My first project: Framed Fossil

Two summers ago, my family visited the West Seattle summer festival. One of our favorite booths is a run by a couple who sell fossils, crystals, and minerals. I picked up a fossilized fish thinking that I could one day use my Glowforge to do something fun with this. Today is that day!

Here is the finished project. I used draft board for the back and 1/8” sheets of Baltic birch for the middle layers. The piece which holds the fossil is made from hardwood walnut and the front face is maple plywood.

I was inspired by Tom Stringham’s YouTube tutorial which shows how to use a lightbox and Inkscape to create perfectly sized cut-outs.

One tip to share that may save you some time. Once I had my vector art for the fossil, I added additional rectangles for inner and outer boundary of each layer - using a different color for each. Doing so alllwed me to easily use the same SVG to cut each layer of the stacked frame. I also used these rectangles to create score marks that helped me line up the placement of the next layer.

One change that I may make the next time is the addition of a circular hole in each corner. Adding this would allow me to strengthen the connection between layers by using a dowel. I would likely use a walnut dowel to maintain the light/dark contrast.

Will definitely be doing more of this type of work in the future!


Sweeeeet! (Gorgeous color match with the wood too!)


Your choices of wood are outstanding. The contrasting colors make your project very professional looking. Beautiful work. :blush:


I have a couple of those fish. Great idea man! Nice work. :sunglasses:


What a cool project!


Neat contrast in materials! You could put together a wonderful collection of framed fossils over the years.

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