If you are looking for Glowforge projects to try out, this article has you covered. Glowforge laser cutting machines have been trending in the DIY community since their introduction in 2018. Because of its flexibility and user-friendliness, it has given amateurs, experts, and everyone in between new ways to express their imagination.
No matter how much or little experience you have with arts and crafts, the laser cutters can help you realize your creative potential. Your creativity is the only limitation when making one-of-a-kind presents, decorations, jewelry, and signage.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most exciting and cutting-edge things that can be made using a Glowforge. If you’re ready to take your DIY crafts to the next level or start a small laser cutting business, here are some awesome Glowforge project ideas to get you started.
Top Glowforge Projects and Ideas in 2023
Scattering the rays of light across your room, a suncatcher is one of the most aesthetically pleasing Glowforge projects you can make on your machine.
This particular project on Etsy contains a great collection of butterflies, birds, and plants. All these models are designed to hold small pieces of stained glass and cast a shadow on your walls.
You can use acrylic as an alternative to glass to make things a bit easier and more affordable. For the frame, MDF or wood works just fine and it blends well with the overall design of the suncatcher.
Embed a few pieces of stained glass in the frame, and you’ve got a beautiful accessory for your room. You can place it near your window, hang it around, or just keep it as a piece on your desktop. It’ll look beautiful either way!
Wood display plaques and shop signs are a great way of adding an appeal to your homes and workshops. These wooden signs make for ideal Glowforge projects and give your place a rustic and earthy look.
Any hardwood would be fine for creating these signs. You can engrave the letters or designs directly on the wooden board, or you can cut them out as a separate layer that you stick on top.
For beginners with a healthy budget, you can use Glowforge’s Proofgrade materials to easily make these signs. These materials are easy to use with the Glowforge machine and have all the settings pre-loaded in the software.
For the finishing touch, a polish with Linseed oil will help bring out the grainy texture of the wood and elevate the appearance of your signs.
Resin Stained Glass
It’s a different take on the classic stained glass used in several artworks. Instead of actual glass pieces, the maker of this project uses resin to achieve a similar effect.
WhenGeeksCraft created a box of resin photo frames that sit neatly within a lightbox. Each photo frame is about 4 x 6 inches in size with different kinds of artwork.
This acrylic material is cut per the image’s outline, and resin is poured individually in each frame section. Preparing the frame is a painstaking process, but the results are rewarding enough to justify the efforts.
Remember, this one’s not an easy task. But if you’re ready for an adventure and want to use your Glowforge cutter for more than just ornaments, these resin photo frames can top the list of your best Glowforge projects.
Using your Glowforge laser cutter, you can level up your gifts for your teachers by creating personalized gifts for your favorite professors.
Personalized ruler sets are one of the best and easiest Glowforge project ideas you can create on your machines. It’s a pretty straightforward project, as you don’t need to fiddle much with the settings to get a good result.
This particular design on Etsy has around 12 different ruler designs. One for your science teacher, another for your sports coach, and so on. Stepanie gives you loads of options in her designs and wants to make sure that there’s one for each teacher. They make for a thoughtful present and are a nice way to show appreciation toward your mentors.
Etched Glass Tiles
Glowforge can work through glass and etch your designs like it’s written on paper. The laser is designed for engraving on glass and not cutting through it. You can use this to your advantage on glass tiles that have a painted back.
This project shared on the Glowforge community showcases a glass tile that’s been etched using a Glowforge laser cutting machine. These are regular Home Depot tiles that have a coat of paint on the back.
The designer first etched the paint back using the focused beam from the laser. This created small grooves on the back of the paint surface. These etched grooves were later filled with a paint pen to complete the design. It’s quite a clever way to get clean and clear text or images on the glass tile.
You can extend this project beyond just the text etchings. For example, bwente from the Glowforge community used a similar technique to etch an image. The image looks spectacular as it is. But, with a few contrast adjustments and laser tuning, you can make it even more sharp and clear.
If you like puzzles and cars, then this vehicle collection would be the perfect project for you. It has over 40 vehicles ranging from cars and helicopters to military tanks, all set to be cut on the Glowforge laser cutter.
Every vehicle is designed to be cut from MDF, and the designs support up to a thickness of 3 mm. The cutting part is the easiest part, you need some more skills and patience to put all the parts together.
There are not many comments on the laser files, but the users mentioned some tweaking is needed to ensure a clean fit. Nonetheless, for $5, it’s one of the most fun Glowforge projects worth experimenting on.
Acrylic Night Lamps
Acrylic night lamps make for great table pieces and gift items. You can add these lamps to your decor and amp up your room aesthetics with the right design.
This collection on Etsy has over 200 designs you can make using your Glowforge laser cutter. Some are plain 2D designs, while others give an illusionary 3D effect. Marvel characters, Star Wars figures, and multiple 3D shapes are all included in this collection.
