This past week we’ve had loads of fun creating all manner of items for the National Art Education Association National Convention. Because, if you’re going to be showing a laser machine at a fancy art convention, you better have some pretty amazing pieces to show.
First, we went really big. We created a giant (we’re talking about 3 feet in diameter and about a foot and half high), neon, acrylic spider. Lovingly named Neorachnid. It was a challenge as we had never made anything quite like it before. But it was an incredible sense of accomplishment when we did get it put all together.
Step 1. Paint the canvas.
So far we have only tried this with one solid color of spray paint, but as time progresses and allows we intend to try other paints and effects. We have hypothesized that the reason spray paint works so well (and lasers white) is because it lays on top of the canvas instead of soaking into the fibers. As we are engraving the paint off of the canvas, the “engraved” area will be white (the color of the canvas) so darker paint colors will give you higher contrast.
Step 2. Prepare the file.
Pull together some cool artwork, either by creating it yourself or purchasing it. We have purchased some artwork off of bigstock.com and added a quote to the bottom. We used a vector file, but there is no reason you couldn’t use PhotoGraV to create a grayscale image to use.
Step 3. Laser it.
Make sure to level and straighten it. We used Lasercut to create a box the size of the canvas in order to assure the art was centered on the canvas. Just make sure that layer is not selected to engrave or cut when you download the file. On our 100 watts AP Lazer SN4836 we used a speed setting of 50 and a power setting of 25. But we always recommend testing out your machine on sample or scrap material before going into the final product.