My wife is a keeper. She is my honey. What I’m trying to say is, my wife is a bee keeper! She has a hive of honey bees that she looks after and cares for. When it came time to give her a little gift, I searched far and wide for something fun that was honey bee related.
All I could find were little silver honey bee charms and pendants. They all looked pretty much the same. For some reason it wasn’t fun enough for my sweet wife. Way back when, I helped her build and paint her wood hive, so I had a good idea of all the working parts and how they went together.
I decided to design a tiny little toy bee hive as a gift for the bee keeper in my life. I now share the SVG file with you, in case you want to make one too. It really is the perfect gift for a bee keeper.
Advanced Tip: If you are proficient using the free program, Inkscape, you could update the SVG file with a name or logo so that the little bee hive is customized to their name or brand. (I also happen to offer an online course that teaches Inkscape for Glowforge if you want to learn how.)
I design for Glowforge laser cutter, so my SVG files are in color. You can make this tiny bee hive using any laser cutter that will run using a SVG file.
It was like most any other night at my place. I was up late watching Praveen Mohan’s YouTube videos about Advanced Ancient Technology and just as I began to drift off into some other form of consciousness the analytics at YouTube took over and started showing me random videos. Up popped Irving Finkle playing the ancient game of 20 Squares which is better known as The Royal Game of Ur.
It got me all excited. It was the perfect mixture of all the things I love so much. Archaeology, Lost Ancient Knowledge, Magic, Divination, Entertainment, Toys, Games… the toy maker, oracle seer, and the anthropologist in me all wanted to squeal with delight at the same time.
As soon as the game was introduced I morphed into Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka. The first thing I thought was, I want a Royal Game of Ur, Daddy, and I want it now! I decided I would use the game board and basic rules Dr. Finkle shared as inspiration and do my best to recreate this game that is about 5000 years old into a proper file for laser cutting on my Glowforge. Now that I’ve done all the hard parts, all you need is access to any laser cutter to recreate this fun piece of history.
While designing the game using Inkscape I wanted to include a few new features that seemed somehow obvious after a few plays of the first version I made of the game. It was like the board started to communicate to me. I saw how brilliant and adaptable the board could be. The game board had aspects of both dice and card suits. Players could designate any symbol to be a wild card of sorts. Safe spots, play again spots, gambling spots (land on this or that symbol and players must toss another coin in the pot for the winner), etc, can all be invented by the players as they go along. The reason 20 Squares was the most popular game of ancient times was the ability to create different challenges to keep it interesting.
I wanted my design to be a container box that can hold all the pieces for storage. Being an old seasoned game maker, I like to create gadgets or simple mechanisms that feel good to the user to give the game playability. Where the game is normally indented I instead created coin slots in the lid so when a player gets a piece all the way to the end, they slip their playing piece into the slot with a gratifying ka-plunk sound. A simple change, but effective. Playing pieces that have made it out of the game no longer get mixed up with pieces waiting to get into play.
Another aspect I wanted to change was where all the playing pieces go before they are on the board. I like all game parts to always have a place. I don’t like the disorder of the pieces just being left wherever. They tend to roll off the table and get lost.
To remedy this, I created a stand and made the playing pieces into little donuts with holes in the middle that slip over a rod to keep them stacked up. This way the players can compare side by side how many pieces they have left to get through the course. It is also gratifying to remove a game piece of your opponent from the board, and return it to their stack. Take that you dog.
I know these two changes are not keeping with history, but what I love about great games is that they survive over the years only because they can be modified through time. The coin slots and stacking stand keep the game contained. Now it’s easy to get out of Mom’s way, pass the game back and forth, take a break and come back later, or move to another location. Plus it is now easier to see where you stand against your opponent. The changes bring form with function.
A game for 2 players: I painted mine red and blue. The dice are four 3-sided pyramids. Each pyramid has four tips. Two tips have a hole, and two do not. You roll the four pyramids and count only the tips with holes that land on top. With this method you can roll a 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4.
Dice Variation:Casting Sticks are long rectangular dice that can only roll on four sides. They have a mark on only 2 of the 4 sides. Roll four casting sticks and count the holes that land on top. I find that the casting sticks are way easier to pick up than the slippery pyramids. The casting sticks must be cut from the thicker 1/4″ inch thick wood or acrylic, whereas the rest of the game is made using 1/8″ inch thick wood.
The object of the game is to race your opponent and get all your playing pieces into your coin slot first by an exact roll of the dice.
Player 1 rolls the dice and moves the amount rolled. See red and blue arrow on illustration above to see where each player starts and ends game play.
Player 1 and 2 take turns.
With each roll of the dice you can put as many or as few game pieces into play on the board at the same time based on your strategy.
