Basic patterns are simple enough that anyone can draw them (sprinkles and polka dots – yes please!), and the laser cut charms can be used in a huge variety of ways to create lots of different styled pieces. Our demonstration below is for a leopard print pattern, but you could use this technique with any design – like hearts, arrows, anything!
What You’ll Need:
- A piece of bleed proof paper
- A printed copy of the Vector Etch Custom Charms Size Guide
- A fine black felt tip pen (0.05mm)
- A slightly larger black felt tip pen (0.5mm or larger)
- A smart phone that can take photos, and access a web browser
Step 1: Choose your Size
Decide on what size that you would like to make your custom etched charms. Mini and small are most commonly used for earrings and statement drops. Medium is most commonly used for large dangle earrings and small brooches. Large and extra large are most commonly used for brooches and pendants.
Step 2: Draw your Outline
Lay your bleed proof paper over your size guide. Using your 0.05 felt tip pen, draw the outline of your shape to fit within the size guide. For this example, I have use a circle ruler to draw a 30mm circle. Your final charms will be laser cut from the outside line of your design, so try to keep the line-work neat and tidy. TIP: You can sketch your shape with pencil first, and then lay a new piece of bleed proof paper over the top to draw a nice, smooth, neat outline.
Step 3: Draw your Pattern
Using your 0.5mm felt tip pen, draw your pattern to fit within your shape. Your final charms will be laser cut from the outside line of your design, so do not go outside the lines.
A really great tip for designing is to draw your desired shape and pattern at least 3 different times. Sometimes it takes a few warm up attempts to get your brain to communicate to your hand! Try drawing the pattern with slightly different variations, and then choose your favourite. If you’re having trouble deciding, leave it overnight and look again first thing in the morning. Try holding the designs up to the mirror and looking at the reflected version (or take a photo and reflect them on your phone).
Step 4: Take a Photo of Your Design
The cameras on mobile phones are so great these days, they can step-in here instead of a scanner. So simple! Hold your camera phone as close as possible to your design (while still getting all of the shape in the photo). Make sure that you are holding the camera flat and directly above the shape (if you take the photo on an angle the shape will get distorted). It’s important that you have good lighting (such as you are taking the photo undercover on a sunny day… and not in a dimly lit room at night) – make sure that there are no shadows or glare. You should get a reasonably crisp, mostly black and white photo.
Step 5: Give Your Design a Name
Navigate to the photo on your smart phone and title the photo (if possible). This step can be left out, but it can make re-ordering easier down the track if you’ve given it a name.
Step 6: Order Your Custom Etched Charms
Navigate to Custom Etched Charms in the size of your choice. Select ‘New Design’ from the drop down menu. Upload your design. Tick any options that you would like (such as add a hole, and reflect half of your order to have matching/mirrored pairs). Choose your material type and colour, then click add to cart.
Add any other items to your cart that you might like (such as Mixed Bag of Paired Mini Circles With Hole (Pack of 40), and a tube of E6000 Adhesive Small Tube 1oz (30ml)).
Navigate to your cart, and follow the prompts to complete payment/checkout. You can choose to have your items posted, or pick them up from our studio when we let you know that they’re ready.
Step 7: Receive Your Custom Etched Charms
Once your order has been placed, Vector Etch staff will process your requests within 5-10 business days. If there’s any issues at all with your shape (such as the photo is too dark, or something isn’t do-able), we’ll get in touch to let you know. Once your pieces have arrived, you can assembled and combine them into any sort of end products that you desire!
Combine this tutorial with our other tutorials. Maybe you want to go a step further and link your shapes to something else, or glue them up to be brooches. Keep creating past the basic guide to make even more unique pieces! Show us your new pieces, we would love to see! Post your designs on Instagram and tag @vectoretch #vectoretch.
Re-order the same design in different materials + Try Paint Fill!
Vector Etch offers a partial discount when you re-order a design. Try experimenting with the same design in different materials to expand your product range (and make more use of your artwork). You could also try drawing a similar pattern in different shapes – you might want to make a pendant to match those leopard print earrings! Read our full tutorial for How to Do Paint Fill to add colour to the etched areas.