Japanese Mon

We recently had a request to make some family reunion keepsakes. They really wanted to have something simple and nice that their family members would actually use and display. Rather than just another t-shirt. The asked us to engrave their family mon onto ornaments with a little commemorative message on the reverse side. 

Japanese mon are the equivalent of European's family coat of arms. An emblem to represent the family. Japanese mon have great clean lines and shapes. The designs translate so well when it's engraved.

They turned out beautifully. What a great family reunion gift to give to an entire family! It was also a unique project for us. We do a lot of private label and manufacturing work as well as our retail line. It was fun to work with a family who wanted to present a thoughtful gift to their family. 

Lasers and love - Thea 

A Little Party Never Killed Nobody - Custom Art Deco Cake Topper

First, I hate that I just quoted a Fergie song BUT it was a big song in the recent connotation of The Great Gatsby movie. It's hard to shake it. 

Gatsby represents the roaring 20's with art deco architecture and design splashed everywhere. It is a long time personal favorite era of mine. Gimme that, art deco design and patterns, loud music, gold on black accents, flapper dresses and lots of liquor. Sounds like the perfect theme for a wedding! We recently had the pleasure of creating a custom cake topper for such a themed wedding.

Custom design by our customer - engraved and painted by 6 by 6

The groom had readymade custom artwork of their own so this project was a breeze. Clean angles with their initials engraved in the center. We painted it a soft gold tone and coated it with food grade wood oil.

A beautiful heirloom keepsake of their very special day. 


With that, I'll leave for now wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Lasers and love -Thea 

Pop-up Villages!

Being laser art designers there's a lot of pressure to either create kits or intricate boxes. It's the basic thing for a laser cutter to do.  I'm personally not a fan of doing what everyone else is doing and we're more than just laser cutters. Being in 100% control of our laser time and designs I wanted to create something fun and functional. 

We are proud offer our Pop-up Village Houses "kit". Simple, unique, lightweight, Made in the USA by us (duh) and something that you can customize! I LOVE the coloring for all movement. So many of my friends post pictures daily of their work and current books that they are working on. I'm personally a paints girl. I love doodling with paint. I wanted to offer something that someone could have as is or indulge in customizing it with paint or markers.

Customizing a village of pop-up houses.

John had to reign me in with this project. I drew up at least a dozen classic traditional styled homes. I had dozens of accessories I HAD TO HAVE! I also wanted to design the house to look like the houses or houses that were in the neighborhoods that I've lived in. That will be in the next round - or we can talk about customizing a design similar to a house you might have in mind. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!

One of the many design phases for the Pop-up Houses. I also can't draw a straight line to save my ass. 

One of the many design phases for the Pop-up Houses. I also can't draw a straight line to save my ass. 

We settled on a core group of accessories, planters, grass, hedges and a stylish potted plant. But a mailbox, Christmas tree, forest trees and fencing are coming soon too.

The complete village set including standard accessories. 

We designed these with a simple set up in mind. You simply slide the houses and accessories onto the footers. That's it. They are nice and lightweight and fairly small in size. They can be displayed anywhere. I have to put out the warning that since there are smaller pieces that can be swallowed, we recommend this for pre-teens and up. 

A little display in our living room. 

Our pop-up houses are available as a set or individually. I can't wait to see some customized by you!

Lasers and love -Thea

Heavy Metal - Retro Mechanical Labs

Retro Mechanical Labs (RML) from Portland, Oregon, is a long time client of John's. John has been laser engraving RML's distortion boxes for years now. They met through a series of events that are rooted with both being fans of Nine Inch Nails. RML was 6 by 6's first official client and is definitely one of our favorites. We've mentioned them before here on the blog and a few of their distortion box photos live in our gallery

We laser engrave blank powder coated distortion boxes and panels in various depths and widths. We remove any residue from the engraving process by hand. It can be a bit tedious but completely worth the delicate effort to show off the amazing retro industrial artwork of RML's designs. Powder coating has a distinctive look that I personally developed a love for growing up with a working auto body garage in my backyard. 

An overhead view of freshly engraved distortion boxes and panels for RML.

Each distortion box is built by hand. They share a lot of their process on Instagram. Building boxes to drilling holes manually. We wish we could do some custom metal cutting for them. That requires a plasma cutter, which is on our company wish list. 

