In this instructables I am going to show you how I made a leaf puzzle that also shows the wood of the corresponding tree.
I grew up on a lumber yard and therefore wood has always been my favourite material to make things out of. I had the idea to make the puzzle quite some time ago and finally had the time to make it.
Step 1: Digitising the Leaves
You can either go outside and collect the leaves you would like to use or find the images online. The advantages of actually collecting the leaves is that it is easy to scale them to the correct size.
I ended up using images I found online and googled the correct leave sizes. If you collected your own leaves, simply take a picture of each one.
Then go to inkscape or any other vector program and select "Trace Bitmap". Pick a "Brightness cutoff" "Treshold" that gives you a nice contrast.
I uploaded all my finished leaves to this step.
Step 2: Designing the Puzzle
Align the leaves however you would like. Once you are done, duplicate them and select "Path", "Outset".
You of course don't have to duplicate them, but it helps to see how far the outset should be. Once you are happy, delete the smaller leave on the inside.
If you would like to add the names off the leaves. Duplicate the file and simply add the names to the right place and delete the leaves, but keep the outline.
Step 3: Laser Time
I used 2 mm ply wood, but thicker wood would will work just as well.
Start by cutting the design you made in the last step and cut and engrave the second pieces of wood as shown in the picture.
Step 4: Laser the Leaves
I only had veneer of the different wood types, so I decided to cut the core out of ceiba ply wood and use the veneer as bottom and top cover.
If only one side of your veneer looks good, you can mirror the image.
Step 5: Glue and Sand
This step is pretty simple, if you veneer like me you will have to glue it to the core.
I was thinking about adding a pin to make lifting the leaves easier, but decided against it.
Glue the piece with the engraved names to the piece with the outline of the leaves.
After you are done gluing, sand the pieces.
Step 6: Seal
The sealer I used is toy approved.
Simply brush it onto everything and let the pieces dry.
Congratulation you are done.