Why We Love Laser Cut Matte Red, Blue & Purple Acrylics

New Materials in USA Catalog: 3 New Shades Of Matte Acrylic

Matte is the new smooth! With our new red, purple and light blue shades of matte acrylic, you can add a touch of luxury to your designs as well as a more diverse color palette.

Why We Love These Materials

These new colors are pretty sweet. No longer are you restricted to strong solid tones, now you have the option to use more subtle and refined colors in your designs.

What’s also great about these new acrylics is that they are matte on both sides, giving you an elegant textured finish that doesn’t show all those pesky fingerprints when handled.

Did we mention that they are translucent? This means you can rock them to diffuse light and play with a sense of depth in your designs.

With a 3mm thickness, these acrylics are perfect for lighting projects, jewelry, enclosures, signage, business cards, luggage tags, name badges or anything that needs a soft, matte finish.

Available Now – Matte Purple Acrylic

Need a color that’s better suited to your design sensibilities? …

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Check out our new Matte Purple Acrylic, it will have your designs looking like a gem. Here are some pretty nifty glasses that we remixed from the super cool designer ARTCAD on Thingiverse. Costumes and props have never looked so professional!

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Learn more about Matte Purple Acrylic and grab a Sample.

Available Now – Matte Red Acrylic

Matte red will have you spinning …

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Our new Matte Red Acrylic is one of those versatile colors that inspires playfulness and fun. We had a play with 123D Make and made a wee spinning top. Let’s be honest, any excuse to make a toy for work is a good one. What toys/puzzles would you like to make?

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Learn more about Matte Red Acrylic and buy a Sample.

Available Now – Matte Light Blue Acrylic

Blue like a sunny summer’s day …

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Our new Matte Light Blue Acrylic has such a subtle and pleasing color, we feel like cloud watching every time we look at it. Still on the 123D Make buzz, we whipped up the bowl pictured above. We think the translucent nature of the material complements the 3D form, to give it that extra point of interest.

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Learn more about Matte Light Blue Acrylic and purchase a Sample.

Now It’s Your Turn

What do you think would look great in these three new Matte Acrylics? We’d love to hear how these new colors and textures inspire you. Share by leaving a comment below.

Or get straight to making with these awesome new acrylics!

 

Why We Love Laser Cut Green Glass Acrylic

New Material In NZ Catalog: Green Glass Acrylic

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This popular material in the USA is now also available in NZ! Introducing laser cuttable ‘glass’ without the cost.

Why Green Glass Acrylic Is Amazing

Green glass acrylic is smooth on both sides and transparent, making it perfect for projects where the objective is to have the look of glass without the high price and pesky breakage issue.

The mini snowflakes above really take advantage of the icy, glass-like color you get with this material. But keep in mind that the smaller the design, the less green and more transparent it will look on the edges.

Green Glass Acrylic And A Samsung Camera

Because of the transparent nature of green glass acrylic, you can combine it with other materials to create one-of-a-kind displays like this one from Milos Paripovic.

This point-of-sale store display for a Samsung camera was laser cut and then mirror foil was fixed to the head so customers could simultaneously see the back side of the camera. The design is certainly an attention-getter, and what could be better camera holder than a hand!

Green Glass Acrylic On Etsy

How are Etsy sellers using green glass acrylic in their shops? Check out this mini greenhouse from 2of2.

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The little structure brings the outdoors in with an interior stand of tiny trees. The sleek geometric lines of this “glass-look” house are softened by the whimsy of the trees inside. A fun way to tap into the terrarium home décor trend.

Next, you won’t believe what OMGoshShop can do with green glass acrylic. Cut into the sensuous curve of the Kanagawa wave, this bracelet is based on the famous woodblock print by Hokusai.

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The waves, though they look ferocious, have been designed so that the tips won’t scratch or snag. The acrylic is etched, hand highlighted to emphasize the crashing waves, heated to 140+ degrees and then molded by hand. Unlike mass-made round bracelets, this cuff is oval and curves closely to the wrist making it comfortable for everyday wear.

Available Now – Green Glass Acrylic

This acrylic is clear with just a hint of green tint on the edges, giving you a subtle acrylic option versus the stronger colors available.

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Learn about Green Glass Acrylic details and get a Green Glass Acrylic Sample.

Now It’s Your Turn

You could clearly have tons of fun making with this new material. What ideas do you have? Tell us all about it by leaving a comment below. We have a $20 coupon for the best idea!

