Bling Box and Tray

This was an interesting little project, and I learned an awful lot of what not to do along the way. :smile:

I created a little pattern last week for some inlay and to see if kerf adjusting the design worked - couldn’t figure out what to do with it, and finally settled on making a little jewelry tray - the kind that Southern gals keep above the sink to hold their jewelry while doing the dishes or talking on the phone. (I don’t know, Northern gals might do the same thing…my mom has always had one next to the sink, and since she’s into bling, she’ll probably get this one.)

So anyway, dug out the mirrored acrylic scraps, cut a few copies of the pattern, and came up with this:

(And I apologize for my absolutely lousy photography - they actually look a lot better IRL but I can’t seem to catch the reflection effects with a camera.)

What I learned along the way:

1. Kerf adjusting your design works extremely well.

Each one of those tiny tiles was press fit into the backing, and is not glued down, with the exception of the tiniest slivers in two of the corners. (If I hadn’t glued a backing onto it, I could change that design.)

2. Extremely accurate kerf adjusting was the biggest mistake I made.
Because… each of those little tiles actually fits correctly in only one place…the place that corresponds to it’s place on the matrix!


3. I didn’t figure out how to lift the cut tiles (mostly) intact off of the grid until the last blessed set!
The answer is to use duct tape to lift all the little bits. (Other kinds of tape aren’t sticky enough to catch them all, and you’re still going to lose a few down the holes when they’re this size.)

So I spent a day or two picking up each of those little tiles and trying them in each slot. (I can be stubbornly stupid at times.)

4. Focal point selection makes a difference in acrylic, and this is only 1/8th inch thick.

All of the little sides of the tray and the black box show a slight difference from top to bottom, and that is because the focal point was set at the base of the acrylic. If it is set in the center, there will be a different profile on it, but it will still be uneven. That makes it hard to stack layers and get a uniform profile…it has a ridged look. (There’s a lot more experimenting to be done there.)

5. Solvent glue and I do not get along.

Don’t get any on your fingers and touch any part of the glossy box while you are trying to stick the layers together. (You will trot out every cuss word you know…twice.)

6. If you’re going to do something like this…for the sake of your sanity…design your tiles bigger. Chuckle!

The Glowforge did just fine… operator competence however…TBD. :rolling_eyes:

Pizza break! :smile:


well that’s neatly done


Holy moly @jules, you are a glutton for punishment but the end result is fantastic! Really appreciate the tips as well!


Oh I love the mirror acrylic inlay idea! :clap:


Really nice outcome!

I love that! Not because of the hassle it caused you, of course. But that it’s true! It makes meticulous planning necessary, I suppose, for such designs, but it seems like in the end, you get exactly what you ask for.

Well done!


Is kerf adjusting a technique, or a Glowforge feature, or a feature of some other software design package? Guess I have some reading to do!


currently kerf is being manually addressed via padding in the vector software that you add. but yes precision in the kerf is part of the original feature advertisement and we are still waiting to see it


Yeah, currently it’s something that I’m doing in the design itself. (I’m cutting non-Proofgrade materials).


kerfgate if you want a long read


I don’t know how they look in real life, but they look pretty amazing in the photos! You are a patient, patient hedgehog, madam. There were lots of people excited about inlay a while ago – hopefully they see this!


Thanks…I was seriously thinking it was not the best idea at about four hours into it… ROFL!


They’re stunning, and knowing that makes it much more special, more handmade in some ways.


I always love going through the process with you and sharing your joys and frustrations…
Thank you for taking us on your journey with your explainations​:smiley::smiley:


Is it black acrylic for the base and box? Can you give us a few shots of the perforated mirrored acrylic that held the matrix for the jewels? Just trying to picture how you did this. Slap my hands if I’m asking too much. This is really beautiful!


Yeah this one was definitely a textbook case of me biting off more than I could chew comfortably! (Figured I’d be a warning rather than a shining example.)

Yeah, give me a second…I’ll take a quick pic. :slight_smile:

Here they are…as you can see, I’ve got quite a few leftovers for whatever I decide to bling up next in that particular pattern. (hint…nothing - I’m not that crazy.)

And yes, it’s black acrylic for the box and frame of the tray. It wasn’t an actual inlay, because the mirrored acrylic was thinner than the black by a mm or so.


Oh…shiney!!!:smiley::smiley::smiley::smiley: Love this…alot!!!


Thanks so much. Now I understand. I have some mirrored acrylic from laserbits but have to figure out which sheets they are. Need some sorting out and marking. Some of the masking on materials I bought has no marking on it and I have to peel back some of it to figure out what I have. So many sheets.


Ah, so you really don’t need to adjust for kerf if you are going to glue things together?


It looks like you could have made four of those trays with the material you used, by using each of these as your base and just swapping the colours between them.


Very nice effect.

It looks like a regular matrix, so why do the tiles only fit specific places? Did you hand place the lines in the design so it is actually minutely irregular? If so it looks like a job for OpenSCAD as that would generate it programmatically, so they would be all exactly the same.