We've visited the RML shop in Portland, Oregon a few times. They're always busy and have the most interesting vintage gages that find new lives in custom pieces that they create. An amazing process for amazing products.

You can see the final products and demo clips on their site. 

Laser and love - Thea

Demo Sign - The Lettermate

A few months ago Kimberly from The Lettermate contacted us hoping we'd do a small project for her company. Some simple trade show signage. It was a simple job and the end result looked great!

We actually had the opportunity to meet Kimberly in San Francisco at the Renegade Craft Fair at Fort Mason. She was so super nice and her show display looked awesome. (I unfortunately do not have those photos handy at the moment.)

We were totally thrilled that she hit us up again for a large scale version (15" x 12") of her product for teaching purposes in her instructional classes! Oh, in case you're wondering what exactly The Lettermate is, its an awesome hand lettering tool for addressing snail mail envelopes. We will be picking up a couple for our own wedding next year. A few of you fellow Pinterest junkies might have seen The Grommet sharing info about The Lettermate.

Like our work - The Lettermate is made in the USA!

We love projects like this! It doesn't hurt that the lady behind The Lettermate is pretty stellar too! 

Lasers and love - Thea 

New Stockist - The Space Needle

I'm not even sure how to begin this one because I have so many feels about it!

I'm a native Washingtonian that grew up on Whidbey Island during a time where there really wasn't much but trees and the Navy. My mom is Asian and we'd often make trips into the city for "Asian" food supplies long before there was any ethnic markets close by. I distinctly remember my dad driving, my mom singing off key to the current tunes of the early 80's and me peering out of my backseat window and seeing the Space Needle rise up on the horizon as we got closer to the International District. 

Every time I saw the Space Needle I'd imagine one of two things - that Seattle was the land of The Jetson's or that Wheedle was sitting atop the Needle. Seattle was a magical land to this small town island girl and the Space Needle was and still is THE landmark of the city.

A page from a vintage coloring book I've had for years. I referred to this for inspiration during the design process. 

When you think of city landmarks, you think tourists. When you think of tourists, you think of souvenirs. A lot of times they are cheap little magnets with a glossy photo enclosed in plastic, or something along those lines. When we were approached by the Space Needle people; A.) I don't think I've ever tried to act so cool and collected in my life. B.) They told me that they were interested in adding some new but different products for their gift shop. I think I actually looked around to see if I was the person who that question was being directed at. And C.) When they told me to "just see what I can come up with" and gave us permission to use their image and brand name, I went into full on panic. 

Why would the great and awesome Space Needle people ask me and my extremely tiny company to do anything for them? They could ask anyone to do this sort of thing for them, but they asked us. A local mom and pop shop. Whoa.

While we can get down with some elaborate design work, I really felt that we should keep the products we pitched at them simple and functional. 

Pages from my sketchbook: Although, the artwork is crude, we first spend a lot of time flushing out the concept before we laser cut the prototype. We decide if the layout works or in this case how usable would the writing area be. I often leave question marks on the pages about various things. 

I drew out a simple layout of a small chalkboard with the silhouette of the Space Needle cut out. Lots of usable space for love notes or reminders. I envisioned someone picking one up on New Year's Eve and someone writing a proposal on it. (Hey, I said I had the feels with this one!)

The second thing we pitched was a souvenir magnet. We really wanted it to be unique amongst the others. This was my opportunity to incorporate a small bit of my childhood imagination. The Jetson's shapes and sounds always made me think of the Space Needle. So I sketched out a mid century modern shape and John found an image of the Space Needle that included the architectural underground footings in their image archives that he liked. We selected a font similar to one on their website. Their website by the way, is AWESOME. 

Pages from my sketchbook: I drew out many versions of the wood magnet. I had a mid century modern "Jetson's like shape in mind. Like always with my raw drawings John took an actual picture of my drawing and used it as a guide in Corel to fine tune it. 

We did this as we do all of our original work, we both do crucial parts of the development. I depended on John to help me finalize the shapes I was hoping for. Sometimes I just can't draw the exact thing I had in mind. Also, I am far better at drawing freehand rather than in outlines. I initially spent a lot of time actually drawing the Space Needle in great detail. PAGES of drawings. The our final prototypes were approved on the first submission. 