The center aisle is shared by both players and is where the battle takes place. Remove your opponent’s game piece from the board when you land on their square.
The 5 Stars on the board are special squares. When you land on a Star you get another roll of the dice, and you are safe from being removed from the board while on that spot. Not only are you safe while on the Star, you are keeping your opponent from landing on it as well, since they cannot land there and take you off the board.
You must enter the coin slot by an exact roll. If you are out of game pieces, or cannot make a move, you forfeit your turn.
First player to get all their game pieces into the slot wins.
You will need access to a laser cutter, 1/8″ inch thick plywood, white glue or super glue, red and blue (or some other combination) paint or paint pens to color the game pieces and decorate your board.
Settings for Glowforge Laser Cutter
PINK: Engrave (HD Graphic)
BLACK: Score (Hi Def)
NOTE: The process will take 2 hours or more on the Glowforge.
Putting the laser cut pieces together. White glue or super glue will do.
The box has 5 parts to glue together. 1 bottom, 2 long sides, 2 short ends. You do not glue the game board lid.
Notice that the bottom piece has two small square holes on one end. Also notice that one of the short ends has a slot. The tab with the slot glues into the bottom end near the two small square holes.
Glue on the 2 sides and remaining end.
Place the lid on top so the box dries correctly, but make sure you don’t glue the lid!
Clamp the box together, square it all up, and allow it to dry.
The stacking stand has 4 parts. There is an oval base, 2 swords, and the C-Pin. See illustration above. You do not need to glue it together, in fact it is nice to take the stacking stand all apart and store it inside the game box.
Push the short end “handles” of the 2 swords into the 2 square holes in the oval base.
Push the tab that extends from the oval base into the end slot so it enters inside the box. The tab will line up with the square holes inside the box so you can lock it all down using the C-Pin. Stack game pieces on the sword pegs.
The pyramid dice have two parts. Push the tab in a small triangle into the square hole in the center of a larger triangle. Make sure you put it in correctly making a 4 sided pyramid, it’s easy to get it wrong. The inner edge of the small triangle should never extend beyond the edge of the large triangle. Once you figure it out, glue the tabs into place so you have 4 pyramid dice.
Paint 7 game pieces red, paint the other 7 blue. (or any 2 colors you wish.)
Decorate the game board or leave it as is.
I also include a file for Casting Sticks, but they must be laser cut on 1/4″ thick material (the game is cut from 1/8″ wood.) I prefer to use bright colored acrylic for that plastic dice feel.
I wanted to make a gift for a friend of mine who happens to love horses a lot. In my mind it was simple enough. I imagined the silhouette of a horse rearing up. I designed a wood rocking horse balance toy that bobs back and forth. However, I used up an entire sheet of wood from making poorly designed and unbalanced prototypes in order to get to this thing of beauty.
I don’t know why, but this simple toy took forever for me to figure out. From idea in my head to object in hand was an entire day of moving the horse a bit this way, burning a copy on the laser cutter, and then seeing how it all balances.
When it didn’t sit right, I tweaked the design a bit, made the weight at the bottom bigger, and burned another version on the Glowforge. Trying to guess the balance went on and on forever, much like this description.
I understand that you don’t care about any of that. My suffering matters not now that the deed is done. We just love the happy pony!
Do you know a person who has a lot of love for all things equine? Perhaps you too deeply desire to make a dancing unicorn toy on your laser cutter. I get it. I’ve been there.
You will need access to a laser cutter, 1/8″ thick plywood (or colorful acrylic could be fun), and white glue or super glue.
BLUE: Engrave (set to HD Graphic)
RED: First cut
BLACK: Last cut
How to put the Dancing Unicorn together:
There are 2 balance toys included in this design (a horse and a unicorn) but only 1 base is provided on the template. If you make both the horse and unicorn, be sure to make an extra base set (those 4 other things). Simply remember to copy/paste the extra 4 base pieces in the Glowforge user interface.
You only need to build the base. It has 4 parts. Glue is useful to hold it all together. Wood glue, white glue, or super glue will work.
Above I provide a preview of the SVG file. You will see the 2 sides (with stars.) Above them are what I call the bottom bit (on top left) and the top bit (top right).
Take a side (the part with a star), and insert the square hole on the bottom down into one of the 2 grooves found in the bottom bit. Do it for both sides. Nest them together evenly so the base will stand flat.
Push the top bit down onto the four tabs on top.
Now you need to get the base inside the circular weight and under the horse. You will notice under the horse’s standing hoof there is a point with a slot opening into the circular weight. Slide the hoof and point over the flat top of the base until the horse balances in place on top. I know that explanation is very confusing, so please view the video at the top of this page to see how easily it’s done.
