The Joy of Laser Cutting is a project by Alda Escareño. 

This work is licensed under a 

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Conversation Hearts

Also known as Sweethearts, Conversation Hearts were an spin off of Necco Wafers –  colourful candy discs dating back to the 1800s. Like its predecessor, Conversation Hearts come in a variety of pastel colours with short messages of love inscribed in red on one side of the candy heart.

We will be using Conversation Hearts to learn about masking, which is a helpful technique, often used in sign-making, to add colour in isolated areas.

Ingredients

• 1/4” acrylic in a variety of colours.

Approx. 10 x 10”

Tools

 

• Tape

• Paint Marker

• Sandpaper or a sanding sponge

Files
Directions

1. For this recipe, we will be taking advantage of the protective paper coating that acrylic typically comes with. If you are sending your file to be cut, be sure to ask that they leave this paper coating on. If you are working with acrylic that does not come with a paper coating, you can use masking tape to create a similar protective layer.

2. ​Download and open a conversation_hearts file.

Measure the material you are working with and adjust the artboard of the file to match.

This file has many heart shapes, some with text and some blank. The red outlines will be cut, the black text will be rastered.

3. Add your own messages to the blank hearts, making sure to convert the text into outlines when you are done. Because we will be rastering these words, ensure these words have a black fill and no outline. You can review how to convert text to outlines in more detail here.

4. Have your file cut. If you are running this file yourself, be sure to run the raster portion deep enough to burn through the paper and into the plastic underneath.

5. Once cut, clean off the pieces, making sure to clear away any dust or soot that has accumulated inside the letter shapes. You can then use a paint marker or a brush to fill in the rastered text. The paper coating or tape acts as a stencil for this. No need to be tidy. 

6. Remove the paper coating to reveal perfectly painted text. Note that if you are using acrylic paint, you should take the paper off before the paint completely dries, as it creates a skin when dry that can chip when the masking paper is removed.

7. You can use a fine grit sanding paper to finish your conversation hearts to a frosty finish or leave them bright and glossy.

Make your own Coloured Acrylic