Custom inlay frame

Here is a fun Glowforge family project. My sister @katrinauch , a future Glowforge owner, was in town this past week so we wanted to work on a project together while she was here. She is a talented photographer and photoshop artist and wanted to create a custom frame for one of her pieces.

She designed a Kit Williams inspired frame that worked beautifully with here piece.


The final turned out really well for our first attempt. Although we did have a little mix up with the veneer and we used a different type of wood in the lower background. We really couldn’t tell until i put the linseed oil on.

Here is a little breakdown of how we built it.

Since the final size of the frame around 13"x 14.5" i had to figure out how we would engrave it since it was to large to fit in the GF. My original idea was to cut and miter the four sides and then engrave each of them separately.

But i was worried about how to accurately align the all the sides and the unique top made mitering tough. So i decided to engrave three boards separately then glue them up and cut them out. This way i could align them correctly before glueing and just trim the edges off.

This is the cut files for each board. The yellow background was just for alignment on the boards. The lines were light scores to be used for cutting guides and to help align before glue up.


Since the boards were .80" think i had to take out the crumb tray and prop the board up to the right height.


I can’t find my screen cap of the UI but when i went to align the design to the board my guide was smaller then the board in the UI. So i decided to just align the top and center the sides and cross my fingers.

Sometimes blind faith just works. it aligned perfectly to the bottom.

The final alignment turned up fairly close, i just need to slide eaah board a little to get it perfect.

Next i glued them up and clamped them for a few hours.

Then on to the scroll saw to cut out the middle. The score lines were awesome for this.

Next i had to use the router on the back to make room form the photo, glass and backer board. I cleaned up the corners after with a chisel. Here you can also see our engraved logos i added before glue up.

Then all i had to do is trim to the outside score lines on the table saw and we were on to the fun part.

Kat broke here design up into separate files for each type of veneer and condensed the shapes to fit on as few pieces of veneer as possible. Then i used double sided tape to attach each piece to some cardboard to help keep the small pieces from flying away. I also taped the outside with painter tape to keep the whole thin in place.

Then came the fun of assembling the puzzle.

Some tape helped keep everything in place as we moved along.

Then a final layer of painters tape to hold it together as we took it out for the glue.

I totally forgot to take pictures of the next few steps. But we removed the inlay as a solid piece and put glue in the engraved area. Then we put the inlay back in and clamped it overnight.

After some linseed oil and some time in the sun for the cherry wood to darken it looked like this.

It was a really fun project and a great first attempt at marquetry. I learned a ton of lessons that i will bring into the next time we try this.


This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen made on this forum. Truly inspiring!


Very nice project.


Very very nice project and write up. I am so glad people are getting in and doing things I have not gotten to so there will be an ever increasing knowledge base when I do try it.


Wow! Great job on a complicated project. Very nice work!


Very nicely done!


Beautiful artwork, and I love how you incorporated the elements of the photo into the frame design itself! Awesome job! :grinning:


You really captured the organic beauty of Kit Williams’ work. Gorgeous.


I am curious. Did you need to adjust for kerf on any of the inlay pieces?


We didn’t make any adjustments on this one. In the future I would like to try and adjust the fitting to be a little tighter.


What a beautiful treasure! Nice that you were able to work with your sister on this, too! It was great to see your steps /photos to see how the process went.


The shapes, the colors, the woods, the finish, the arrangement and overall design is just spectacular. That is an heirloom frame for sure now. Thanks for documenting.


I got a chance to check this out in person and man it really is beautiful. I was blown away when he told me he didn’t even adjust for the kerf. Everything fit so nice. Great work man.


That is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing. The inlays clearly show the power (pun intended) of the laser, and a huge inspiration seeing the result.


Another great project that needs to be seen again. So gorgeous!

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So beautiful!!!

Spectacular! The frame AND the photo.

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Beautiful work! Thanks for the detailed explanation!

Beautiful! Love the curly maple.