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Product development case study: InkPaintPaper‘s large and small mistletoes

The mistletoe in the picture is the result of a product development project in the run up to Christmas 2016. Gabs from InkPaintPaper wanted to create some plywood mistletoe as decorations to hang and as Christmas card embellishments. She wanted to start with a smaller, simpler version to test some ideas and then develop a more ambitious product on the same theme.

Ideas and aesthetics – decisions, decisions!

First. we spent time with Gabs discussing aesthetics for her new products. She knew that she wanted to use plywood, but wanted to incorporate engraving into the design and possibly acrylic to add colour for the berries. To cut a long story short, Gabs decided that vector or raster engraving the berries would add too much cost to her products, and that the best way to add colour was her trademark hand painted look. This was before we even started on prototypes!

Small mistletoe (130 x 110mm)

InkPaintPaper's small laser cut plywood mistletoe
InkPaintPaper’s small laser cut plywood mistletoe

Gabs sent vector files of a small two branched mistletoe. She had a single outline surrounding the mistletoe shape. Gabs knew what we require as we’ve worked together for several years now, but this product was much more fragile than the hearts, stars and moons she’d ordered before.

Our big concern was the robustness of the products. While the leaves and berries were chunky, the stems than joined them were thinner and therefore more vulnerable. Gabs decided that she wanted to use 3mm ply as it would save materials and production costs, and we laser cut some prototypes. We were blown away when she sent a photo of one of them painted up on a Christmas card.

Large mistletoe (340 x 237mm)

Gabs wanted to have a multi branched mistletoe made from 3mm laser ply with ‘Christmas kisses’ laser cut or engraved on to it. The main considerations were the aesthetics of the text, and product robustness.

First, we made two prototypes, one with the text laser cut and the other with it laser engraved to see which looked better. Cut out text won hands down, but would weaken a piece already fragile due to its shape and size. Gabs decided to remove the hole for a ribbon and thickened the mistletoe stems in places to strengthen the structure further. Three prototypes were generated to get to the point where Gabs decided she was happy with the product.


Contact us if you have product ideas that you’d like to explore further but weren’t sure how to.