame using cut out notches.

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One more picture, because we’re proud of it.


The last gift on the list was a special one.

My dad is running for mayor of my hometown, Grand Prairie, so I gave him the city in advance of his win.

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That’s Grand Prairie, Texas. It’s weird shaped. I owe a thanks to Wikipedia for providing a SVG ready to edit. The hash marks are a lake that cuts through the town.

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There’s a large hole in the south that is technically not part of GP. So I inlaid some walnut.

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Here’s the mayor with his city!

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I marked major highways and the approximate location of our house.

…and that’s it. Huge thanks to Metrix Create:Space, for the laser cutting!

A laser Christmas to all, and to all a bright light!

16 Comments leave one →
  1. icearrow88 permalink
    December 28, 2012 8:08 pm

    I do love my Triforces (I can’t even think of a good pun right now). Thank you! Frickin’ lasers, that’s awesome.

  2. December 28, 2012 8:10 pm

    Omg, the frame is so great.

  3. December 28, 2012 8:10 pm

    Good job.
    Speaking of cafeteria trays – My mother gave me several many years ago (Left over from a school where she taught.) I use them for everything – under plants, craft and art projects (keeps pieces parts together as well as a good working surface)

  4. Susanna permalink
    December 28, 2012 8:53 pm

    Oh my glob I want some laser cutting in my life.

    • December 29, 2012 9:20 pm

      Yeah, you really should do some of this. You’ve got Illustrator, right?

  5. Aletha Hicks permalink
    December 29, 2012 1:27 pm

    Will you be my son?

  6. December 29, 2012 9:40 pm

    Woah, those earrings HyRULE!!

    Terrible Zelda pun made. My job here is done.

  7. December 30, 2012 6:44 pm

    I’m so jealous of all the cool stuff you make. And also giving someone the city is way cooler than giving them the key to the city.

  8. February 17, 2013 3:54 am

    This is fantastic! Really amazing the things you can make 🙂

  9. Felipe permalink
    April 21, 2013 7:08 pm

    Where did you get the “things” for the earrings? (those things that goes through the ear)

    • April 21, 2013 7:11 pm

      Earring backs are available in a lot of stores. I went to a local bead shop.

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