Creating Custom Designs for Relief Carving

Jim Puentes opened COOLaserCraft in 2008, providing his clients with marking, cutting, and fabrication services. Contact Jim at

I prefer to draw my own custom designs primarily so that I can offer something different from everyone else, but also to meet client demand. There are several graphics programs available for this; however, none of them are “automatic.” There is no one-button solution out there. It takes a lot of work to make a relief carving rendering — breaking graphics into component parts, assigning color values, and filling with guidelines. I’ve learned to create them with CorelDRAW, primarily using the Fountain Fill, Mesh Fill, and Contour tools. Besides being original and custom, the designs are editable, so it eventually saves some drawing time. You can and will use many of the component parts over and over in other projects.

—Jim Puentes, COOLaserCraft 

Read more about the benefits and drawbacks of using premade graphics.