We rounded the edges from my original drawing. 

Close up of the laser cut out Space Needle. We have a bunch of these cut outs now in the studio. 

We were able to engrave the product details and pricing on the back. Which is so awesome in a retail environment.

The final shape was the shape I had envisioned. I want to publicly compliment John for being so great at figuring out what I was trying to get out. The architectural design with the footings looks so great! It's hard to tell here because this is a picture from my phone, but I was so excited to share this news I took a quick photo to share.

It's an honor to have been asked to do this for the Space Needle. We're continuing to develop more too! Next time you're at the Space Needle look for our work. 

Lasers and love -Thea

Coming Soon From Our Friends At Bread And Badger!

As I've mentioned before, one of the best side effects of being in the laser cutting business is doing work for friends! We're so excited to share a couple projects that we recently did for our friends at Bread and Badger!!!

Bread and Badger - Ornaments & Pendants

Bread and Badger's sandblasted mugs, glassware, jewelry and gifts - feature some really fun designs. Probably most notable is their "I like it here" state(s) design. I actually bought John a Washington State "I like it here" travel mug. He drove up from Oregon every weekend for a few months before we got engaged. As a couple, John and I have a shared love for their work. Also, the family behind the company are some pretty cool people. 

They've also been a part of the PNW maker scene for quite sometime. I've often vended at the same shows with them with my other business. Their brand is very familiar to me and my friends. I know at least 3 people with the narwhal glass. Because everyone needs a narwhal glass! I considered it a complete honor when Bread and Badger asked us to manufacture a couple new products for them! Pendants, ornaments and magnets! Featuring many of the their most popular designs.

We laser cut and engraved their designs into this beautiful lightweight (fantastic smelling) USA alder wood. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for their launch on their site. Also this is a great opportunity for me to remind everyone that while we can do engraving on glassware, we prefer not to. It's just not our area of expertise. We recommend Bread and Badger for your custom drink ware needs. They are top notch. 

Lasers and love - Thea

Game On

Well, I wrote out a great blog post and Comcast crapped out on me and didn't save that amazing post. Ahh, I guess it wasn't meant to be. Alas, I wanted to share what we've been up to lately. While I do wish it was gaming. (I'm personally eagerly awaiting the Final Fantasy 7 remake!!!) But we've been producing new works as well as custom items. Like these large laser cut and engraved chess and game piece wall decor:

Custom Phoenix Shield

Custom Phoenix Shield

Black and White Knights. 

Black and White Knights. 

They turned out pretty great. They were hand painted and laser cut and engraved. A fairly simple design but really awesome. 

Speaking of games...have I mentioned that we have a new Critical Hit design? In addition to our original Script style we now offer our Modern Block style for our Critical Hit signs. Available in ten colors! I'm a little sweet on the red:

Well back to work! We picked up a handful of beautiful reclaimed maple wood sheets that are calling to be laser cut and engraved into something awesome. 

Lasers and love (8 bit heart love), Thea 

Pacific Northwest Lifer - Keychains Update

When we opened our business doors about a year ago this month, we had a plethora of ideas that we wanted to bring to fruition. Aside from my ninjas, my Pacific Northwest Lifer logo was first on my list. I wanted to put Pacific Northwest Lifer onto everything. While the rest of our country is pretty great and beautiful too, I was raised at sea level among towering evergreen trees with rugged mountain ranges in the distance. This is home for me.  We happened upon some reclaimed wood and created our original designed PNWLifer keychains. 

Since it's been a year, we decided to update the look of our very popular PNWLifer keychains and added two more designs!


All of the new and improved designs are available in our shop. We hope you like the new look and the new added designs. There are more in development too! 

Thanks so much for all the PNW love we've received this past year!

Lasers and love - Thea

Weekly Family Menu

I just want to thank everyone you gave us input on our weekly family menus! We weren't able to accommodate all of the suggestions. (We're developing a shopping list companion for the Weekly Menu chalkboards.) 

Pictured above is a full sample board with the super strong magnets attached. We decided to keep things simple with this board. Our personal one is much like this. We decided to leave plenty of space for writing. That decision was made because we often write down multiple meals for the day. Most people don't cook multiple meals daily but just in case you do, you have room to write. 

We selected six colors (check out that goldenrod!) and four unique fonts. You won't be able to find fonts like that in a craft store! 

