The success of platforms such as Etsy, Big Cartel and DaWanda has made at-home arts and crafts--once thought of as little more than a hobby for bored housewives--into a thriving cottage industry, allowing people from all over the world to get their products and their talents out there where they belong. One of the most popular avenues is jewellery making, but very few of these talented craftspeople look into the most traditional form of jewellery there is: metalwork.

One of the main reasons for this, of course, is that it's seen as being a difficult and expensive thing to learn how to do. The advent of affordable, small-scale laser cutting looks set to change all that, though: while it won't help you to set jewels or make chains, it is a fantastic way to broaden your crafty horizons and try out some new things. So what could you use it for?

Fan Emblems & Identifying Symbols

It's currently more popular than ever before to wear your fandoms on your sleeve with signs, symbols and motifs from your favourite media. From Star Wars to Hunger Games, every franchise has logos of its own--and a metal laser cutter is the perfect way to turn those logos into jewellery that will appeal to any fan.

It's not just media, of course. In this age of liberation and acceptance, it's becoming more and more common for people to wish to display symbols associated with their personal identity--be that sexual, gender-related, political or something else entirely--as jewellery or on keyrings. These symbols are often relatively clean and simple, making them a perfect choice for at-home laser cutting technology.

Solid Rings & Cuff Bracelets

While beaded or wireworked bracelets are relatively easy to make at home, many self-taught crafters shy away from trying to make solid cuffs. Rings are popular, but tend to be made on adjustable bases bought in bulk. Computer aided design and manufacture like this is now affordable and portable enough to change all that: with a metal cutter that can work in 3D, the sky's the limit for shapes like this! 3D metal laser cutters are still more expensive than the flat sheet kind, but they're hitting the domestic market more and more often as the technology improves.

Intricate, Delicate Charms & Cabochons

Crafters have been using beads, wirework and polymer clay for years to make charms and cabochons to add to the ever-popular charm style of bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Laser-cut metal gives you plenty of new options for this kind of work, however--including the ability to make far more intricate shapes and designs in far smaller sizes, while still being super durable and lightweight. Stars, butterflies, wine glasses, dogs...any shape you can imagine is made possible quickly, easily and with an ever-reducing cost.