Final Deadline For Holiday Orders 2016

Make – With Added Speed – By December 12 For Guaranteed Delivery By Christmas

Did you miss our standard making deadline and still need stock for your ETSY store or gifts for your customers and team? Or did you go to the mall and realize you can’t get your mom another snowman sweater because she’ll disown you? Not to worry, you can receive your custom products before Christmas when you make by December 12 and upgrade to faster making and shipping speeds.

How To Guarantee Your Product Delivery Before The Holidays

Christmas is the busiest time of year for us, our suppliers & carriers, so things can take a little longer to make and ship than during the rest of the year. But no problem.

If you place your orders by 11:59 pm Monday December 12 with an Estimated Delivery Date by December 23, we guarantee they will reach you before Christmas Day.

And in the highly unlikely case that your merch doesn’t make it by the time “Silent Night” is sung, we’ll send you a credit equal to the sum of your order’s making, materials & making speed costs. It’s the least we can do.

How To Make Your Product Delivery Speed Faster Than A Cheetah

Just place your order as normal, then upgrade your making speed or shipping speed. And if you’re in a real rush, upgrade both speeds for the fastest possible delivery — made and delivered to you as fast as next day! This guide on how to upgrade your making speed will walk you through the process.

During checkout, just confirm the Estimated Delivery Date is by Friday, December 23. Easy peasy! And no lump of coal in your stocking!

What If I Miss This Final Deadline?

All orders placed after December 12 will be delivered on a best efforts basis. In past years, we have been able to get most orders done on time. (Santa’s elves would be proud!) We just can’t pinky swear guarantee it will get to you on time. As always, we’ll be sure to keep you updated. And if you have any questions about timeframes, contact us here.

What Are You Waiting For?!

Order before 11:59 pm PST December 12 and receive all your custom products for selling or personalized presents for gifting in time for your special celebrations.

And you’ll stay off the naughty list!

Ready, Set…Make! The Biggest Sale Of 2016 Starts Now

Hey Makers! Now is your chance to make something new, something a little crazy, or to stock up on your favorites. But you only have four days to do it.

You get 35% off the making cost of all laser cutting orders placed between 12:01am Black Friday November 25, 2016 and 11:59pm Cyber Monday November 28, 2016.

And if you’re making holiday items to sell in your Etsy shop or give your customers, coworkers, friends, or family, make sure to choose upgraded making and shipping speed so the items arrive to you in time.

This special offer is good for one laser cutting order from your USA or NZ Free account (not Prime accounts), and it cannot be used in conjunction with any other vouchers or promotions. The usual costs for materials, shipping, speed upgrades, Prime subscriptions, materials samples and Showroom orders apply as normal.

Don’t miss our biggest sale of the year.

To make it happen, enter this coupon code during checkout —J5NTYT.

Happy Making!

Maker Changes The World One Plant At A Time

By Combining Technology & Gardening, The Plant Doctor Is Shaping The Future Of Indoor & Outdoor Horticulture

plant-doctor-potAkin Yildiz has a mission: Change the world, one plant at a time. Through the Plant Doctor, a non-profit, open-source online research laboratory specializing in electronics and plants, Akin is shaping the future of indoor and outdoor horticulture.

But he didn’t always have such clarity in vision. In fact, after earning his degree in business management, Akin didn’t know what direction to take. He was working in a restaurant, teaching guitar and taking odd jobs. But gardening was on his mind.

“Gardening was a hobby, and I always wanted to teach people about gardening,” he says. “I wanted to make it so easy that anyone could just get up and do it without any hesitation. But I had no idea how to go about it.”

The Evolution Of A Maker (And A Movement)

The reason most people don’t garden, according to Akin, is that they either don’t have time or they are scared to fail. There’s also a broad segment of the population with no electronics or programing experience. He saw a need in the market and wanted to address it.

“Plants and electronics are two very important fields of human life, yet most of us know so little about them,” he says. “I believe to truly solve this problem, we need a game-like environment where the end user learns as they complete it.”

But there were no DIY kits that focused primarily on plants and electronics. Until he changed all that in 2014 with the Plant Doctor.

The Plant Doctor offers electronics kits that teach you how to build circuits, how to program computers and how to garden—a total beginners guide to the world of plants and electronics.

Akin says that most adults have little time to learn new skills like programming to pass onto their children, so he designed the educational kit to be easy to learn and suitable for any age group (non-toxic, solder free).

“Imagine receiving a box,” he explains. “Inside you have electronic components that can communicate with plants. You put together these color-coded components, like a puzzle. Once completed, you activate the computer and learn how to program it. You are now left with an instrument that can teach you how to garden.”

plant-doctor-grow-lightsSeveral kits are available from a simple plant pot that is completely mobile to serious systems with a box that can automate the watering and lights. He has even created a device that can be attached to an existing pot that monitors conditions and will email you when the plant needs, water, light or a temperature adjustment.

