Acrylic medicine bottle interpretation boards for RBGE

acrylic medicine bottle interpretation boards for RBGE

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) wished to create a timeline for the garden about how medicine and plants have been interlinked throughout Scottish history. The Garden dates back to 1670 when it was founded as Scotland’s first physic garden, a type of herb garden with medicinal plants. It was located on a modest patch of ground at Holyrood Park no bigger than a tennis court.

Rather than creating a few larger interpretation panels, they wanted to create 2D Perspex panels in the shape of old medicine bottles. Their labels would describe relevent information about a plant or an event from history. But would this be possible? And could the RGBE logo be engraved on the bottle necks?

How to mimick old fashioned medicine bottles

Acrylic is a lovely material to laser cut and comes in a variety of thicknesses and colours. It’s robust and weatherproof and perfectly suited to outdoor projects like this. RBGE chose a beautiful translucent blue reminiscent of old fashioned medicine bottles. We opted to use 5mm thickness for extra robustness as the bottles were for outdoor use.  Spoken Image created artwork for several different A4 sized bottle shapes. It was decided that each bottle could be engraved so that the logo would appear on the back of each bottle to keep the facing side glossy.

LaserFlair started by laser cutting each bottle shape with the protective film on each side of the Perspex  in place. This film protects the cut edges from heat damage during production. As engraving is better done without the film in place, it was peeled back on one side of each bottle in the neck area. We raster engraved the logo in reverse so that it would look right when viewed from the front. Then the film was replaced to protect the panel during shipping and storage.

With their labels applied and mounted amongst the plants, the 16 bottles look gorgeous. They catch the light and add a splash of colour and intrigue. As the plants around them grow, the bottles peep out invitingly between them.