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Clear acrylic menu board – laser cut and engraved

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The best way to cut and engrave clear acrylic for decor, functional pieces and jewelry is with a CO2 laser. Let’s walk through a simple project using the xTool P2 and I’ll show you how to create this clear acrylic menu board.

blank menu board

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Acrylic is a type of plastic that is very strong and durable. It can be transparent or opaque, comes in every color, and can even be found with patterns and glitter. It’s a versatile material ideal for making jewelry and signs.

xTool acrylic options
A selection of xTool acrylic materials

Intricately cut earrings or a plant stake be made with different types of acrylic.

acrylic projects made with xTool P2

Working with acrylic requires some type of machinery. You can engrave acrylic with a Cricut Maker 3 and the engraving tip. This works with very thin pieces and creates single line designs. This is a great way to start if you already have a Maker, just purchase the engraving tip to get going.

Deeper engraving requires a laser, and to cut you need an even stronger laser. One of these machines can be a good investment if you plan to do a lot of work with acrylic.

What type of laser will work with acrylic?

This is a great question to ask before you buy a laser. You don’t want to invest in a machine that can’t create the projects you have in mind. Make sure you understand your laser’s capabilities before purchasing.

I have a series of videos to help you make an informed buying decision. Watch CO2 vs Diode laser and S1 interchangeable laser modules to get started.

Here’s a quick breakdown.

  • A diode laser can engrave and cut opaque cast acrylic in dark colors very well. Some diode laser models include the Glowforge Aura, Wecreat Vision, xTool S1 and xTool M1.
  • An IR laser module can engrave (not cut) all types of acrylic, but you are usually limited by a small working area. You can find an IR module in the Laserpecker, xTool S1, and xTool F1.
  • A CO2 laser can cut and engrave all types of acrylic. These are made by Glowforge, xTool, Omtech and more.
  • A fiber laser can cut and engrave all types of acrylic.

As the capabilities of a laser increase, so does the price. You’ll want to balance out cost and performance to find the right fit. For me that perfect fit is a CO2 laser. It can cut and engrave all types of acrylic with ease. It has a large working area but fits nicely in my craft space. The cost is substantial but still less than a fiber laser.

xTool P2

My CO2 laser is the xTool P2. Take a look a full breakdown of this machine and see what it can do in my xTool P2 review.

How to design a menu board

There are many ways to create or procure a design to use with a laser. I’m using an xTool machine so I created this project inside xTool Creative Space. You could also use a program like Canva or Inkscape, or purchase a premade SVG design from Creative Fabrica.

If you have an xTool, grab the XCS design file here and use it to create your own acrylic menu board.

acrylic menu board on fridge

Watch the video in this post to follow along step by step and create your own version.

Acrylic menu board with meals

Clear Acrylic Menu Board

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Laser cut and engrave a magnetic menu board

Instructions

  1. Open xTool Creative Space and use this project file. Menu board design in XCS
  2. Connect your P2 to XCS.
  3. All cut, score and engrave settings are already in the file. If you know your machine requires a slightly different setting, make that adjustment to each layer.
  4. Place a piece of masked clear acrylic into the machine and close the lid. The camera will register an image of the material in the software.
  5. In XCS, adjust the design to fit on the material. Design on material in XCS
  6. Process the design
  7. When the laser is finished, pull the material out of the machine, leave the mask on!
  8. Use a baby wipe to gently remove any residue from the engraving and let the piece dry.
  9. With the mask still on, paint the engraving with an acrylic paint marker. The masking will help prevent the paint from running over the edges.
  10. Once dry, pull the masking off the front and back.
  11. Use a baby wipe or Q-tip to remove any paint that seeped under the masking.
  12. Attach 3M double sided adhesive tape to the back of each magnet, cut around the magnet and pull off the backing. This tape is very strong and will secure the magnets nicely to the acrylic. attach magnets to menu board
  13. Place the magnets on the back of the acrylic. acrylic menu board on fridge

Notes

This process can be used to cut and engrave any type of acrylic designs.

Recommended Products

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Did you make this project?

Share yours and tag @creativeramblings

I am using this menu board on my refrigerator as a way to plan meals for my family. It replaces a piece of paper I would normally use each week. A dry erase marker works perfectly on the clear acrylic menu board and erases without leaving any residue behind.

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laser cut and engraved acrylic menu board

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