All Plant Doctor instruments are open source hardware and software, so anyone in the world can use them. No previous experience is necessary to assemble, program or garden—just plug and play. In just one weekend, you can learn how to program and build circuits that can implement this automation technology to your garden or home. Check out all the plans on Instructables.

plant-doctor-electronicsAkin’s vision to bring together nature and technology in a simple, non-harmful way is catching on. His Instructables page has garnered 600,000+ views and has thousands of followers. He has started a crowdfunding campaign to further develop this project and bring more awareness to smart plant technology around the world. And he’s also consulting and teaching.

“We have been offering in-person and online workshops to ages between 6 to 60+,” he says. “People who have never programmed or built circuits are now able to walk away from a two-hour-long class knowing enough to automate their homes, greenhouses, workshops—experiencing programming and circuit building first hand. “

The Bigger Picture Of Sustainable Food Production

Akin says his vision to teach the world how to program, build circuits and garden has gained attention over the last year and resulted in many conversations around the globe. Both experienced DIY greenhouse farmers and total beginners in plants or electronics are discussing the bigger implications of combining gardening with programming.

plant-doctor-future-vertical-garden“Imagine a giant building in the middle of the city, a building just for plants and to grow food vertically,” he says. “Vertical farms are the future of gardening. They require less resources, less space and yield higher crops than regular outdoor gardening methods. These buildings will become more common in the very near future.”

With smart plant technology getting more attention everyday, Akin says that automated food production will become more available to residential housing. “This technology will offer many new jobs in the near future,” he says. “This is why we offer our DIY kits so the next generation can grow up knowing how to program and control this technology. And by making it open source software and hardware, we are able to make it more accessible to a bigger population worldwide.”

The Plant Doctor educational tools are a glimpse to what the future holds. And what an interesting—and hopefully green—future it will be.

 

Maker Finds Success In $300 Billion Wedding Market

How THE little BLUE CHAIR Differentiates Itself By Branding Weddings

Weddings are big business. BIG. In fact, the global wedding industry is topping $300 billion (and growing every day), with U.S. spending contributing $58 billion of that. So how does a budding company differentiate its offerings and really standout in this crowded market? With some creativity—and great design.

Finding Passion In Printing

Hope Johnson, founder of THE little BLUE CHAIR (TLBC), has always been inspired by an old world, organic touch. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she incorporates her southern surroundings, organic textures and textiles into a suite of wedding products that includes semi-custom and full custom wedding favors, table numbers and stationery.

While Hope says she has a strong appreciation for the handmade, an unearthly attraction to the handwritten and an undeniable love for love, she didn’t set out to be a stationary designer. No, her initial major at Louisiana State University was something much less artistic: Business.

But after nearly failing freshman economics, she changed her major to Fine Arts, which evidently was not a surprise to her friends and family. She focused her course training in printmaking…and spent a lot of time in the basement of the LSU print lab. From silkscreen to lithography to intaglio to bookbinding and letterpress, a labor of love was born.

Bringing A Couple’s Story To Life

Fast forward, and Hope acquired a couple letterpress machines and built a studio where TLBC creations come to life. But designing wedding stationary is a highly competitive business. That’s why Hope takes a different approach (perhaps those business courses were beneficial after all). She thinks bigger, beyond providing the tangible invitation.

“Every day, I am faced with the task of bringing a couple’s story to life,” she says. “My clients are often creatives themselves, bombarded with inspiration from every angle—an overload even. My job is to dig deep to the roots of the couple’s story and put that on paper.”

If that sounds like a daunting task, it is. An endless amount of creative energy is put fourth for each project, fabricating inspiration from beginning to end.

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“I call myself a stationery designer, but really, and maybe not officially, I’m a wedding branding designer,” Hope explains. “I brand the wedding from start to finish with much more than just the invitation.”

Much more indeed. TLBC offers custom stationery design, specialty assembly, fine cotton papers, letterpress printing, “will you be my bridesmaid?” cards, wood etched address stamps, hand painted detailing, vintage stamps, silkscreen, wedding day gifts, vow prints, wedding party accessories—and all of the other things brides forget they need.

Hope says that couples often use aspects of what she has created to have other key pieces made for their big day. “I help curate a ‘collection’ of items to bring that brand, that story, to life,” she says. “I often bring a second layer of texture on top of the paper with specialty made wood-cuts. Those same familiar pieces may be found in and around the big day.”

What started with just paper has turned into a number of pieces—from cake toppers, wedding-day signage and reception décor—that help orchestrate a couple’s story from engagement through the big day. And that’s where Ponoko comes in.

