Word Cloud Shields

New Year’s Eve Project is some shields / plaques for the 2 kids capturing their main interests as middle schoolers. These will be hung on walls or doors, but could freestand or hang from a mobile or thread.

Building on my successful technique for Megatron plaque , I also delved into generative art using this fine Word-Art generator from Wordart.com.

I asked the kids to make a list of their friends, family, hobbies, and toys, and shook the generator until it made a pleasing layout. The web-site can generate words into complex shapes but for a shield I needed a simple outline - such as a star:

Milou Star

The default print output was a little lo-res, but for a $10 fee I could buy 5 downloads in SVG (or other hi-res format). This seemed fair and I am likely to make 5, and it feels to support independent coders and artists.

I pulled this into Sketch App (OSX) and set a better scale (15cm), drill holes and and outline cut.

I printed this on some scrap breaking board that I coated up with Silhouette brand Premium Vinyl Transfer Paper (does not contain vinyl!) to avoid smoke marks. Settings available on demand.

For a fancy finish, and to reinforce the somewhat friable wood, I cut a matching slice of 1/8" non-PG acrylic, (using PG acrylic settings), and added a carved outline and pulled one of the words onto the front.

I need to buy some shorter ‘Sex’ bolts, or perhaps a different mounting solution, and will hang it on the wall somehow.


Using These, I made a kind of French cleat out of some scrap pieces.
Those 3M tabs are great for hanging stuff on walls. We use them to support our Christmas stockings from the underside of a counter overhang! To remove them you just pull the end of the tab parallel to the surface they are mounted on and they stretch out releasing from the wall without any paint damage or holes in the wall from nails.

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Great idea; and I have some of those in the bits box already!

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And one for the other child.

I am working on (and utterly failed) special visual effects on the acrylic layer that draw attention to or complement the underlying layer. Using Photo HD PG mode, I let the laser spin out my design for 90 minutes only to discover it was way too light. This is my fault, I was not in fact using a photo, but a processed and quite light image. Exactly one star (of the 100s that were supposed to appear) appears, just on the r of Margot.

I luckily caught a late surprise: the glyph elements of the cursive text contains intersecting elements where the letters overlap, and this resulted in holes in the engrave which were ONLY visible in the print preview (not the main GFUI). This seems related to the oddeven issue I mention elsewhere on this site. This wasn’t a problem with Emilien’s design since it had no overlapping glyphs. I happily noticed this before I hit print, and conveted to bitmap first.

Lesson learned: the final preview may reveal issues that were not visible before. Watch it carefully.


Connectors are TAP clear plastic sex bolts. These are soft enough to easily shave down with an xacto to get the specific depth I need, so are flexible from probably 1/2” to 1/8”.

They aren’t cheap enough to buy by the fistful; I may have to see I can negotiate.

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I like that star experiment though…making some slightly darker ones on your next one might be a great technique! :grinning:

FYI, that type of connector is often called a Screw Post or Chicago Screw. The search term “Acrylic Screw Post” may get you a better set of results than anything with the word “Sex” in it.