You Rule, Valentine Rulers


You guys, I cut these Genaille-Lucas rulers four times – once deciding that Med Walnut ply was too thin and not high enough contrast, once on defective Thick Cherry Ply, once on defective Thick Walnut ply, then once more on Med Walnut ply because I had sacrificed the first set to paint testing but no other PG was going to arrive in time – but in the final hours I am victorious and my best nerd is getting a super nerdy, all-lasered valentine.

There are lots of beautiful examples of rulers and boxes in the original thread, but never let it be said that I passed up a chance to over-design something, so I grabbed some of the lines from the division side and turned them into a pattern to decorate the sliding box lid. Here is a tip: do not be so precious about knocking out a small offset around your label text that you change perfectly score-worthy lines into engraves and cause your 9"x2" lid to take 1.5 hours to engrave. You’re welcome.

I decided to print a set of instructions that fit inside the box, wrapped with a “letterpress” belly band. I used a version of the pattern from the lid, engraved a printing plate, and ran it through my manual die cutter using a printing platform (sort of like a proofing press). I’ve been working on refining my printing plate engraving for about a month now and think I’m finally zeroing in on the look that I want.

I edited down the Wikipedia instructions for the rulers and used the SVG ruler file to put the graphics together. I’ve seen people engrave a QR code for instructions on the side of the box, which is a great solution, but I liked the idea of keeping the entire math ruler experience offline . This set took approximately one million hours and all of my patience, but I am really happy with the way it turned out.

The card is also “letterpressed,” using three different plates.

I’ve been using Draftboard for my plates and as you can see, big blocks of solid color are a challenge. I’m getting there, though. I’ve been adding registration notches and cutting custom chipboard registration frames for each set of plates, which works pretty well, especially if you, like me, are a misregistration fan.

Very many thanks to @bdm1 for posting the super cool SVG that happened to go perfectly with my nerd joke valentine!

Genaille-Lucas Rulers

Ohmygosh, this is the most awesome valentine ever! The letterpress is what has me drooling—you really nailed it!


Thanks! Yeah, the letterpress is the really fun part – I definitely re-read your post a ton while thinking about how I wanted to approach it.


Beautiful! The registration is great. Look at all the fun you bought for half price!
I have it on authority (me), that @cynd11 is an accomplished artist. At least from my perspective.


Fantastic project! Our loved ones will never be happy again with what came before the GF.


I’d say you nailed it perfectly! These are very cool!


I sort of can’t believe how much fun it is!


Thanks! Ha, I told him that this is peak valentine, he’s getting Whitman Samplers from now on.


Wish I’d had time to pull something like this off this year. Maybe next year. :sunglasses::+1:


This turned out beautifully!

I am absolutely loving the letterpress aspect! I’ve been thinking of ways to do it and wasn’t sure if draftboard would last in the long run, but it looks amazing!


Thanks! I think it depends on what you mean by long run – I can’t swear that the draftboard plates would last through a major production run (or in an actual press), but after a bunch of messing around with the engraving depth and the grayscale ramp I’m using to get a shoulder, I am feeling pretty good about their stability even with fine lines (that belly band pattern is 1pt).


Really, really excellent graphic design and packaging, loved the incorporation of the lines motif throughout all the elements, and your letterpressing technique (I am going to try that!). I really like seeing folks using the glowforge as a part of their process, rather than the end result itself, as you have so expertly done. Bravo!


Thank you! I have to say that although I am having a great time overall with the glowforge, it wasn’t until I pulled my first decent print with lasered plates that I was really thrilled by it. I am so intrigued by the work that comes out of the intersection of high and low tech. Would love to see any printing experiments you get up to!


Things got weird! Intaglio Printing!