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

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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.

Creative uses of our waste

Creative uses of our waste

Posted Posted in Artists, Other

All sorts of waste is generated from LaserFlair projects. Sometimes, customers ask if they can take some for creative projects and I’m always delighted to help.

Print making

Marysia Lachowicz, a local artist, asked me to help her with a project to celebrate the Polish paratroopers stationed locally during World War 2. She spotted the formica offcut mountain in my workshop, leftovers from cutting shapes for Tom Pigeon’s Form jewellery range.

When Marysia asked if she could take some to experiment with, I told her to take as much as she wanted. She’s been back several times since. Last time, she brought Margot Hailey, another local artist, who makes prints with them. Marysia and Margot love all the cut out detail, and the sheets are perfect for printing with as they’re so thin. They also took some polypropylene sheets from cutting stars and baubles for Spandex Sign Systems. You can see the geometric shapes in the prints above and below. These ladies are some of my most regular bin rakers!

Margot Hailey print
One of Margot Hailey’s prints

Children’s art activities

Earlier this year, I engraved some signs for Jupiter Artland. Jasmine spotted my plywood sheet offcuts from making stars, moons and unicorns for InkPaintPaper. She said they’d be perfect for their Little Sparks art classes for small children. Jasmine sent a couple of photos of the children using the sheets as templates.

Jupiter Little Sparks
Jupiter Little Sparks at work

Art school students and teachers

A year ago, Eva Jack was a final year textiles student at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. Her final year project was to undertake some research into and produce a collection of new materials with a focus on functionality, experimental process and sustainability.

She wanted to make these new materials by using waste from existing manufacturing processes, and wondered if I had any she could have. So we had a chat on the phone about what I had, and she promptly got on the bus from Dundee and took as much as she could carry.

 

If this sounds just up your street and you’d like some offcuts for creative projects, please contact us. There’s always plenty to spare.

Branding fishing rods

Branding fishing rods

Posted Posted in Anodised aluminium, Other

When I was engraving fly fishing reels for Simon Barnes of Simba Rods, he asked if I could try branding fishing rods with his logo too.

He showed me some fishing rod butt ends, the metal discs that fit over the handle ends. They were made from anodised aluminium in silver and black, just like the fishing reels that engraved so well. Being flat and smooth, they would probably engrave well. It was worth a try! And if it worked, he told me he had more that he could post down to me.

Test engraving a fishing rod end

While Simon was visiting my the workshop, we decided to test engrave one of them. They’re only about 15mm in diameter, so the engravings would be very small.

First, I resized the logo to fit the diameter of the but ends. I did this in vector format to ensure that the quality of the artwork would remain high. Pixellation in small logos engraved on metal looks terrible.

The next challenge was to hold the butt ends in place whilst engraving them. They are so small that they have to be secured to make sure they don’t move during engraving.

BluTac is a wonderful thing. I put a lump on a slate piece and pushed the butt end in gently until it was secure. Then I lined it up with the laser and pressed the start button with my fingers crossed!

It worked first time. Although small, the logo came out perfectly. Simon was delighted. He’d wanted to find a way to brand his rods as well as the reels, and now he had a way.

Simba rod end

First production run

When Simon got home, he packaged up the sixty butt ends in his workshop and posted them to me. There was a mixture of black and silver anodised aluminium pieces like the one I test engraved, and some other domed metal ones.

All the 49 anodised aluminium ones engraved well. You can see one of the black ones after engraving in the picture above.

Unfortunately, the other metal parts didn’t take the engraving at all, with or without Thermark metal marking paste, so they were returned unmarked and undamaged by the attempts. Metals are very sensitive and can behave differently due to their composition and impurity profiles, but it’s always worth a try just in case.

I sent the ends back to Simon within a day. He had some rods that he was about to post to customers abroad and he wanted to put his new butt ends on them.

 

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

Medals for Blackhouse Watersports

Medals for Blackhouse Watersports

Posted Posted in Other, Wood

Tiree Surf Club and Blackhouse Watersports hosted the 2017 Gathering of Clans surf competition in September this year. Iona from Blackhouse Watersports asked if I could make some medals from plywood for the winners.

Medal design

Iona wanted the medals to be 50mm in diameter with their logo in the middle. ‘The Gathering of the Clans surf competition, Tiree, 2017’ was to be engraved around it, and a hole made for the ribbon.

Blackhouse Watersports sent me their logo for engraving some signs earlier this year. I set up the artwork so that the logo was 30mm wide in the centre of a 50mm circle. As the small text at the bottom of the logo (cold water surf Hebridees) was too small to engrave clearly, Iona agreed that it was to be expected when reproducing the logo at such a small size and said that it wouldn’t be a problem.

Holes for the ribbons had to be at the top of the medals, so I arranged the text with a space at the top of the medal that was a perfect fit for the ribbon hole which I made at 10 x 4mm. My artwork software allows me to fit text to chosen pathways, so I used the diameter of the medal. Text point size was chosen to make it the right size for a good fit. Then I centred it so the text was symmetrical.

Gathering of the Clans winners

Making the medals

Iona approved the artwork proof I sent to her, and we agreed that 3mm plywood would work well. The most vulnerable part of the design was the ribbon holes. Plywood is so good so work with because it’s so strong as it contains laminated layers of wood, so I knew that they would be robust enough with 3mm between the holes and the circumference.

Once I had the go ahead, I made 40 medals and sent them to Tiree. The competition was a huge success, the weather was great, and everyone had a fun day!

 

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

Ochil Ultra trophies

Ochil Ultra trophies

Posted Posted in Other, Perspex

Ben, the Race Director of the Ochil Ultra, got in touch in August. He wondered if I could make bespoke trophies for the race which was to be held on 30th September 2017.

The Long Ochil Ultra is a gruelling 50 mile cross country race that follows the Core Path Network from Stirling to central Perth. At 30 miles long, the Short Ochil Ultra starts 20 miles into the 50 mile race at Glen Devon and ends with the Long race in central Perth. Keep It Simple, the company that Ben runs with his dad to deliver chip timing services to running, cycling and triathlon events, organises the race.

Ochil Ultra artwork

Designing the trophies

Ben wanted the trophies to be based on the Ochil Ultra race logo. He liked the idea of using green Perspex to match the shade of the logo and he wanted them to be free standing.

Ben sent an artwork file of the logo and a drawing showing where he’d like 1st, 2nd and 3rd to appear. As the bottom of the logo is curved, he added that he wanted the trophy bottoms to be flattened off so that they’d sit well and not rock.

Initially, we looked at using 10mm green Perspex as it’s the thickest I can cut. We wanted the trophies would be wide enough to sit on their edges. Unfortunately, it was hard to find 10mm green Perspex. There were lots of shades to choose from in 3 and 5mm instead. Ben chose a green shade in 5mm and I designed a slot system to function as a stand.

Ochil Ultra picture

Final artwork checks

I created a proof for the artwork. It showed all the cut lines for the trophy outlines, text and stand arrangement for Ben to approve. Once the Perspex arrived, I checked its thickness to make sure that the slots would fit accurately. Then I cut all the trophies.

Ben wanted five of each of 1st, 2nd and 3rd. He also asked for six blank trophies as souvenirs for the veteran categories.

 

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