Branded coasters for Welsh Oak Frame

Branded coasters for Welsh Oak Frame

Posted Posted in Corporate, Wood

Welsh Oak Frame are award winning designers and builders of beautiful oak frame buildings across the UK. Becky, their Marketing Manager, contacted me in December to ask if I could make 120 oak coasters for a corporate event they had this month.  She wanted them to the same design as I had made for them previously with their logo centred on an oak heart at 100 x 100mm.

Tweaking the logo

Welsh Oak Frame’s logo oak frame part of the logo in white against a shaded background. When the original design was settled on, I suggested that we could either engrave this component as it was, or invert it so that the A frame shape itself was engraved along with the text. We decided that the latter option would look better on the coasters.

Sourcing oak

I had a month to make these coasters, and I knew that my biggest potential problem was sourcing the oak in time. Max McCance is a local furniture maker, and he rips up batons of oak for me to make lovely sanded strips at 6 – 7mm thick, perfect for creating coasters and other bespoke products. Thankfully, Max had the right oak in stock and made the batons for me before Christmas.

Welsh Oak Frame coaster

Making the coasters

I set up the artwork for production so that the outline of the heart was cut through, giving the coasters the tell tale dark edges.

Raster engraving the logo makes the engraving stand out much more than if their outlines alone were vector (outline) engraved. It gives the logo a pleasing 3D effect that feels satisfying in the hand as well as looking smart.

Finishing touches

After production, I sanded the coasters lightly if they needed it. Then I applied coats of oil to protect the oak and enhance the wood grain. You can see the difference it makes in the photo above. The coaster was treated, but the small heart wasn’t.

Each one looks different as the grain in each coaster is unique. That’s the real beauty of wood.


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Oak signs for Milly's Kitchen

Oak signs for Milly’s Kitchen

Posted Posted in Signage, Wood

Last summer, Jill Philips opened Milly’s Kitchen, a new cafe in Cupar. She asked me if I could engrave a couple of oak signs for her with the cafe’s logo.

Artwork layout

Jill sent me marketing files with Milly’s Kitchen logos. She had asked for the signs to be rectangular with the larger one at 880 x 600mm and the smaller one at 650 x 570mm to fit the mounting brackets she would be using.

Jill told me how large she wanted the logo to be on each one and I prepared proofs for her to approve, showing the text areas to be engraved and the surrounding area of the wood left unengraved. We agreed that raster (fill in) engraving of the text would work best and be clearest to read.

As Jill knows Frazer Reid from FAR Cabinet Makers, she commisssioned him to make both of the oak signs. They were designed to hang from brackets on the walls outside the cafe, so she wanted them to be engraved on both sides so they could be viewed from two directions.

Milly's Kitchen

Double sided oak signs

When the oak pieces were ready, Jill collected them from Frazer and brought them to my workshop. I engraved each one with the same artwork on each side, and the video below shows the larger sign in process.

You can see that the areas around the engravings have a brown haze round them. This happens because the resins in the wood burn and it happens with solid wood, plywood and mdf too. It’s easily sanded off before varnishing.

Once they were ready, Jill picked them up for varnishing and installation outside Milly’s Kitchen. She was delighted with them and they looked even better after a couple of coats of varnish.


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Templates for Valorose Tutus and Textiles

Templates for Valorose Tutus and Textiles

Posted Posted in Other, Polypropylene

Susanne Perry of Valorose Tutus and Textiles makes the most amazing tutus and supplies materials for others to make their own.

She contacted me because she wanted to create templates for cutting the edges of tutu netting into zig zag or scallop shapes. They were for her to use in her workshops aswell as selling to customers online.

Suzanne had experimented with acrylic, but had found it unsuitable because it’s inflexible and can shatter when dropped. She decided that she needed a material with some flexibility. It would need to bend with the netting during cutting and be tough enough to survive snipping damage.

Selecting the right material

Finding a robust and flexible material thin enough that could be laser cut was a puzzle.

Any thickness of acrylic would have the same problems, especially if 2mm thick or thinner.

Plywood and mdf’s brown laser cut edges could discolour fabric, and thin mdf could possibly be damaged by snipping.

0.8mm polypropylene would just be too thin and floppy for the purpose, and formica is brittle and could snap easily.

After further research, I came across a different polypropylene 2mm thick. It’s not very pretty, but it’s tough, flexible and marketed as being almost indestructable.  Perfect. Colour range was very restricted, but this wasn’t a problem. Suzanne was happy if it laser cut well and functioned as she wanted.

valorose template

Designing the templates

Suzanne wanted two template sizes and sent me pictures with dimensions for the details. Both templates were similar in size, but one had four and the other had five scallops and triangles on each side. She wanted the scallops to be semicircular rather than shallower curves and the zig zags had to keep their shape in the netting.

I made up artwork and Suzanne approved the proofs. Black 2mm polypropylene gave nice results. It comes with a protective film on one side to protect the surface from the heat of the laser, and when it’s been peeled off, the surface and the edges look great.


Have you got a project that you think we could help you with? Contact us or ask for a quote.

pink scalloped tutu

Did you know that LaserFlair has entered the UK Blog Awards 2018?

Public voting is open until 22nd December. If you enjoy my blog and would like to vote for me, you can do so here. Thanks!

