One of my co-workers ending up in the hospital & had to have an appendectomy. We wanted to send him some "Get well soon" love, & I suppose we could have just purchased a card at the store, But where's the fun in that? We decided to create some custom laser cut cards instead.
Step 1: Prepare your art work
Prepare you etching & vector art. Most laser cutter print drivers use line weight to distinguish cutting vectors from etching data, so if you're using vector art that was created by someone else, double check the line weight on the cutting vectors.
Step 2: Choose your card stock
I like to use watercolor card stock because it's heavy enough to handle deeper etching effects. You can find pre-cut stock that is scored for folding & has envelopes included.
Step 3: Create a fixture
I like to use a fixture to help me index the card stock & keep it away from the flash back off of the honeycomb in the bed. A really simple one can be created taping a piece of cardboard to the rulers. I run a vector path on the cardboard. The cross hairs help me position the card stock, removing the rectangle I cut beneath my vector cuts elevates my card away from the honeycomb. I use masking tape to keep the card stock flat against the fixture. You can make sure it won't stick too much if you press it to your jeans before you tape it down. Using a fixture also makes it easy to confirm if I had a good cut on my first pass. In this case, I didn't, so my parts didn't drop into the well beneath. It was simple to run a second pass & confirm it was successful when the waste dropped into the well in the fixture.
Step 4: Etching can be used to create "letter press" effects
Etching into heavy card stock can be used to create tactile, "letter press-like" effects in cards.
Step 5: Add a contrasting color paper backing
A contrasting colored paper completes the card. You can glue it in place, or leave it loose as a slip sheet.