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These four fast “forge” projects (say that five times fast- lol) will give you the “WOW factor” you are looking for without using up the one thing none of us have enough of…TIME! Bonus…they are perfect for Glowforge newbies!!! I will be covering four of my most popular YouTube/Pinterest pins complete with links to the exact materials you need to get started and the videos to help guide you through the process. Not only are these projects quick but they are inexpensive as well (minus the cost of the laser- but seriously, you NEED to get one of these magic machines)! This post contains some affiliate links from Amazon and Glowforge for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.
Mini Poject #1- Cigar Flask
Mini project #1 is this nifty cigar flask. It is a PERFECT gift for the groomsmen in a wedding, not to mention Christmas is just around the corner, and let’s not forget Father’s Day… or ANY occasion you need something special and meaningful for one of the amazing men in your life!
Cigar Flask Materials:
The flask holds two cigars, two ounces of liquid, a cigar cutter and a funnel – Great deal at under $20
CRC Dry Moly Lube – This can will cover at least 20 projects with careful use.
91% Rubbing Alcohol – This is handy for tons of different craft projects as well as other household uses.
Laser – I use a CO2 Glowforge (This is an investment that will pay for itself in the first few months you own it. Complete crafting GAME CHANGER!) My Link will save you $500 off a Pro, $250 off a Plus, or $100 off a Basic and help me in the process.
Use a soft cloth or paper towel to wipe outside of flask with rubbing alcohol.
Read the safety precautions on the can of Dry Moly Lube. Then, shake well. In a well ventilated area or outside spray the portion of the flask you wish to personalize/etch with a light coat of the Dry Moly Lube. Allow to dry for about 5 min. It will change color from a wet looking black to a dry gray finish that resembles a chalkboard. Then apply a 2nd coat, allow to dry again. Then apply a 3rd coat. Allow to cure for 20 min.
While waiting on the third coat to cure design the monogram or personalization design you wish to use. If you are doing a monogram I recommend researching the basic rules of using monograms correctly. Yes, there are rules for everything. Lol. Canva is what I used to design the double diamond border and initials. I love how easy it is to use and produce professional looking results. Next, the design was saved as a .png file then uploaded into the Glowforge User Interface (UI). I took out the honeycomb tray and placed my flask on a 1 inch thick piece of scrap wood. I manually set the settings at 160 speed and full power, using uncertified material and auto focus to allow the machine to determine thickness. (Nerd note: The laser creates a chemical bond to the metal but does not actually engrave the metal- It marks it with this chemical bond. You cannot use bare metal in a CO2 laser.) The laser took about 8 minutes to etch this design due to the slow speed. Once your design is completed take it out and clean it up with a soft cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol.
Mini Project #2 – Metal Business Cards
These are SUPER CUTE and eye-catching! When you hand one of these babies out you will definitely make an impression that sets you apart from the crowd. They come in a variety of colors like black, blue, gold and the purplish-pink I used. (They offer silver but you would not get the desired results using silver for this project.) I used a simple Canva template to design my cards. Then saved the file as a .png and uploaded into the Glowforge UI but I was not satisfied with the blurry results I got so I imported the .png file into Inkscape and saved it as a plain SVG file and that worked like a charm. I placed my cards inside the machine on the honeycomb tray and used tiny bits painter’s tape to hold them down on the bed so they wouldn’t get blown out of alignment from the air assist fan running while being lasered. Be careful to not have your image on the tape in this project because it will not mark the card as cleanly through the tape. I used the manual settings and set the speed to 700 and the power to 70% on .04 thickness (these cards are so thin I couldn’t even get a reading with my calipers) of uncertified material. The cards took about 5-6 minutes each side per card. I also etched a QR code linked to my website on the back so a simple scan of the card and recipients are able to connect and view our talented tribe!
Mini Project # 3 – Acrylic Color Changing Light
This is a super fun acrylic light that is infinitely customizable. I instantly think kids and holidays but of course there are a lot of offices where this light would cast a professional glow. You only need these two things: Clear cast acrylic sheet which come already masked and ready to laser and the LED light base and that will give you enough materials to make two lamps plus some extra acrylic to play with. One lamp for yourself and a bonus one to give away. After all, the holidays will quickly be upon us.
The fun part is deciding what you want to illuminate. I stuck with my logo for my first light. I am now working on using that same circle template (found on my free files and links page – subscribe to the tribe below and I will send you the password to access the acrylic light template as well as all my free SVG’s, printables, etc.) to create a snow globe light for Christmas. Also I’m working on a cute fall pumpkin light for an upcoming post. To start, use a .png or SVG file which is what my logo was. I had imported the jpg version of my logo into Inkscape and saved it as a plain SVG. Next I drew a cut line to go around the outer perimeter of the logo so the laser would cut out my shape as well as engrave my design. The important part to know is make your engrave image one color and the cut line another. Then I saved the whole thing as a plain SVG. That way you will be able to tell the Glowforge UI what to do with the different colors in your file once you upload it for use with your machine. Settings were easy because just use the medium acrylic settings that are pre-programmed into the machine. It took about 22 minutes total for the amount of detail in this particular file/project. This project is fun and addictive, like eating chips. Bet you can’t just make one!
Mini Project #4 – Custom Clipboards
This project was a “labor of love” for my teacher tribe peeps. I love the ladies I work with at school and we are definitely a tribe. So, as we all went back to work pouring creativity into our plans and classrooms for the new school year ahead I decided to capture the essence of each teacher’s theme on an inexpensive MDF clipboard. I masked the back of each of the boards using self-adhesive paper masking. Be sure to burnish it on well. I use old gift cards as my scraper/burnisher. Then, I researched free SVG files for each type of theme I was trying to create and imported them into Inkscape. There I added design elements of my own or edited the SVG’s to create the look I wanted. Next I then saved each of them as a .png file (and a plain SVG just in case I wanted to go back at a later date and tweak or work with the designs again in the future). I used the .png as my file to engrave the clipboards because I wanted the finished clipboard to look exactly the way I had saved it and to make the placement and sizing easy once the clipboard was in the Glowforge bed. When I was ready to laser the boards I took out the honeycomb tray and placed the clipboards face down (that means clip side down) on a 1 3/4 thick piece of scrap wood that would support the board and allow them to lay completely flat. The clip was placed just above the wood so it would be able to hang down and not keep my board at a slant in the bed like a ramp. The settings I used were 50% power because this product burns easily and full speed. I chose the medium grade draft board as my material choice for this project. Everyone loved them and I wound up with lots of orders and requests.
What will your next “Forge” project be? Have questions or comments? Share them below in the comment box. If you’d like your next project featured in our Reader’s Gallery let me know! We share the love in this tribe! Happy lasering!