Expanding Product Offerings With Laser Cutting

Adding customization makes TLBC products standout among the hundreds of other wedding stationery suppliers, and Hope’s creativity plus unique sense of style needed the right supplier match.

“Texture plays a large role for my inspiration,” she says. “I have a very organic feel to most of my work paired with a natural color pallet. I often find a suitable need to bring in wood aspects to achieve a certain level of emotion and to get that natural, textural feel many of my brides opt for.”

To attain this authentic aesthetic, she knew mass-produced, off-the-shelf wedding items wouldn’t work for her clientele: Couples that have impeccable taste, appreciate a nicely hosted gathering, and have a vision and story to tell.

With a quick internet search, she found Ponoko. After discovering the streamlined making process, Hope could easily navigate her work into a space where she can see, quote and order in a timely manner.

“These solutions have allowed me to easily and affordably introduce custom products as opposed to the mass-produced options that scour the internet,” she says. “Since finding Ponoko, I’ve been able to introduce a new line of options for my clients, from wood cut assembly details, cake toppers, wedding signage and more. I can easily reorder, alter materials and see what works best for the job.”

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To see more of Hope’s creations, check out the collection of custom work, DIY projects, etiquette help and wedding planning tips at thelittlebluechair.com.

Setting A Foundation For Years Of Happiness

So what does a blue chair have to do with weddings? More than you think.

It began as an actual little blue chair sat on to unwrap Christmas gifts. The sentiment of unveiling and the surprise element of the package became the foundation of the business.

Hope continues to aim for the simplicity in her work, with an appreciation for imperfections. Between illustration, organic typefaces and letterpress, that goal seems to be accomplished again and again.

Her clear direction and design aesthetic have created a solid base for her business to continue growing. Here’s to living happily ever after.

 

 

Make Oh-So On-Trend Light Boxes

New Material: Opal Acrylic Is Re-Released In The NZ Catalog

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If you want to light up someone’s life, then you need to be making with the re-released Opal Acrylic. With its popularity in the USA, we’re now bringing it back to New Zealand for all the makers down under.

Why Opal Is A Great Choice

Since it’s the first single color 2mm acrylic in NZ, makers benefit from a lower base material cost. Additionally, the thinner thickness is faster to cut through, so it costs less to make the same design on 2mm than on 3mm. Double cost savings. Sweet!

Opal Acrylic is slightly translucent, making it perfect for projects where the objective is to diffuse light—such as electronics projects, signs and lamp shades. Or make a light box to really be on-trend.

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How Etsy Sellers Are Using Opal Acrylic

RoKDesignStudio has made this lamp from natural oiled oak, complemented by red twisted cloth vintage wire and opal acrylic for light diffusion. Use it on the floor, bookshelf, table or anywhere else where a mood light can be placed to create atmosphere.

What Else Can You Use It For?

Opal Acrylic isn’t limited to functional light sources. It can also be used artistically. Helen Reynolds, a Wellington-based artist, created a series of work exploring cloud shape and formation, including a sculptural installation she created with the help on Ponoko’s laser cutting service. See behind the scenes of how she did it in the article “Creating Cloudscape Sculptures From Laser Cut Layers.”

Acrylic – Opal

The acrylic tends to pick up light on the edges, which gives off a kind of subtle glow. And the color of light can easily be changed by using different colored light bulbs.

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Learn more about Opal Acrylic and get a Sample.

What bright ideas do you have for making with this re-released acrylic? Would it be functional…or more artistic? We’d love to hear all about it. Share by leaving a comment below!

 

New Ultrasuedes: You “Can” Touch This

3 New Shades Of Ultrasuede Added To The USA Materials Catalog

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Forget what M.C. Hammer says. When it comes to our three new shades of ultrasuede, you can touch this.

Why Ultrasuede is Special

A synthetic microfiber fabric with a natural-looking suede surface, ultrasuede is sooooooo soft that you can’t keep your hands off it. In addition to its tactile appeal, the new black, bone and red colors are beautiful aesthetically too.

Ultrasuede is special because being synthetic means it’s a vegan alternative to leather—so it’s great for carnivores and herbivores alike. And since the polyester used in ultrasuede is recovered from pre-consumer waste, it is appealing to those with environmental and sustainability concerns.

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Ultrasuede – Black

Black is a great choice to compliment stationary.  You can make items such as book covers, bookmarks, document pouches and business card holders. Incorporate it into branding with items such as clothing labels and hangtags. Or make fashion accessories such as bags, purses and wallets.

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Learn more about Black Ultrasuede and get a Sample.

