Harry Potter? Let’s make it stand up!

This week an interesting query came in.

‘Can you design me something special for a Harry Potter themed wedding – that stands up?’

Hmm… It’s an unusual one but over in the Nice-Cuts workshop we put our thinking caps on.

The brief is some sort of ‘Unofficial Wedding Table Centre Piece’ that can be left behind as a gift. By this I mean, the bride and groom don’t know its coming – they may already have beautifully selected table pieces, but here comes this one anyway!

We give this one over to Zoë who, as well as already having read the Harry Potter books, has also been tinkering with 3D Christmas cards recently – just a little something to rival her baubles of last year, another blog post in the making no doubt (read about baubles here), she thinks this will be a good place to start for a Harry Potter table centre piece.

Zoë says…

My plan was to make three different picture layers that would slot together using linking pieces to create an attractive landscape scene. I started with a nice Hogwarts clip art image for the background layer. The centre layer would be overlapping trees – as if we’re looking at the Hogwarts castle through the forest. Then the front layer would be the names of the wedding couple!

So first it was important to think about the linking pieces. I decided to use slots as this would also keep the layers nice and rigid. Here is what I had drawn up a couple of weeks earlier as the back piece to my prototype Christmas cards.

Nice Cuts 3D Lasercut christmas card back pice and linking slot section. 3D Christmas card design - slotted back and linking pieces.
3D Christmas card design – slotted back and linking pieces.

So I reused my linking pieces (on the right) keeping the size and distance between slots the same – 3mm wide by 50mm tall. The width of the slot cuts is 3mm as I’m using 3mm MDF for prototyping. So, for now, as long as I don’t change the slots, the overall width of the back piece can be as big as we like! I took my Hogwarts image and lined up the 3x50mm slot holes with the bottom line of the image. If your using Adobe Illustrator, select the holes and back shape together, then choose ‘Minus Front’ in the Pathfinder Shape Modes tab to extrude the slots from the back.

Laser Cut design by Nice-Cuts Leeds Back panel for 3D Harry Potter table centre piece. Adobe Illustrator working file image
Back panel for 3D Harry Potter table centre piece.

I repeated this process for the second layer (Forbidden Forest), and then again for the front layer which is a personalised message for the wedding couple ‘Mr and Mrs Bellbrough – Hogwarts 4EVA’. The second layer worked much the same way. With it being in front of the background means it does need to be fairly see-through so as not to obscure the castle completely. Trees are perfect for this! I chose wintery leaf-bare trees to make the scene look a bit more atmospheric and eerie.

Nice Cuts laser cut design for 3D Harry Potter Table centre piece in MDF
All three laser cut out layers ready for assembly

The front layer, ‘Mr and Mrs’, was slightly trickier. Laser cutting text always throws up problems. Here I had it slightly easier not having to worry about any ‘i’s or ‘j’s. I used thin lines to anchor the text and hold it all together, then adjusted each letter individually after expanding, to make sure they sat firmly on the line. The top line was quite a delicate font, but we just about got away with it here I think.

At this point I also decided to adjust the slot tab slightly to allow the front layer to sit much lower down in the composition. This would mean that the bottom of the scene would have something interesting and would cut down on clutter higher up. The over all effect of this would create a nice stepped look. It wasn’t too tricky. I just changed the front slot so that the slot-hole meet point was lower down.

Nice Cuts Laser cut adjusted slot holes for a lower layer composition on the front layer. Adobe Illustrator design file for laser cut 3D Harry Potter table centre piece.
Adjusted slot holes for a lower layer composition on the front layer.

And finally it all comes together!

laser cut completed Hogwarts 3D table centre piece for Nice-Cuts Leeds a laser cutting service.
Completed Hogwarts 3D table centre piece.

One more note to remember when scaling up the size of the completed project – because if you’ve come this far then you may as well make it MASSIVE – a real table centre piece show stopper! Don’t forget the slots need to stay at the thickness of the material you use. I made a larger version where the slots holes ended up being 3x120mm.