Custom Framed, Engraved Vector AI Art with Chicago Screws

My first full attempt at a piece of pure art. One of the astonishing things about the Glowforge is that it allows people like me who’ve never had either the fine motor skills to draw nor the hands on confidence to do physical art to nonetheless do art.

The image was created using a commercial text-to-image AI tool that allows tuning by style, so this was an attempt to create something evocative of the celebrated Pacific Northwest Coast Formline art style:


The AI prompt was to create a Belgian Shepherd head. I edited the image in Illustrator to remove some detail that was too fine for engraving and to make some small aesthetic changes. The art style has mirror symmetry for front facing figures but I liked the asymmetry generated by the AI and left it.

The image is engraved on 1/16" unfinished mahogany sourced from Ocooch Hardwood. Based on previous experiments, the wood looks much better finished. I taped the blank beforehand and sprayed clear acrylic over the engraved image to try to minimize the oil getting into the engraving. Then I removed the tape and applied “Tried & True Original Wood Finish” using a lint free cloth. I have no experience or training as a woodworker so I don’t know if there’s a better process.

I was going to do the frame with unfinished walnut and finish it by hand as well but realized that Proofgrade walnut veneer would work perfectly fine.

The Chicago Screws are also an Amazon purchase. I want to highlight the exotic symmetry of the screws. Illustrator allows you to make custom brushes so this effect was created using a brush composed of 5mm circles which is the diameter of the Chicago Screw shafts. The frame is an Illustrator path converted to an outline stroke. That same path is then copied and changed to use the “screw” brush and I adjusted the density to what I thought looked good, with 12 screws in total. The technique would also generate a very dense result with a continuous border of screws but I didn’t have 100 screws and didn’t want to assemble it.

The screws also attach the frame and the engraved image to a piece of medium Proofgrade draftboard for solidity and hanging.


Thanks for the photo and write up. Your presentation of this project is a cut above. Nicely done!


A terrific discussion of the use of AI in doing your own original artwork. I do as many as a thousand tries to go where I want to, and then spend considerable effort in further editing and choosing such as you discuss. Just as a tool like the Glowforge enables better faster work than you can get with a coping saw and a soldering iron, the AI does much of the basic stuff better and faster than you can accomplish by hand, but still cannot provide a “copy” of other folks work, and needs some hands-on in any case.

It is a beautiful and stunning piece.


This turned out amazing!