I stumbled across two awesome do-it-yourself sites in the past week, thanks to some of the great bloggers out there.  The first one is Ponoko, which allows you to do what I’ve always wanted to do: design something and then have someone else laser-cut it for you from wood, Perspex or felt.  When I was making jewellery, I wanted to experiment with creating patterns from wood, but I couldn’t find a maker who would laser-cut them for me.  Problem solved with Ponoko!

The second site is Spoonflower, which allows you to print your own fabric designs.  I squealed with excitement when I saw this one.  My other wish is granted!  I’ve always wanted to create my own fabric, and even took a textile design course, but making the design is more important to me than actually producing the fabric, and although I loved doing it, I was always kind of disappointed with my results.  I wanted something that looked like it had been professionally printed.  I can’t wait to try this out, but I need a few weeks to come up with a good design.  See the Flickr Spoonflower Fabric Design Pool for some great designs by Spoonflower users.

One of my Ponoko Christmas ornaments

One of my Ponoko Christmas ornaments

I placed my first order with Ponoko today – a set of four Christmas ornaments I designed myself.  They’re going to be cut from red-tinted perspex.  I can’t wait to see them!  I had to teach myself Inkscape (an open-source vector drawing program, kind of like Adobe Illustrator) to make them, so the designs are rudimentary, but this is just a practice run for some jewellery designs that I’ll be making.  I’ll be teaching a 2-day course in jewellery design at the V&A in May, and we’ll be producing our designs with Ponoko.  The only disappointing thing is that shipping my ornaments to the UK is going to cost more than producing them – quite a hefty sum.  I think it’s worth trying out the service, though, and if I like the results my challenge will be to work out how to use the greatest amount of surface area in order to keep costs down.  Awesome idea, though – I’ve been waiting for something like this for a long time!

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