obscure word book: volume 1, light edition


For a while now I’ve been wanting to create a project using obscure or old-fashioned English words. I just wasn’t sure how I would do it. Enter the fabrication lab and the laser cutter! I decided to create a ‘book’ of laser cut and etched acrylic plastic sheets, sewn together with one of Keith A Smith’s techniques. Though the bind looks ok, I think I might have to redo it with a modified version. There just aren’t enough pages for the design to look right.


First I sketched the designs on paper, then digitized them in Illustrator. The darker the color, the deeper the laser will etch the plastic. It was similar to the thought process behind intaglio printmaking – the darkest colors will be the lightest, and the lightest colors the darkest. It took a a couple of tries to find the right setting for the laser, but I was fairly happy with the second run.



I tried a couple of different colors of acrylic paint, but settled on white and a shimmery gold. I smeared the paint into the etched lines and gradients, then wiped (or scrubbed, if it had dried) off the excess paint.

obscure-light-5“lucubrate” – to work diligently by artificial light

obscure-light-6“ignivomous” – vomiting fire

obscure-light-7“fulgent” – shining brilliantly, radiant, gleaming

obscure-light-8“ascian” – a person or thing without shadow

obscure-light-9“clinquant” – glittering, showy, dressed in tinsel


Finished size: 6 in x 4 in (15.24 cm x 10.16 cm). I’m planning several more ‘volumes’ of obscure terms. If you’re curious about where I found these words, check out this book: Mrs Byrne’s Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure, and Preposterous Words.


18 thoughts on “obscure word book: volume 1, light edition

  1. Pingback: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy quote book | becca making faces

  2. Aaaaargh… close tab.. close page… I should be working… but I just love this! See, this is why I want a laser cutter! Tactile books, but also stamps, wooden figurines…
    I just searched your site to see if you own a laser-cutter, I see you use one from Fab-lab.
    We do have a fablab here in my town as well, but it isn’t cheap. But oh the pretty things that can be made with it….

    • Haha! Yes, I too would love to own a laser cutter…but their prohibitive cost and my nomadic ways prevent me from getting one…for now. I’m only able to get up to use the FabLab once every couple of months or so…but you better believe that when I do I have multiple projects lined up!
      Have you checked to see if your local FabLab has memberships, or a free day at the weekends?

      • It does has a job opening for assistance one day a week, and I think I have the skills (or will learn them fast enough) to do that. Only then I’d need a babysit for an entire day, and as the job isn’t paid, it would cost me. Still, I have thought about it. I’m not sure yet about memberships, or free days, I guess I have to start just visiting once. I haven’t got projects to be made yet, only lots of ideas. I should just turn those ideas into concepts and save up for a visit.

  3. Pingback: a fontified version of The Princess Bride | becca making faces

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