Laser cutters use intense and precisely measured heat to engrave materials with pre-designed imagery. Laser cutter ideas and projects come in all shapes and sizes, and have all types of uses. The average laser cutter lets you cut and engrave wood, leather, and even paper, while more powerful laser cutters can cut harder materials like metal.
See also: our ranking of the best laser cutters and engravers
With the right laser cutter software and some creativity, laser engraving turns out impressive and cool results for personal decoration or even to sell online. Some of the best projects for laser cutters are even functional additions to any home.
The fast production compared to working by hand as well as the precision of engravers make laser cutting projects some of the best for those for whom time and accuracy are important.
Since laser cutters and engravers are some of the coolest machines to be found in a workshop, we’re always looking for the coolest laser cutter projects to turn our attention to next.
Fortunately, the best laser engraving machine ideas are already all over the internet, which is good news for those who have run out of projects of their own.
Coasters: Simple Laser Engraving Ideas
Coasters are a great start for anyone who wants to start small with their DIY wood laser cutter ideas. I myself have homemade coasters with laser engraved Steven Universe characters that I break out whenever I have guests. They are excellent conversation starters and make something as simple as a table setting personal and fun.
The simplest of laser engraving ideas that have the potential for some really cool laser cutter projects, coasters are functional additions to any home that can be customized with your own designs.
From Star Wars imagery to Brontë quotes, classic symbols to personal designs, there’s really no limit to what you can engrave using a laser cutter.
The beauty of making coasters as a laser cutting projects is the small amount of material needed. This means you can easily make them with any leftover wood you have lying around from other projects instead of needing to buy more.
Coasters are very simple as beginner laser cutter projects; they’re easy to create either from scratch, or by using any designs or images found online.
Once you’ve made or selected your design, all you need to do is make sure it’s set to the right size to match your coasters and set your laser cutter to work.
Laser Engraving Ideas for Bookmarks
Not unlike coasters, bookmarks require very few materials and are limitless in potential.
Personalized bookmarks are a fun laser cutting project themselves, but avid readers will find a lot of fun from making a new bookmark for each book.
Loving Harry Potter? Engrave a lightning bolt or wand.
Enjoying the Lord of the Rings? Why not the Eye of Sauron or even your favorite Elvish word?
Making great gifts for bookworm friends or letting you make your journey through prose a lot more personal, laser cutting your own bookmarks is a simple undertaking that’s well worth the time.
Laser Cut Chess Set Projects
Homemade chess sets are a very popular project for many people who like to create. As a plastic, glass, or wood laser cutter project, simple chess sets can be made to look as cool as you like.
While the board is simple enough to design yourself, the pieces add an extra challenge if designed from scratch. While there are sets out there with more simplistic pieces, there are some interesting designs out there can you can download today.
This wood design looks like a model set made as a gift, and fits into any home as a decoration or as a personal playing set.
There are also pieces with slats to hold them in place during play, ideal for playing in the back of a car or on a plane. These pieces can be either made using laser cutting or 3D printing, and even customized to look however you want.
Whatever pieces you go for, designing a board from scratch makes for an interesting and cool wood engraving project, or colored plastics for a chicer look.
You may also be interested in our guide to CNC projects that sell well
Coffee Pod Holders Laser Cutter Project
Nespresso and other pod coffee machines have become more of a household staple these days than the luxury they were ten years ago. Because it’s cheaper to buy the pods in bulk, many coffee machine owners have holders in their kitchens to store them.
And this is where homemade coffee pod holders come in. As laser cutting projects, they’re useful, versatile, and can be made to look like just about anything.
Ensuring the slots are the correct size is the most important thing when designing. Depending on your machine, the pods will have different diameters, so you’ll want to ensure they’ll fit nicely by measuring them first. This is to make sure they’ll be held securely enough to stay put, but loosely enough to be removed easily. After all, no one wants to fumble around with a stuck coffee pod first thing in the morning.
Simple designs for these holders like this one are fairly easy to make. But with added laser or wood engraving, you can make pod holders with cool designs, images, or names.
Our personal favorites are ones like this, with different strengths or flavors engraved for easy selection.
Glass Jar Laser Engraving Ideas
There’s an abundance of uses for laser cutting glass, but one of the most practical and eco-friendly uses is laser engraving jars.