I just want to say a little bit about the magnets we chose. THEY ARE RIDICULOUSLY STRONG. They might look tiny but these suckers really stick. 

We do offer customization for these too! You can add whatever title or name you'd like (within 24 characters) for an additional fee. Otherwise, our stock ones simply say "Family Menu" on top. 

We hope these find their way into homes that need help keeping organized or homes with kids who ask that day in and day out question to their parental unit "What's for dinner?".

Lasers and love - Thea 


Some Advice

* Warning* 

This post contains profanity. If you are sensitive to language consider skipping this post. 

Just this morning on Facebook my best friend of 33 years posted a little meme picture that read "fucks need to be earned."  We see things like this posted all over the internet which are meant to inspire really caring about what matters. It might be in a so-called crude way but you get the point. 

Not long ago I was spinning my wheels hard about something really stupid. We've all been there right? You get worked up over something for various reasons. An hour later you forget why you are actually mad.  Maybe someone said something on the internet that pissed you off.  After awhile you question whether or not you actually like that person who said that dumb thing to begin with. Or maybe you didn't understand where someone was coming from and then later learned more details about the situation and then you get it. Unnecessary fucks spent. 

We've all been there. We've all lost it over really dumb stuff. It's really a shame to invest so much energy into a whole lot of nothing. That includes people. People can be shitty sometimes, but time spent on the ones who actually matter are worth it. 

"Two of the most valuable things we have is time and relationships with other people. - Candy Chang"

I firmly believe that. 

Spend your fucks wisely. Spend them on people who want nothing from you but quality time. Don't waste them on the bitch that sped up and cut you off in the parking lot to get that open space. Don't waste it on that cashier at the grocery store who yelled at you about how you put things on the conveyor belt. Don't waste time on people you've let go of.  Most of all don't be mad at yourself, keep moving forward and learn to spend your fucks wisely. 

Lasers & love - Thea 


We get a lot of questions about what we can actually do with our laser in regards to materials.  A basic list of things we can cut and engrave are listed on our custom services page. One thing that is asked about often is metal. Can we cut metal? Unfortunately no, not with the type of laser we have. Can we engrave it? Absolutely!

For example, John has been engraving guitar petals for Retro Mechanical Labs for a couple of years now. 

We picked up these anodized aluminum travel cups at Costco yesterday to show what we can do with our laser on metal. (And to have on hand and fill up with tons of coffee in the upcoming holiday show season!) John tested out our header logo on it and they turned out great. 

Oh we're fancy.

Oh we're fancy.


Another small project customized pet ID tags. Our fur babies needed new ID tags so we whipped these up.

Customized pet ID tags.

Customized pet ID tags.

Our fur babies have fancy ID tags.

Our fur babies have fancy ID tags.

Basically, the possibilities are endless for projects in regards to metal engraving. Cups, tags, plaques, labels... the list goes on. If you have more question about metal engraving shoot us a note and we'll back to you.

 - Thea


handmade. la conner

One of the biggest surprises we've had after buying our Epilog Laser, was being approached by a handful of our fellow artists to do packaging and business related items for their businesses.  Oddly, that wasn't a consideration with our original business plan. It's definitely been a really fun learning experience and something we really enjoy.

handmade. la conner is one of those companies. Now to start I will admit that I am a wee bit biased for the following reasons. Number 1: Robyn makes THE best lotion balls. Period. I love them they work really well. I'm like an unsolicited walking advertisement for them. She makes other really great items that I can praise too. But the lotion balls are my personal favorite.  Number 2: I had the great pleasure of being next to Robyn at her very first Urban Craft Uprising show with my other company. She was fresh and new on the scene. I was really impressed with her effort and attitude. It was no surprise to me to witness the great growth she's had. Number 3: Her brick and mortar store is in La Conner, Washington. I was born and raised on Northeast Whidbey Island. La Conner is just a hop skip and a jump away from there and it's absolutely beautiful. Robyn's shop compliments the beauty of the town. 

We recently created her new laser engraved business cards on 140 weight cardstock that is made in the USA. 

handmade. la conner

handmade. la conner

We hope that she will give out many as she's getting a bit of attention from Martha Stewart's American Made contest. We've been voting for her and you can too by following this link

Lasers & love - Thea