Looking for Christmas/New Years gift ideas, we came across some examples of laser cut wooden book covers and decided this could be a great start for personalised presents. The whole project started weeks before the Holidays with creating the original illustrations, getting quality solid mahogany wood. Since the gifts should be personalised we customised with initials on each piece.
Since we are using wood for the cover, we thought the theme for the illustrations should be about plants and leaves. Garden and photo exhibitions where a great source of inspiration for making those original hand drawings. To get the best out of the medium, we planned for 3 types of "colours": outlines, stripes and cutout (green areas on the drawings).
Planning the project involved ordering a lot of paper... white, green, and also a seriously efficient maxi hole-puncher to take care of the 1,000 pages to prepare! And of course, many sets of ring binders.
We choose to use solid 3 mm mahogany wood, which we found with exactly right width for our 15 x 21 cm notebooks. It is plenty strong to work as a cover. Its medium dark colour gives a nice contrast with the engraved darker colour. To preserve the wood from too much unwanted smudge, we decided to protected it with paper masking tape before using the laser cutter on it.
Based on the draft illustrations, we created a digital version of each of them, using a graphics tablet and a vector drawing software.
We then prepared for laser cutting: optimising the vectors and finding the ideal laser settings for speed and power. Each illustration took more than 15 minutes to cut ... Although shortly before Christmas we were happy to be able to use the laser cutter in makespace for a few hours.
After carefully removing the masking tape, the wood needed a bit of sanding to get rid of the burned edges and smudges. We used 400 grit sandpaper, the covers were nice and smooth to the touch so no finish was needed. Then we put together each notebook: 100 pages, 2 sets of binding rings, 2 sheets of green paper and the wood cover. Ready to be given away right on time before Christmas!
More images for this project