Repurposing glass jars is a common practice in many homes. Storing tea, coffee, sugar, salt, and spices are commonly kept, and if decanted from their store-bought packaging, they can be hard to keep organized.
By engraving these jars, finding the salt instead of the sugar, or turmeric instead of ginger, is easy. Not only does engraving jars with laser cutting make for a useful and attractive additions to any kitchen, they’re also fairly simple.
The main difficulty comes from using a laser cutter on a circular object. If you don’t have a laser cutter that can cut vertically, then set the object on its side and secure it with a non-damaging adhesive like painter’s tape or chocks.
Christmas Trees — fun and simple laser cutter project
In recent years, people have been viewing festive decorations a little differently. Concerns over deforestation and household expenses have made standard fir trees less of a household feature around the holidays.
While plastic trees are a viable and reusable substitute, some have taken to making their own.
Christmas trees make for a really easy and cool laser cutting project. All you need to do is draw up your idea of a perfect tree in layers, and make different copies of that design in smaller sizes.
When cut, the layers need to be stacked on a pole to mimic the look of a standard pine tree. The ever-important treetop decoration can also be made by any extra materials you happen to have lying around.
These laser cut trees don’t only mean Christmas, however, and they can be made in any size for any decorative purpose. Wooden trees are excellent for a more ornate look, while plastic ones can be cut for a splash of color.
If you want to do more, the layers can be engraved with names, festive lyrics, or even with intricate designs to look like real leaves.
Laser Cutting Signs
Signs are one of the most popular laser cutting and wood engraving projects around due to their multitude of uses and how cool they can look. They can be made in all shapes and sizes, and for a wide range of purposes.
Laser cutting ideas for signage are incredibly versatile.
From welcome signs on front doors, to bathroom signs for homes and businesses, laser cutting and engraving signage for any purpose is as simple as deciding where they’re going to go and how you want them to look.
Designing these signs from scratch can be done at almost any artistic skill level, you don’t have to be an expert in design. Simple words in your desired font still make for a homemade sign you can hang with pride. Or you can design and import imagery or your own style for a unique look.
Funny and creative signs, simple wall hangers, or even homemade art can be engraved with a laser cutter and displayed for all to see.
Business owners will benefit from a unique sign that really grabs attention, complete with company logo and slogan to attract customers.
Bar and restaurant owners can make their own bathroom signs to be creative or funny, and store owners can even make laser cut Open and Closed signs to give their store a little more personality.
Laser Cut Birdhouse Projects & Ideas
Making attractive and stylish birdhouse as laser cutting projects is a great idea for anyone who wants a nice addition to their yards that really shows off their creativity.
While birdhouses are great as CNC projects, they can also be made fairly easily by hand. With little more than some sturdy wood, nails, and an optional wire mesh to hold the seeds, you can make bird feeders in a variety of shapes and styles.
Laser cutting bird feeders brings new potential to what you can do for your feathery friends, as more intricate designs are easier to achieve compared to making them by hand. The simplest designs need only some plywood and wood glue, and instructions can be found online if you’re unsure of where to start.
For the more architecturally-minded, you can make some impressive looking structures with laser cutting, all of which the birds in your garden are sure to love.
By using laser engraving, you can also make designs that mimic real houses, have whimsical artwork on the side, or engrave a likeness of your local nester.
Laser cutting projects don’t just mean making things from scratch. Like glass jars, taking something you already own and engraving them is a popular use for laser cutters.
More specifically, laser wood engraving words and images onto tables is a great way to customize your furniture. While dining tables may be difficult to customize with laser engraving, smaller pieces like coffee tables are ripe for personalization.
Whether you’re building the table yourself or have purchased a flatpack model, engraving the top of the table is as simple as choosing a design and setting your laser cutter to engrave.
The most important thing to remember is that, while a great way to realize your laser engraving ideas, tables do need to be useable surfaces. If you’re engraving a table on which you’re going to be setting drinks, you’ll need to make sure the depth of the engraving is shallow. This is to ensure that things don’t tip over and spill if set on a crevice.
With laser wood engraving, any piece of furniture can be made to look exactly how you want. From floral patterns to pop culture icons or even your own artwork, personalizing your table surfaces is a rewarding laser cutting project.
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