The light from the frame’s base flows like a river stream through the acrylic. This results in a nice and pleasant hue from the lamp that’s pleasant to look at.
Keep in mind that the collection only contains project ideas you can engrave. For the base, refer to this Instructable by How-To-Do. It has a step-by-step guide on creating the Acrylic LED lamp from start to finish.
If you want to save time, you can also purchase an Acrylic LED Lamp Base for a couple of bucks on Amazon.
Custom Leather Dog Collar
Personalized dog collars are a great example of making an otherwise boring item interesting. Going beyond the typical nylon or leather materials, a leather collar adds a certain persona and elegance to the dog’s appearance.
This Glowforge project showcases a simple example of a custom-made leather collar for Zelda, the Husky. It’s a rugged, thick leather collar with rivets and buckles to tie everything together.
You can take inspiration from such Glowforge project ideas and create collars and belts for your own pets. They’re fun to make and can be a great alternative to store-bought belts.
- Designed by: jbv
- Where to get: Glowforge community
There’s something special about the look of multilayer Glowforge projects. When you stack flat, multicolored pieces of wood on top of one another, it creates a 3D effect that makes your drawings seem to be floating in midair.
This bear mandala has seven stacked layers of colored wood sheets, which together form a beautiful landscape. The bear’s body serves as the outline and frame for this project, with all of the trees and mountains filling in the gaps.
It’s only one example of Irina’s work, which can be found in their various web stores. They have also made multilayered owls, wolves, and horses. Each design has been tested on the Glowforge laser and comes with high user praise.
With these, you can proudly showcase your handiwork or use them as wall decor. Test them and let us know how they turn out on your Glowforge cutter.
Welcome Home Signs
Traditional welcome-home signs might seem boring to many. If you have access to a Glowforge laser, there’s no reason to be stuck with an old design.
You can create this amazing welcome home sign without much effort on your laser machine. It features a simple yet pleasing design and several places to hang things like keys. There are also a few buttons included in the digital files that pair well with this sign.
Maplewood is best suited for this sign. Although, you’re free to experiment with your own material choice. It’s one of those Glowforge project ideas you can play around with and modify to your liking.
Wedding Ring Boxes
It’s always a good idea to store your precious wedding rings in a secure box. And it’s an even better idea if you can store these rings with some style and elegance.
Antony from the 1LasercutFile store has designed a cute and lovely ring box for your wedding rings. It’s a 150 x 75 mm ring box with an infinity symbol in the middle. The beauty lies in its simplicity and easy design.
The best way to create this box would be to use dark hardwood for the base of the wedding box. Then make the top with light-colored wood. This combination gives the box a nice contrast and makes it visually pleasing.
For some people, cooking in the kitchen is more than a chore. Many people like their kitchen to be personalized. Custom cutting boards are an ideal way to do so.
This cutting board template has several kitchen conversions you’d use on a regular basis. No need to use your phone or calculator to convert a gallon of water to liters. Simply glance at your cutting board, and you’re good to go.
It makes the cooking process a little bit simpler and helps you enjoy it as well. Try it out and let us know how it goes along with your next recipe.
Cute little baby bears make a unique gift for baby showers and birthdays. These small bears can hold gift cards or make for nice decorations near your baby’s nursery.
This Glowforge project is designed for use with wood. It’s not a typical bear outline but more of a 3D model with layers of wood that stack together.
It’d look great with any kind of hardwood but can be painted as well. It’s designed to hold a 5.6×8.6 cm (2.13″x3.38″) gift card, but you can size it up or down as per your liking. Going one step further, you can engrave personalized greetings or designs on the gift card to make it even more unique.
Tiered decor trays have a certain appeal to them. The design of three trays stacked on top of one another levels up your table decor and adds an elegant touch. Plus, the octagonal shape is a neat-looking geometric design that stands out anywhere.
These trays are also great for saving surface space and storing items in an organized manner. You can use these to serve refreshments and pieces of bread on a table or simply to store a collection of random things.
For this project, you can use Glowforge’s Proofgrade Draftboard, acrylic, or plywood as the tray material. The laser files are ready to be used on the Glowforge machines allowing you to quickly start the project.
This LEGO display case takes quite a creative approach to storing your Lego minifigs. It displays all the characters in a shelf-like setup, with the actual case representing a LEGO minifig (or should we say macrofig?).
Missy Stevens has designed the cabinet to hold up to 30 figurines at once, each in their own little section. The entire case is made up of birch wood, giving it the structural rigidity and durability that it needs.
It’s one of the popular Glowforge projects on Etsy, and there are multiple makes posted by several users. It makes a great gift for LEGO fans of all ages and gives them a neat place to store their precious figurines.
Glowforge cuts through leather like a knife through butter. With the correct settings, you can expect clean cuts with almost no burn marks on the edges.