Greetings everyone! I was looking for a small altar or tiny temple where I could place my collection of small brass Buddha statues. I have many little Hindu Gods and Goddesses about 1.5″ tall and I wanted little shrines to display them. I looked around and could not find anything small enough, so I designed my own!
This project uses 1/8″ thick proof grade plywood on my Glowforge laser cutter. Mine is made from Cherry plywood with a luscious deep red color to the grain. Due to popular demand, I now offer my SVG file for those who have access to a laser cutter.
The SVG is made in color because Glowforge can see color. For some weird reason the Glowforge defaults engrave and score settings to draft quality, so we have to manually set engrave and score to HD or High Definition Quality for best results. Depending on your laser cutter you may have to change the order of tasks. The laser settings and step order for this design are:
Once your parts are laser cut it is time to assemble your tiny temple.
Put the Base in front of you, flip it so the JEMTOY logo is on the bottom (so you can’t see it.) Position the two front holes facing you.
Stack the Floor on top, making sure the 4 little holes line up and the laser scored line can be seen.
Insert the bottom tabs of the Window into the back two holes in the Floor and Base.
Do the same thing, insert the Front Door into the middle two holes pegging through the Floor and Base.
Insert the two little Railing pieces into the two little holes remaining on the front creating a mini staircase into the Door.
Slip the 2 Walls onto the tabs protruding from the bottom edge of the Window and Door.
Slide the 2 grooves in the Roof down onto the pegs at top of Window and Door. Push them down so there is a clear groove (for Garuda) on top.
Each Wall has pegs at top to set a Wing. Each Wing arches over the Door or Window.
Hold the top together and put Garuda in place to hold it all together. Garuda fits in the top middle groove in the roof. The openings along the bottom of Garuda snap in place sandwiching the Window and Door to the Wings. NOTE: Do not push on the long extended fragile parts of Garuda, they might break making your tiny temple a little ruin.
The tiny temple will hold most statues 1″ – 1.5″ inches tall. The project could also be a wonderful Fairy House or Spirit House – and you leave it empty for tiny visitors to camp out in when they pass through! If you have a big love for all things small, this is a great project to make with a kid.
Glowforge released an Ear Saver file so folk could laser cut their own ear savers, but I thought the design needed to be cuter! I updated the file to have little bunnies, kitties, hearts, and smilies for that personal touch. Sometimes it is the smallest thing that brings good cheer. Wearing a mask is so impersonal. This small piece of plastic will make you stand out, and it might even bring a little bit of joy to those who see it.
I offer the .svg file for FREE so you can laser cut your own Cute Ear Savers! The file is in color because Glowforge sees color, but you can use any laser cutter. Here are the score/cut steps in order:
Glowforge Laser Cutter instructions for JEMTOY Cute Ear Savers: Cut from 1/8″ thick Acrylic Step 1: Blue = Score Step 2: Red = Cut Step 3: Black = Cut
The bird feeder is a simple open tray with a perch. Lots of room to paint and customize. First I primed and painted the bird feeder barn red. Then once that dried I used Elmer’s Painter Pens to add flowers.
I like to outline graphic images in black to make them pop, but outlining takes so much time. My trick is to draw the stems and flowers first in a thick black paint pen or Sharpie and let it dry. Then I draw the green stems, leaves and pink flowers over the black. I leave the outer edge of the black as a nice shadow outline so it all reads from a distance. No tiny outlining detail brush required!
I suggest using a water proof paint such as acrylic. If you like the wood look, you can weather proof your bird feeder by spraying it top to bottom with clear acrylic spray on paint. I don’t like spray urethane because it often remains tacky and leaves fingerprints and attracts dust. Gross. Be sure to get a crystal clear paint of some sort but look to avoid the polyurethane based sprays if you can.
How to build the JEMTOY Bird Feeder
I suggest putting the whole thing together without glue so you are sure where everything goes. The railing around the tray can be a bit tricky. Once you have everything set, go back and glue it all together. NOTE: I have recently added 8 little holes so the Bottom drains when it rains.
First slide the Perch into the big circular opening in the main Top piece. The slot of the Perch will slide down and nest in place in the little notch on the bottom of the circular opening. This will create an X shape.
The X you just created has four square hooks at its base. The four hooks push through the 4 rectangular holes in the Bottom piece.
From under the Bottom, slide and glue the 4 loose Tabs into the hooks to catch and lock the X in place.
The railing around the tray is made up of 6 rectangles. The 2 long pieces are the front and back.
The short ones are the sides. Look at the 4 short sides carefully and pair them with their exact double. Keep them together. Let one side of the bird feeder be set A, the other set B.
The B sides have one end where the tabs are offset. The offset tabs connect into the Top piece when gluing the sides onto the tray. Glue all the tabs and holes, complete the railing, and let it all dry.
