I wanted a new door hanger for Valentine's Day, so I made this file from scratch using Adobe Illustrator, Canva, and of course, Xtool Creative Software and my S1. If you are making this file to the size specified in the XCS file, you will need to use either the conveyor feeder or cut a puzzle piece backer to fit in the standard laser bed. If you have any questions, leave a comment and I'll do my best to reply! :)
Import the file into XCS and arrange the pieces in the workspace to optimize material usage. In this example, I utilized the conveyor feeder to cut the round backer (16") and the black frame (16"). If you do not have a conveyor feeder, you can use XCS to cut a puzzle piece backer. For the rest of the project, utilize the standard laser bed, cutting the remaining pieces from the same 5mm plywood.
NOTE: The center that is cut out of the frame is the same piece that is painted white and then reinserted into the frame for the finished sign. You will not see an additional piece in the file.
TIP: When using the conveyor feeder, consider adding tabs to prevent pieces from falling through or sticking up, preventing potential jams or damage to the laser head.
Customize the cut pieces to match your preferred style by painting and staining them. In this instance, I opted for Minwax Provincial Stain for the backer, white acrylic paint for the center piece, red acrylic paint for the letters and hearts, and black acrylic paint for the frame and additional letters. Apply the stain and paint according to your preference; personally, I prefer cost-effective methods and use inexpensive foam rollers to avoid visible brush marks. However, if brush strokes contribute to the desired aesthetic, feel free to use brushes instead. For the stain application, I utilized paper towels.
TIP: Make painting small pieces easier by securing them to your work surface. I used 12-inch transfer paper, sticky side up, and secured it to the table with painter's tape. This helps prevent pieces from moving around and ensures a steady hand during the painting process.
Note: Before starting this step, ensure that all painted and stained components are completely dry. It's advisable to let them dry overnight if possible, especially when using stain, as the residual oil can hinder proper glue curing.
Begin the assembly process starting with the frame, and use your preferred glue. Personally, I recommend regular super glue or CA glue for its instant adhesion. However, exercise caution when using super glue as its quick bond leaves no room for adjustments once applied. Beginners may opt for a craft glue with a longer drying or curing time to allow for easier alignment. You can see in the first image the frame is not quite flush, but you can't when it's hanging so I suppose that's all that matters, right!? ha
Seal your project with a WATER-BASED sealer. Oil-based will turn your project yellow.
Use the slots in the backer to attach a hanger. Select a ribbon that complements the colors and theme of your project. Cut a piece of ribbon approximately 9 inches long (adjusting as needed), thread it through the holes on the backer, and secure it by tying knots at each end.
For the main bow on the front, create a bow in whichever way you're comfortable. I typically use a 24-inch ribbon as the base and layer shorter 9-inch pieces on top in an X pattern to create a fluffy look. Use zip ties to hold the bow together and to attach it securely to the hanger ribbon. I added a small heart (cut from the same wood as the rest of the project) to conceal the zip tie.
Note: Adjust the ribbon lengths as necessary based on your preferences and the size of your project.
Run outside and hang this cutie on your door, and you're all done! Happy crafting! Happy Valentine's Day <3