This leather wallet template is another example of a functional Glowforge project. It’s a simple bi-fold wallet design you can get with or without stitching patterns. It’s not a wallet for storing many things but rather a minimalistic one to store a few cards and some cash.
The pricing for the Glowforge files is reasonable at ~$3, and the wallet is easy to cut with your laser machine. You can further personalize it by engraving a name or symbol on the front side. Try it out with different leather colors and types and get a custom wallet for yourself or one of your loved ones.
Fancy eyeglasses make for a nice prop item for your cosplay costume. Or you can just wear the frames to level up your everyday style.
Atacandigital posted a cool design on Etsy that has been tested on Glowforge machines. It contains two designs for a couple of dollars, and both are quite good. It’s a simple cut-and-use project and shouldn’t take more than an hour to go from the designs to usable glasses.
These are not suitable for holding lenses and are only made for aesthetic use. You can color them and pair them with your outfits for a cool look every day. It’s a great simple project that you can use to learn more about your Glowforge cutter.
Airpod cases come in lots of different materials and types. But the ones that stand out most are the leather-style cases that help give your AirPods a premium look.
Custom leather cases are rather expensive, and a well-crafted cover can cost you upwards of $25. It’s a lot of money for a case.
With a Glowforge machine, you can create such projects for yourself for a much smaller cost. While quite not the same, the Leap Leather Craft shop on Etsy has an elegant and neat design template for you to use.
There’s no need for complex wet shaping for this leather case. The template is easy to cut and only a few stitches tie it all together. For $3.00 for the laser files, it’s good value for money and a great option if you want to store your AirPods with style.
Apple Watch Bands
With a Glowforge, you can skip buying the expensive Apple leather bands and create one for yourself instead.
Casey Hill’s Apple Bands templates are one of the most popular Glowforge projects on Etsy for Apple devices. It has SVG files for 38mm, 40mm, 42mm, and 44mm Apple Watch Bands. All you need to do is place a piece of leather material on your Glowforge and run this design.
Using the Glowforge software, you can add a personal touch to these leather bands. You can engrave names, quotes, or symbols and customize the leather band.
The laser file allows you to experiment with different materials and create unique project ideas that complement your style.
Coasters are another household item that is more often overlooked. Most people might get a coaster purely for its functionality. But what if you could go one step ahead and personalize them for your needs?
Avadir And Co have done just that. They’ve designed a marble and wood coaster designed for special events. The white marble mixed with wood gives the coaster an elegant and clean look. You can engrave your message or special dates on the wood and customize it to your liking.
This particular project is sold on Etsy as a physical object. But there’s no reason you can’t create it on your own Glowforge laser cutter. A great idea would be to mix-n-match different materials to create your own designs.
This DIY guide by Molly is a great guide for creating such coasters. Refer to it to help create your own designs of this cool project. If you happen to build one, do share it with us.
What can you not put in a Glowforge?
There are quite a few materials that you should absolutely never cut on a Glowforge laser cutter. For example, PVC, ABS, HDPE, Fiberglass, coated carbon fiber, and soft reflecting metals like chrome, copper, and PolyStyrene foam. Chrome-tanned leather is also not safe to be cut on a Glowforge.
All these materials emit harmful, toxic gasses when burnt and in some cases can even damage the machine’s lenses and parts. Therefore, you are best advised to avoid them. If you aren’t sure about the material you are working with, don’t laser cut it.
What laser cutting projects can you make with a Glowforge?
You can create Glowforge projects ranging from simple engravings on wood material to complex assemblies like multi-part vehicle models. It works with a wide spectrum of materials, so you have a lot of freedom in the types of projects you tackle.
Keep in mind that for such projects that involve fabric, you are better off with a Cricut cutting machine. A Glowforge is not the best solution for fabric material.
Is the Glowforge Pro laser cutter worth the extra money?
Whether the Glowforge Pro is worth the money depends on the type of user you are. For professional users, it can certainly be worth it. For casual hobbyists, not so much.
The Glowforge Pro model is the top-tier version in the Glowforge laser lineup. Compared to the basic model, it comes with a bigger build size, a passthrough feature, better cooling, and a marginally more powerful CO2 laser. But it costs almost $3000 more.
The Glowforge basic is enough for most users and does a decent job for hobbyists and first-time laser device users. The price difference isn’t justifiable unless you use the laser machine for more than just your personal use.
Glowforge has unquestionably introduced new excitement and enjoyment to the creative world. The best aspect about having a Glowforge machine is that there’s no end to the designs and popular projects you can make. These examples of Glowforge projects are only the beginning.
We hope this post has sparked some project ideas for you to use your Glowforge in unique ways. Test the limits of your imagination and discover what fantastic designs you can create on your machines. And don’t forget to share your creations with the rest of the world.
Thanks for reading, and keep making!