Trace and Print a Sketch

Make a snap and store box with your personal touch

It’s time to customize a print with your very own artwork. Not one for artwork, you say? Don’t worry - with your Glowforge, even simple doodles look good.

It’s easy. You’ll draw something on paper, and then the camera in the lid of your Glowforge will convert your drawing to a digital file. You’ll then add your drawing to a design we’ve provided to create a box that’s uniquely yours.

Laser design basics

Before you continue, it’s useful to understand the three things your laser does.

  • Cut: The laser moves slowly along a path, at full power, to cut all the way through the material.
  • Score: The laser moves quickly along a path, at lower power, to draw a line that does not go all the way through the material.
  • Engrave: The laser moves quickly back and forth, turning on and off thousands of times per second, to create an image on the surface.

A completed, snap-together laser cut box

Create and customize your Snap and Store box

  1. Go to and sign in.
  2. On the Dashboard, click on the Snap and Store Box design to open.

    Screenshot of the snap and store box button on the user dashboard in the Glowfore App

  3. Create your art.

    You have a host of options to create your unique box lid.  Here are a few ideas to choose from. Pick whichever one inspires you, or create your own!

    • The Artist
      Draw a picture with a black marker on a white piece of paper. Stay away from the edges so there’s some white on every side of your drawing.
      Tip: Leave room for the handle in the middle of your drawing.
    • The Poet

      Using a black marker, write a favorite quote or song lyric, or sign your name on a blank white piece of paper.

    • The Good Friend
      Print this template out on an paper printer (not your Glowforge!) and use a black marker to fill in the blanks.

    • The Shadow Master
      Grab something nearby: a shoe, a leaf, a doll, your other hand - and plunk it on a blank white piece of paper. Trace around the edges with a black marker.

      We’ll use The Good Friend option for our example:

      A hand filling in the blanks on a piece of paper labeled with the words too and from

  4. Put your art in your Glowforge.
    Lift the lid of your Glowforge, place your artwork in the center of the printer bed, and close the lid. 

    A piece of paper with hand-written lettering placed in the center of the Glowforge print bed

  5. Add your artwork to the print design.
    In the middle of the app, click the + button, and then click Trace.

    Screenshot of the + and trace buttons in the Glowforge App

    In the app, when the workspace loads, you’ll see the box design and a picture of the bed of your Glowforge, including your drawing. 

    Screenshot showing the print area of the Glowforge, with material loaded and traced artwork in the workspace

  6. Select your artwork.
    1. When you see the image of your drawing in the app, click and drag a square around the artwork that you want to trace. You’ll see a preview of what your Glowforge will engrave. Anything in black will be engraved, and nothing else will be.
    2. If you want to change your selection, click Undo in the app and try again.

      Screenshot showing drawing a selection box around traced artwork to select it

  7. If you want to refine the details, click on the item you want to change, and then use these keyboard shortcuts to make changes.

    Change Windows Mac
    To darken a line Control + Up Arrow Command + Up Arrow
    To lighten a line Control + Down Arrow Command + Down Arrow
    To remove small details like dirt and noise Control + Shift + Up Arrow Command + Shift + Up Arrow
    To restore small details Control + Shift + Down Arrow Command + Shift + Down Arrow
    To delete a design item Delete key Delete key
  8. Choose what to cut.

    If you drew a closed shape, you can click it to cut it out. For example, in this image, we clicked inside of the heart so that it will be cut out.

    Clicking on a portion of traced artwork in the Glowforge App to set it as a cut

    Note: It’s a subtle difference, but if you click the black line around your shape (instead of the white space inside the shape), it will cut out both sides of the black line instead of just the heart shape!

  9. Place your artwork. 
    When you’re happy with your trace, in the upper right, click Place Artwork.

    Screenshot showing the place artwork button

    This will take you back to the workspace with your newly digitized artwork sitting on top of your piece of paper.

  10. Remove the drawing, and insert your material.
    Place a piece of medium Proofgrade plywood on the center of the printer bed (it is very important you use medium Proofgrade Plywood so the pieces fit together), and then close the lid.

    A sheet of Proofgrade material in the bed of a Glowforge, with the lid open.

  11. Size your artwork and place it in the design.
    In the app, the Workspace shows both design and artwork above your material.

    1. Drag the box design to the part of the material where you’d like it printed. The top left corner will help you to save material.
    2. Place your traced artwork within the design. In this example, we’ve dragged the artwork onto the box lid.
    3. Click and drag a corner to shrink your artwork to fit where you want to put it. Any artwork outside the outer lines of the box design will be cut off. Be careful not to resize the box design!
    4. To fine-tune placement, you can nudge selected objects using your arrow keys. To get bigger nudges, hold the Shift key while using the arrow keys.

      Tip: You can place artwork on any of the box’s surfaces. Just note that two of the sides are cut out upside down to save material, so make sure your artwork is placed the right way up for the surface it’s on.

      Screenshot of positioning traced artwork to align with pre-made artwork from the Glowforge catalog in the Glowforge App

      Screenshot of resizing traced artwork to fit within with pre-made artwork from the Glowforge catalog in the Glowforge App

  12. Print! 
    When you are satisfied with your print steps, click Print in the app, and when the button on your Glowforge starts glowing, press it.

    A screenshot of the print button in the Glowforge App

  13. Watch your Glowforge (always!) while it’s printing.

    When the button stops glowing and the fans stop, remove your print, peel off the protective layer, and get ready to assemble.

    Two hands holding a lasercut wooden parts over a pile of other parts for a box prior to assembly


  14. Put it together.

    To get the step-by-step instructions to turn that beautiful collection of box pieces into an actual Snap and Store Box:

    1. Go back to your workspace where you were printing the box (if you don’t have the box open on screen - open it again), and click on the 3 dot More options menu.
    2. Click Design Details, and then the instructions will show on the right.
    3. Follow the steps, and you’ll be holding your finished box in just minutes!

See also

Make Your First Prints

Print a Catalog Design

Make a Gift Tag from Scratch using Premium Creative Tools

Print a Design You’ve Uploaded

Make a Gift Tag from Scratch using Inkscape

Learn more about Glowforge Premium

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