Engraving paper

One morning when I was out with Iris I bumped into a dog park friend of mine, Peter, who was sitting outside the back door of his shop with his yellow lab, Jackson.

We got to talking about laser cutting which I have used for some of my recent Nib & Tuck card designs. When you cut paper using a laser it is actually done on a machine called a laser engraver, something Peter uses all the time in his business. The machine can engrave glass, metal, paper, plastic, you name it.

Even though I’ve been utilizing this technology for just over a year, I have yet to sit down with my supplier and see the laser in action, so after asking a few questions, Peter invited me over in the days that followed to check out the process myself.

One of his employees used my peacock design for the demonstration. I didn’t realize it took quite that long to cut around all those crazy shapes but I now understand that if you go too fast or crank the power up too much you can wind up with some effects you weren’t expecting. In fact, Peter told me a few weeks prior they had to turn the fire extinguisher on their other engraving machine as something they were working on burst into flames. Yikes.

One cool thing about lasers is that you can turn the power down and burn designs into the surface of the paper without actually cutting the paper away. How cool is that? Lasers are a subtractive medium whose power can be harnessed to cut away or to burn away. This is giving me all kinds of ideas for future custom work especially short run stuff.