If you’ve read some of our previous blogs, you’ll know that we often use computer software like Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, or Inkscape to create data and designs to use with our lasers. However, we know not everyone is already familiar with these programs. While there are many tutorials available online to learn these or similar ones, perhaps you don’t want to add that to your plate and just want to skip to creating (plus, while Inkscape and GIMP for example are free, the Adobe programs will require a purchase or subscription). How, then, can you go about using your laser to create designs for your projects, besides only using a photo or text? Luckily, we’ve got some tips!
There are many graphic design websites and individual graphic designers online who create and share SVG files, PNG files, and more! Both types are available, so you’re covered if you want to cut or to engrave! Try searching terms like “svg design,” or even get more specific and use “laser cut design”!
First few Google results for “laser cut designs”
Many websites will also let you narrow down by file type! For example, this website, freepik.com, allows you to conduct a search and find only vector images.
If you’re an Etsy fan, many stores there sell designs available for download!
Once you have our designs, though, you may still need to use a design program to delete any parts you don’t need. You may need to delete a few layers, for example, or may need to arrange letters if you’re using text like above.
In addition, please always use awareness when purchasing or downloading designs. Please make sure you are downloading from a legitimate website or seller.
Also, it’s your responsibility to check the license for each design. If you use your laser for a business, especially, you may not be able to use every design just by downloading or purchasing. Some designs may require attribution or even disallow commercial use completely. So, always check before you buy or use a certain design.
The Old-Fashioned Way
Remember, you don’t even need a computer to create artwork! With the Etcher Laser, it’s easy to import your hand-drawn designs!
First, we recommend drawing your picture on a white background; this makes it easier for the Etcher Laser to recognize your lines. If using notebook paper, for example, the software can pick up the ruling if it is dark enough. If you are using the Etcher Laser app, use the “+” button to add a new item. To use your phone camera, select “From Camera.” To use the camera in the Etcher Laser, place your image in the processing bed, then choose “From Scan.” Both will allow you to crop the photo down to your drawing, as well as three different settings for importing. You can do the same thing with SmartDIYs Creator! Click “Add Item,” then choose “From Scan.” You will also have the ability to crop as well as the same three settings for how to import your image.
Etcher Laser app, “From Camera” or “From Scan”
SmartDIYs Creator, “From Scan”
If you have a FABOOL laser, you may be wondering how you can replicate this without a camera function. But, all you need is a scanner or your phone! Again, draw your picture on a plain white background to avoid interference. Then, use a scanner or your phone (using AirDrop for Macs, for example) to upload the image to your computer. You should be able to save it as a JPEG or PNG with your scanner, and your phone will likely save it as one of the two as well. Then, simply go to “Add Item” and choose “Select File” as you would any other image!
If you transfer the image from your phone, you may need to do a little editing so the background looks white. For this image, we just used remove.bg to remove the background in case it was too gray under the lighting!
Image taken from our phone-->AirDropped to Mac-->BG removed with remove.bg-->imported into SmartDIYs Creator
So, if you’re intimidated by Inkscape or don’t want to buy Illustrator, don’t worry! There are still many ways to create designs for your laser projects!