Thank you for stopping by and checking out our blog this week at JD CNC! Today we are going to be walking you through how to create some simple designs for making leather patches. These patches can be cut out and attached to bags, hats, stockings, and so much more. And yes, even though we are using this design for leather patches, the techniques that we will share with you can be used for many other projects in the future! So, if you are looking to gain some knowledge on the basics of Lightburn, keep reading!
Image 1: Lightburn preview of finished patch design.
First and foremost, we need to make sure that you can follow along with us in the same software. We will be using Lightburn, as stated above. Lightburn is a great software to use for laser engraving and is becoming the new normal. We have included links to the site in which you can either download a trial version to get started or purchase the software for lifetime use. Make sure that you pick the correct software based upon what machine that you will be running. Follow these links, get Lightburn set up, and keep it open to get started designing.
Lifetime License: Buy LightBurn – LightBurn Software
Throughout this blog if there is anything that you are not understanding, please feel free to take a look at the video that we have included at the end of this blog. You can watch us make this file step by step. We did not include audio with this video as you have the blog to read and follow along with.
If not already open, open Lightburn. Go to File and Save As and make sure that you save this file in a folder that you can easily find in the future. We have saved ours under Leather_Patch_Template.
SIDE NOTE: Each laser and each type of leather works differently and uses different settings. These files are used for Genuine Leather found at Michaels and is used on an 80W OMTech laser. You may have to adjust the cut/engrave settings per your machine.
Creating the Outline
Now that you have the file saved, lets start designing! First off, the toolbar on the lefthand side of the main screen is going to be your best friend while creating any files in Lightburn! Here you will find your commands such as Shapes, Round, Offset, and Text. All of which we will be using while creating this template.
Image 2: Rectangle Command.
The grid in the middle of the main screen represents your work area and it is where we will be creating designs. So, to get started we are going to make the overall outline of the leather patch. Click on the rectangle shape tool in the toolbar and then click and drag in your work area to create the shape. After creating the overall shape, make sure that it is still highlighted and adjust the size of the patch. We will be creating a patch that is 2" high and 3" wide. We have found that this is a great size for most of our products.
Rounding the Corners
To make our patch a little more aesthetically pleasing, we will be rounding the corners. To do so, highlight the rectangle, and click the radius tool found in the toolbar on the lefthand side of the screen.
Image 3: Radius Command.
When you click the command, it will then open up the ability to type in the radius that you prefer. We are going to be using a .25" radius for our corners... so go ahead and type that in! After typing in the correct radius, go back into the workspace and click all 4 corners of the outline. You will see that one by one they will round and create a nice shape for the patch!
Using Offset to Create Inner Design
On all of our patches you will see that we like to add an additional line engraving that is the same shape of the patch. It creates a nice clean look. We, here at JD CNC, use a superior strength adhesive to adhere our patches, so this little extra touch mimics the design of stitching on patches. To do so, highlight the outline, and click the offset tool in the lefthand toolbar.
Image 4: Offset Command.
For this specific design we would like to offset the outline inward, with rounded corners, at a distance of .125". When all of these settings have been checked and the distance has been set click okay and your offset line will appear in your design.
We will now be creating the main portion of the design... the text! Go ahead and click on the Text Command in the toolbar and then click anywhere in the work area. This will activate the ability to add text.
Image 5: Text Command.
In our example we will be typing "Jamie" in all caps. Go ahead and type your name or word that you would like on your patch. Then making sure that the text is highlighted you can go to the top of the screen and select which font you prefer. We have chosen "Avocado Creamy", however, this is personal preference at this point. After deciding which font you would like, locate the dimensions in the top tool bar and set the height to 1.25" and the length to 2.5". This will create the perfect size text to fit into the design!
Next, we need to center everything in the design so that the design is pleasing to the eye. So, highlight all of the objects that you just created and then locate the "Center All" command in the top toolbar and click it.
Image 6: Center All Command.
This will enter all of the designs to each other and create a very nice design!
Setting up Layers
This design itself is complete, however, we need to be able to communicate to your laser and tell it what to cut and what to engrave. So, let's go through the layers and get the settings correct! Again, this is for our 80W OMTech so yours may be slightly different. Follow along below to set up the layers:
- Click the outline and make it blue. Set the settings to Line, Speed of 30, and Power of 32. Double click on the layer on the right side of the screen and make sure that the number of passes is set to 3.
- Click the offset line and make it red. Set the settings to Line, Speed of 325, and Power of 18. Double click on the layer on the right side of the screen and make sure that the number of passes is set to 1.
- Click the text and make it green. Set the settings to Fill, Speed of 325, and Power of 22. Double click on the layer on the right side of the screen and make sure that the number of passes is set to 2.
Image 6: Cut Layers Settings
Make sure that you have the layers in the order of Red, Green, and Blue. We want to cut the patch out last!
Save the File and Get to Creating
Now that you have created the perfect file for patches be sure to save! This will save all of your settings and cut layers and now you can just open the file, do a save as and edit the text without redesigning the whole patch! This helps with repeatability and efficiency when creating a lot of patches! Now, go ahead and send the file to your laser and get to creating!
After cutting out the patch we like to cut and clean ours with Odie's Oil. It helps to seal the leather to protect it and also darkens the design and leather a little bit for a clean patch design!
Video 1: Leather Patch Tutorial.