I'm a good husband; I always remember our anniversary, and I always remember Valentine's Day.
This year, the muse moved me to create a pink acrylic Valentine heart, apparently suspended within a block of clear acrylic.
Step 1: Needful Things
As well as a laser-cutter and the files attached to this step, you will need...
- 5mm thick clear acrylic.
- 3mm thick clear acrylic.
- 3mm thick pink acrylic.
- 1mm thick wooden veneer.
You will also need a clean surface to work on, and clean hands.
If you don’t have your own cutter, you can get the acrylic and wood laser cut at Ponoko - I’ve attached three files to for cutting the parts out of 3mm thick clear and pink acrylic, and 0.6mm thick self-adhesive walnut veneer. All three files need cut from a “P1” size sheet, and come to about $16, plus postage.
If you get your parts cut online, then you can skip ahead to step 5 (completely avoiding the disaster of step 3).
Step 2: Cutting
The files attached to the previous step contain all the parts in one file, but you will have to run four separate cuts;
- Two plain squares in clear 5mm acrylic
- One square with heart parts cut out of 3mm acrylic
- The two heart pieces from 3mm pink acrylic
- Four strips of ~1mm veneer.
Step 3: Disaster!
Be careful with your super-glue!
Plan A for this piece was to have no veneer on the outside. I wanted to glue the layers together with lots of super-glue - small spots of glue are very visible, but a continuous layer of glue is practically invisible.
Testing with small scraps worked well, but trying it on the full-sized piece went horribly wrong - I ended up including air-bubbles, smears, and a significant amount of my own skin...
So, plan B - the gluing all happens at the edge, to the veneer.
Step 4: Gluing
Start by gluing the edge on one of the 5mm squares to one of the veneer strips.
Just use a few drops of glue, and press it into place for at least a minute - the instructions for super-glue usually say "30 seconds", but there is something about the non-absorbent acrylic, versus the absorbent veneer, that makes it act a little odd.
Glue and stack all the pieces of acrylic to the same strip of veneer, remembering to drop the pink heart-pieces into place before you glue on the last 5mm layer. You don't need to glue the heart pieces into place.
Once all the layers are glued to one strip of veneer, glue the other strips to the three remaining sides.
Step 5: Sticking
If you use Ponoko to cut your parts, you completely avoid the hazards of thumbprints in the superglue, but you need to be careful lining parts up.
Practice lining the parts up before you peel the backing off - you will see that the veneer is slightly longer than one side of the acrylic. Line the acrylic up to one end of the veneer, and the part that sticks out will cover the end of the next piece of veneer.
When you’re happy with the alignment, fit the pink parts into the clear parts, peel off the backing from one piece of veneer and away you go!
Step 6: Done!
That's it - once all the glue is dry, just dust off the surface, wrap it, and give it to your intended one.