One of the biggest barriers we hear to people making their own laser cut designs is that they aren’t computer savvy. So here’s a step-by-step guide to design and order your own custom designed pieces without any computer programs! Creating your own basic shapes is a super simple, and an effective way to stand out in the laser cut jewellery market. We highly recommend giving it a try!
What You’ll Need:
- A piece of white paper
- A ruler
- A black marker
- A smart phone that can take photos, and access a web browser
Step 1: Draw Your Shape Outline
With a thick, black marker, draw your desired shape. Try to draw your shape around the size that you would eventually like the finished pieces to be. Your marker should be at least 1mm, around 3mm is best (it will be easier with a thick marker to create a nice outline for your silhouette shape).
Step 2: Re-Draw Your Shape
A really great tip for designing is to draw your desired shape at least 3 different times. Sometimes it takes a few warm up attempts to get your brain to communicate to your hand! Try drawing them with slightly different variations. Don’t try to choose your favourite just yet – give yourself a bit of time looking at them first.
Step 3: Colour Your Shapes In
Colour your shapes in to be completely black and white silhouettes (as required for ordering silhouette charms). It doesn’t have to be too perfect, just be careful not to go outside the lines!
Step 4: Pick Your Favourite Shape
Pick your favourite version of your newly drawn shapes. 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.
Step 5: Take a Photo of Your Shape
The cameras on mobile phones are so great these days, they can step in here instead of a scanner. So simple! Hold your phone as close as possible to the shape (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 6: Give Your Shape 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 7: Measure Your Shape
Use a ruler to measure the size that your shape is, then navigate to the appropriate sized listing for Custom Silhouette Charms to best suit your shape.
My shape was just over 30mm, so I’ve decided to order Silhouette Charms Small. My shape will be scaled proportionally to be made the largest size possible for the listing.
Step 8: Order Your Custom Silhouette Charms
Follow the prompts on the Silhouette Charms Small listing to checkout. 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.
Step 8: Receive Your New Completely Custom Designs!
Once your order has been received, Vector Etch staff will process your requests within 5-10 business days. They’ll set-up your artwork for laser cutting and cut your shape in the material that you’ve requested. If there’s any issues at all with your shape (such as the photo is too dark), 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!
- Check out our page of Designers and Resources for links to components to finish your new pieces (like tassels, chains, etc).
- Try to draw your design close to the size that you would actually like your custom charm to be. One of the biggest mistakes that we see is when people draw things larger and then scale them down to mini size (15mm or less), which means that some parts end up really small and fine. Fine pieces may break when handled, or not be sturdy enough to last as jewellery pieces over time.
- 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!