Bonzo's new dog tag for Funbox

Bonzo’s new dog tag for Funbox

Posted Posted in Exhibitions, Perspex

Last Christmas, Kevin from Funbox got in touch with a new idea. Previously, I’d helped Funbox with Perspex yale key eyes for Flossie the funster, a padlock nose for Fluffy the other funster, and skeleton key teeth for them both.

This time, Kevin wanted a new collar tag for Bonzo the Funbox dog laser cut from Perspex. His old one was black and white and made from a material that was curling and delaminating. With the Christmas shows just around the corner, the Funbox team thought that it was high time that Bonzo got a fabulous new collar.

Hot new look

Kevin wanted to keep the style of collar the same. A giant paw print was fun and looked great, but he wanted to spice it up to make it festive.

Ideally, he wanted the tag to have two layers, using different colours with cut outs on one layer to show off the colour underneath. I agreed that this was possible and that having two layers would help with the longevity of the tag. These parts of the Funbox costumes have to put up with a lot of packing and unpacking as well as costume changes during each show.

Kevin sent me artwork for the paw shape he wanted. I was able to trace it to create a vector file for laser cutting, and I added a hanging loop at the top so it could be attached to Bonzo’s collar.

Bonzo's new collar

Layering it up

Kevin bought pieces of 3mm silver glitter and 3mm translucent red Perspex to the workshop. He wanted red paw pads to be revealed through the silver paw outline.

To do this, I had to cut out the overall shape of the paw in the red. Then I did the same with the silver and cut out the pad shapes to create five windows.

This is how the pieces looked after they’d been cut and laid on top of each other.

Like a dog with a new collar

Bonzo was delighted with his new collar. It’s perfect for Christmas and looks very smart all year round.


Have you got a project that you think we could help you with? Contact us or ask for a quote.


Did you know that LaserFlair has entered the UK Blog Awards 2018?

Public voting is open until 22nd December. If you enjoy my blog and would like to vote for me, you can do so here. Thanks!

road safety buzzwire games

Road safety buzzwire games

Posted Posted in Exhibitions, Perspex

FifeX make interactive exhibits, and they were commissioned to create two road safety buzzwire games by Nottinghamshire County Council. They wanted them to use in their road safety workshops.   It was important for the games to be portable and battery powered so they could be used in a range of environments.

Designing the boards

FifeX decided to create the boards out of 5mm Perspex and got in touch to ask if I could laser cut the components for them. They wanted the boards to consist of two layers as you can see in the picture. An upper layer consisting of various shapes was to be secured to the back board in such a way that gaps of a certain width were created between the panels.

Ken and Paul planned to stick metal contact strips to these edges of these separate panels to create the buzzwire element of the game. They chose 5mm Perspex so that the edges of the pieces would have the right thickness to attach the contact strips securely.

Creating the buzzwire games

Paul sent me the artwork for the panels. I cut all the shapes, including holes for the stand offs that would connect the boards. When they were ready, Ken and Paul removed the film on the Perspex pieces. Film protects Perspex from getting scratched during shipping and from the heat of the laser cutting process. Then they added the electronic components and the printed cartoon style scenes showing hazards.

How to play

Users move a ‘car’ or ‘bike’ around the road shaped path through the game. They have to stay in the middle of the road or risk hitting the edges and buzzing! As players progress around the board, the hazards act as points of discussion during the workshops.

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LaserFlair has entered the UK Blog Awards 2018. Public voting is open until 22nd December. If you’d like to vote for me, you can do so here. Thanks!

plastic surgery for Funbox funsters

Plastic surgery for Funbox funsters

Posted Posted in Other, Perspex

Acrylic is a versatile material that comes in many colours and thicknesses, so it was perfect for this ‘plastic surgery’ project.

Funbox is the show of Anya, Gary and Kevin, the stars of The Singing Kettle. It’s all about silly songs and family fun. Their show features Bonzo the dog and the funsters Flossie and Fluffy (pictured) who live in the Funbox. They tour around Scotland dressed up as mermaids and fish, pirates and princesses and kinds of things.

Wardrobe emergency!

Kevin contacted LaserFlair because they needed help with certain parts of Fluffy and Flossie’s costumes. They’d made Fluffy’s yale key eyes, Flossie’s padlock nose and both sets of skeleton key teeth from a material that clearly wasn’t up to the rigours of touring. After only two shows, they were drooping, curling and delaminating, not a good look! They hoped to make replacements out of 5mm acrylic which would be tough, rigid and colourful with a much longer life.

Plastic surgery for Funbox funster
Fluffy the Funbox funster with laser cut yale key eyes and skeleton key teeth

Acrylic eyes, teeth and noses

Kevin found artwork for key and padlock shapes that they liked for the eyes and nose, and other skeleton key shapes that he wanted to base the teeth shapes on. He also sourced the acrylic for the eyes and noses because he wanted to use particular colours. He brought everything to the LaserFlair workshop and together we edited the artwork to make everything the right size. We also created holes in convenient places so the parts could be stitched onto the costumes. Acrylic is a great material to laser cut, so we soon had a colourful pile of eyes, noses and teeth.

Unfortunately, acrylic don’t last forever. So eighteen months on, LaserFlair performed laser eye surgery for Flossie who needed new green yale key eyes. She needs to look at her very best as she tours the country keeping the nation’s kids entertained!


Have you got a project that you think we could help you with? Contact us or ask for a quote.