Ultrasuede – Bone

We love this natural color, which has a great contrast when engraved. You could even combine the flexibility of ultrasuede with hard materials to give designs added texture and depth. However it is used, ultrasuede looks beautiful with engraved text, design—or both.

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Learn more about Bone Ultrasuede and get a Sample.

Ultrasuede – Red

Use red for a pop of color. If you’re obsessing over ultrasuede (like we are!), you may also want to check out the three colors we debuted in August: Caramel, Coffee Bean and Executive Gray. To see all the materials currently available, check out the USA Catalog.

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Learn more about Red Ultrasuede and get a Sample.

Are you as stoked about these new ultrasuedes as we are? Give us a shout in the comment box and let us know what you can’t wait to make with these new materials.

 

A Maker’s Christmas: Order Holiday Gifts By These Deadlines

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Santa is a busy guy. He is a maker, ya know. So do the guy a solid. Help out his elves and create some cool Yule products to sell in your Etsy shop or give your friends, family and coworkers.

So if you want your Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Festivas celebration to be full of good cheer, then you better get your designs ready to start making! Your festive items take time to make, so place your order by these deadlines. You don’t want to be left with a lump of coal in your stocking!

Laser Cutting Order Deadlines
Standard Making & Shipping Speeds: Last Orders by Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Upgraded Making & Shipping Speeds (charges apply): Last Orders by Monday, December 12, 2016

Metal Machining (PCM) Order Deadline
Standard Making & Shipping Speeds: Last Orders by Friday, November 18, 2016

3D Printing Order Deadline
Standard Making & Shipping Speeds: Last Orders by Friday, November 18, 2016

What’s the difference between standard and upgraded? With standard making and shipping speeds, there are no extra fees for production or shipping if you order PCM or 3D printing by the November 18 deadline or order laser cutting by the November 25 deadline.

But what if you miss the deadline because all the stock in your Etsy store sold out? Or if you went to the mall and realized that you can’t get your mom another snowman sweater because she’ll disown you? Not to worry, you can upgrade to faster making speed and expedited shipping so you don’t miss out on the holiday festivities. This means you can wait to order…but only if you don’t mind spending some extra coin!

Also, delivery dates are dependent on shipping locations. To make sure your order is under the tree in time for Christmas, check the Estimated Delivery Date provided when placing an order. If it’s after December 23, then adjust the making speed or shipping speed (or both) until your preferred delivery date appears.

Holiday Making Inspiration

Not sure what you want to make? Need some inspiration to get in the holiday spirit? This Instructables tutorial will show you how to make laser-cut holiday decorations.

To see what kind of Christmas items sell on Etsy, check out CraftyLou2’s ornaments and baubles.

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And don’t forget to check out the Ponoko Showroom where you’ll find ideas for snowflakes, candle luminaries, this Christmas Tree Ball Ornament With Stars—and more.

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Remember: Christmas is the busiest time of year for us as well as for carriers, so things can take a little longer to make and ship than during the rest of the year. Don’t wait to make. Order by the deadlines and receive all your custom products for selling or personalized presents for gifting in time for your special celebrations. Get started today. You don’t want to end up on the naughty list!

 

New Materials: Brushed Gold On Black Acrylic

Just Released In The NZ Materials Catalog

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Do we have a golden ticket for you! Now you can add some bling to any project with our new 1.6 mm Two Color Acrylic – Brushed Gold on Black. The first gold colored option for New Zealand, this acrylic features a metal-like, brushed-gold finish on top with a smooth black finish on the bottom.

Since the two-color acrylic engraves beautifully to reveal the black underneath, it’s perfect for making jewelry, signage, front panels on electronics and holiday decorations. Snowflakes are super pretty!

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You can also make “golden tickets” for wedding invitations or use them as event VIP tickets.

For the ambitious, make golden tickets to kick off a special adventure for friends and family that would make Willy Wonka proud. (And there’s no purchase of Willy Wonka chocolate bars necessary. But you may start singing “I’ve Got The Golden Ticket” like Grandpa Joe. Don’t say we didn’t warn you…)

Acrylic – Two Color – Brushed Gold on Black

Learn more about Brushed Gold On Black Acrylic and get a Brushed Gold On Black Acrylic Sample.

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With the addition of this new two-color acrylic, we now have 23 acrylic colors (some with multiple thicknesses) currently available in the NZ catalog. And if you love the gold and black combo, you’ll also want to check out Brushed Silver On Black Acrylic and Matte Black On White Acrylic to see how these cool graphic qualities can be added to designs.

 

What kind of golden projects do you want to make with this new material? Share your ideas by leaving a comment below!