This is an update to a classic practical joke I loved as a kid. My grandfather used to keep a small yellow envelope that had ‘Rattlesnake Eggs’ written on it inside the door of his refrigerator. It was there to freak out anyone who visited his home. If you got curious enough to open the yellow envelope of rattlesnake eggs, you would be frightened by the loud spinning button mechanism inside.
The envelope contained a simple device. First a paper clip was straightened out and bent into a V shape with a loop bent in each end. Two rubber bands were threaded through the hole of a metal washer. The rubber band was stretched across the wire loops of the wire V. My grandfather would spin the button until the rubber band was wound tight, then he would slip it carefully inside the envelope. Once he closed the flap on the envelope, the button could not spin until opened by some innocent bystander. When opened, the button would make such a loud vibrating sound, it often got tossed across the room in fright. People were convinced rattlesnakes had hatched inside the envelope!
Grampy even put a few dry beans in the envelope so there were ‘snake eggs’ rolling around inside the envelope, because the curious would often shake it before they open it. Once they heard the eggs rolling around, they were even more curious to see them.
What I have done is design a little wood box with a lid. When you open the lid, the button spins and rattles. It’s a fun prank gift. There’s even little fake eggs to put in there so they make a sound if the box is shook. This is a fun Glowforge laser cutter project you can make at home using 1/8″ thick Proof Grade Medium Plywood for best sound. Put a box of delicious Rattlesnake Eggs on your kitchen counter and see who opens it first.
Here is a favorite all the kids love. A rubber band gun. Everyone immediately recognizes the clothespin spring and it’s fun to shoot rubber bands at stacked paper cups or other targets.
I offer my SVG vector designs for laser cutting on a Glowforge or other laser cutter. If you want a simple project that is tons of fun, this is it. All you need is access to a Glowforge laser cutter, some 1/8″ thick Proof Grade Medium MDF or Plywood, a clothespin, and a few rubber bands as ammo.
Carefully remove the clothespin spring. Don’t bend it out of shape, and don’t get your finger pinched when removing it. Slide the spring out of the clothespin, and set it aside for now.
There are 6 pieces with 5 clips to hold it all together. The front has 3 parts, and the back has 3 parts. They stack like a sandwich. The middle pieces are the parts without stars.
Stack the three front parts, line them up, then insert the clips in place into the 3 clip slots. I found it easiest to start inside the handle. The clips are very tight. You must squeeze and line everything up for the clips to push down and lock it all together. You’ll feel it when it goes in place.
Do the same thing for the handle. Clip the 2 slots. Now you only need to add the spring.
Slide the open end of the spring down into the hole on the front piece as in photo above. Now pull the spring outward just enough to slip the other end into the hole in the handle.
How to shoot: The nose of the rubber band gun has a hook. Snag a rubber band onto this hook, and pull the rubber band back. Squeeze the handle to open the top. Close the top so it just captures the rubber band in place. When you squeeze it open, the rubber band will shoot.
This toy is so much fun it requires parental supervision. Please teach your kids not to shoot at people or pets. Have fun! Create a mini shooting gallery with stacks of paper cups or other home made targets.
My Udemy course, Learn Inkscape For Glowforge has been a great success, so I wanted to offer my students fun projects they can download and cut on their Glowforge laser cutter.
My first offering is the Q-Tip Crossbow. Would you like to make a toy crossbow that shoots cotton swabs? Of course you do! All you need is access to a Glowforge laser cutter, 1/8″ thick Proof Grade Medium Plywood, sand paper, glue, 3 rubber bands, and lots of cotton swabs to blast around the room as ammo.
My course includes the crossbow.svg file designed in color to properly separate layers for cutting on a Glowforge. You’ll get detailed video instructions, a troubleshooting guide, and supplemental photos to help you along. It’s a slam dunk.
This project is intended for folk age 15+ because it’s a working mini crossbow made with lots of small parts. Anything this fun requires parental supervision. Kids love this project because it feels slightly dangerous. They love to build it, take it apart, replace the rubber bands. Be a hero – share this project with a kid… but remind them to not shoot it at people or pets.
If you are new to laser cutting, I suggest that you check out my first course, Learn Inkscape For Glowforge. Once you get through that and understand the process and lingo, move on to the JEMTOY laser projects I offer. You will learn tons, and have fun while doing it.
Kaijina the Bug Girl encased in wood or plastic. Hand cast resin toy in laser cut clear acrylic shipment container, or wood crate. Kaijina the Bug Girl is a mail order bride for your Kaiju monster collection. I mean, even Frankenstein’s creature had a bride! If you love your monsters, you won’t let them go lonely. You’ll get them their very own Kaijina the Bug Girl, and everyone will be happy.