Beta Project: Completed Halloween Wreath



Today I’m happy to post a project I’ve been working on for a couple of weeks. My daughters are excited to start talking about Halloween, (it’s never too early, right?), so I dashed off a quick sketch of a Halloween pumpkin decoration to hang on our front door, and got to work making it a reality on the Glowforge.

I decided I wanted it to be the size of a nice large wreath so that it could be easily seen and read from the street, and that I would print the segments of the pumpkin in different layers to give it a more three dimensional appearance. Those two decisions ended up making this project somewhat extravagant in terms of print-time and hardwoods used. The finished piece is about 16"x16" and has 10 individually lasered parts, most of which took about 25 minutes to print.

For the pumpkin I used cherry hardwood without any additional stain. The leaves and stem are one piece of walnut. I decided I wanted to tint the leaves green, and after playing around a little I was pretty happy with the results of using a Prismacolor marker on the wood. The text is 1/4" plywood spray painted with some leftover glossy black paint.

I assembled the piece using interlocking joints, dowels, and wood glue. I used a heavy gauge black wire from a craft store to give more structure behind the text, and that is how I plan to hang it on the door. The layers of the pumpkin were too large to print out of one piece of wood, so I split them into left and right pieces with interlocking joints. For the back two layers I also added a middle piece made out of 1/4" plywood. Since the parts are pretty lightweight I thought I could mostly use wood glue to layer them together. But the glue seemed to make some modest warping a lot more pronounced, and the process ended up being a messy hassle. In the future I will rely a lot more on dowels; those parts came together quickly and easily, and are very secure. I used square 1/8" dowels, and cut holes using the Glowforge to fit. To assemble those parts I just cut the dowel to length, dabbed on a little glue, and threaded it in. The dowel fit tightly into the hole, so it made for a very secure joint.

To get the hand-drawn look of the pumpkin texture I drew each part separately, scanned it, and traced it in illustrator. I had to play around with the trace settings, but eventually I was able to find a setting that resulted in a trace with smooth edges that was reasonably easy to edit. (I used fills only, path fitting set to 2 px, minimum area 10px, corner angle 20).

I am thrilled with how the finished piece came out. I love the way that the Glowforge lets me capture the organic quality of a hand drawn sketch, and I think that really comes through on this project. My daughters are excited too. We are the first house on the block to start decorating for Halloween.

Transcending the Medium: Beyond Planes, Edges, and Plywood

Holy heck @maryellen, that is amazeballs! Absolutely lovely! I want one…


Really amazing! Cool staff!


Nice project, you have great drawing skills.

Don’t forget that there are many hot melt glue formulations that can stick things together very well if dowels end up being problematic.


Wow, this is beautiful!! I couldn’t agree more with your comment about the hand-drawn feel, and stacking each pumpkin layer to get that 3D ribbed pumpkin look? Amazing! :grin:


Wow! That’s amazing!


The 3D effect looks fantastic. :grinning:
Great job.


Excellent hand-drawn wreath! It turned out great! :smiley:

Really like how you made that 3D, even using ply to save material where you could…and that cherry is just gorgeous!


I love the layered look. fantastic job @maryellen


Amazing! Super jealous of your artistic talent. Love seeing something like this because customized holiday and party decorations are part of what I’m most excited about with the Glowforge.


Thanks for the great write up and explanation of your process. Awesome project!


Lovely work, plus I am excited to see your process and how the laser fits in.
Well well done.


Gorgeous!! Always fun to create your own. And next year you’ll be taking orders…lol


Great work! Thanks for sharing and showing us how it was done!!!
I’m inspired! :slight_smile:


Or offering the design for sale in the GF catalog.


The hand drawn aesthetic is exactly what my mind’s eye invisioned when I read of the Glowforge trace function - and is the root of my gnawing desire for this machine.

Yes, there is the perfection of computer aided design, but has a clean and sterile feel. There is an organic feel to the hand drawn line which your example illustrates to another perfection!
Thank you for the perfect demonstration of my hopes!!


Wow! And thanks for the square dowels. I’ve been thinking about making stuff with dowels, and just assumed round, which means less-certain alignment etc.


Really beautiful. A like just isn’t good enough for how pretty that is.


I had not thought about hot glue, but that is a good idea. I’ll give it a try. Thanks!


Hot glue is the solution for may problems :slight_smile: