laser engraved wood scrabble

We love when clients come up with crafty gift ideas! Mark Simmons is a talented local designer whose work has been influenced by his time abroad. After doing a Master’s in sustainable design in Sweden and then spending some time working in Berlin, he moved to Canada to start Lumbürr Co – a lifestyle brand of handcrafted wooden products built for a day out in nature. The brand combines the natural woodsy aesthetics of Canadiana with a hint of Swedishness. Recently, he created a fun self-directed project where he redesigned a Scrabble board game with a nautical theme – perfect for a weekend at the cottage.

laser cut board game

Originally the nautical board game was meant to be a one-off for a family member, but after a photography studio in Brooklyn saw some images of it online, Mark was asked to make 100 custom sets as a holiday present for their clients. As a result, Mark changed the theme from nautical to photography, and also redesign the game board to suit the laser cutting manufacturing process through little alterations such as making custom tile holders. For this second version, Mark also added a bit of colour to the designs. To make that happen we printed the colours directly onto the wood using digital colour printing. After the CMYK colour was done we laser cut the wood, Mark put the finished packaging and handmade details together.

laser cut board game

The cool part was how easily production was scaled– whether he was making 1 or 100 sets the process stayed the same. Also in terms of aesthetic, laser cutting was a great way of making a custom project that balanced the DIY made-by-hand look with the quick turnaround time of mass production. The clients got a very novel gift with costs that were comparable to less interesting corporate gifts. The kits were such a hit that Mark told us he will be making even more redesigned games this year. To see more of Mark’s unique projects check out his awesome design portfolio.

laser engraved wood

Images Via: Mark Simmons


Before the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum opened in 2015, the museum hired the talented team at Reich+Petch Design to do everything from the museum planning and exhibition design to the graphic design and promotional campaigns. To create a unique and wow-worthy campaign for the museum the team at Reich+Petch focused on the area’s unique paleontology history. 

3d printed dinosaur

The Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum in little Wembley, Alberta is located five minutes away from one of the most historic paleontology sites in Canada – Pipestone Creek. Way back in 1974 Pipestone Creek became an important dinosaur site when a local school teacher went out for a nature walk and ended up coming across the remains of the yet to be discovered dinosaur species Pachyrhinosaurus. To come up with their promotional campaign Reich+Petch wondered how they could help visitors re-experience that exciting historical discovery. What if each visitor could have their own Pachyrhinosaurus?

dinosaur 3d process

3d printed dinosaurs

To make it happen they had experts create mini 3D models of what the Pachyrhinosaurus would have looked like and then we 3D printed them out at Hot Pop. The coolest part of 3D printing for exhibitions is that it can really bring the museum to life! Along with the 3D printed Pachyrhinosaurus, we also printed out some touchable fossils. Most fossils and bones are too fragile or sensitive to touch since they need to be kept safe from moisture on our hands. With 3D models you can replicate the sensitive remains and then print them out in more durable materials. For the museum this turned the typical “do not touch” exhibition into a “please touch” interaction. 



The beautiful Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum is now open for visits, and also just recently won a Canadian Museums Association Award of Outstanding Achievement is Exhibitions for Science! Find out more about visiting the Museum

Philip J Currie Museum

Museum Planning, Exhibition Design, Graphic Design and Promotional Campaign: Reich+Petch Design International
Multimedia Design and Digital Model: The Design Foundation
Client: Pipestone Creek Dinosaur Initiative
Museum Photography: Tom Arban Photography Inc.

Jose Navarrete

Studio Lulo Fusion Chair
Studio Lulo’s founder Jose Navarrete is a creative self-starter. After moving to Canada in 2006, he started working as a draftsman in a furniture factory, sneaking into the frame shop and upholstery room to observe workers take raw materials, process them, and watch what he had drafted a few days ago materialize into a finished product. In 2014, Jose decided that he wanted to make his own designs so he drew some sketches, prepared the 3D CAD models, made a cardboard model for visualization, and had the parts of the frame cut in a CNC machine. After completing his first chair, he enjoyed the process so much that it became motivation to keep making more and more, that’s when he started Studio Lulo.

Studio Lulo Fusion Chair

For one of his more recent creations, the Fusion Stool, Jose used layers of laser cut plywood to build out the form instead of milling a block of solid wood to reduce material waste. Each section of the stool is precision cut, and once all the pieces were stacked into a cascading shapes, the stool was then sanded down and smoothed into one organic, fluid form.

During production Jose enjoys getting everything done locally: “You get to see and be involved in the manufacturing process, which is crucial for us so we can make sure the quality is beyond our client’s expectations. You also speed up your project timelines since you don’t have to wait too long for items to be shipped.” By jumping into new fabrication processes it has improved not only production but also how the business runs from marketing materials to design research. To see more of Jose’s beautiful work visit the Studio Lulo website.


Studio Lulo Fusion Chair

Studio Lulo Fusion Chair

Images Via: Studio Lulo – photographer Jose Navarrete

Uncuffed Leather Olga

uncuffed laser cut leather

UNCUFFED is a beautiful line of leather accessories created by Olga Barsky, a stylist with over a decade of experience in fashion. Olga turned to leather for it’s long-lasting quality, and her collections are  made using hides from local distributors that are by-products of the food industry. Even the offcuts are used again for other accessory projects in the UNCUFFED line like her edgy handmade flower crowns and cage harnesses. Her business, housed in her studio in Church Street Village, also works with local garment engineers and suppliers for each unique look.

uncuffed laser cut leather

Our favourite pieces in her collection are where Olga combined her handmaking skills with cutting edge technology. To create her beautiful patterned leather scarves, she turned to laser cutting to achieve the fine details and precision cuts. The smooth lambskin leather lies flat on the machine and each cut comes out with perfect accuracy. By using laser cutting Olga is able to make designs that would otherwise be impossible. Also, by automating some of the production processes it means she has more time to grow the brand and create new designs.
Last week, Olga made a splash at Toronto Fashion Week in collaboration with Helder Diego. Check out the backstage pics here. To see more of Olga’s innovative accessory line visit the UNCUFFED Leather website.

Uncuffed leather lookbook

uncuffed laser cut leather

Images Via: UNCUFFED – Olga Barsky and She Does the City

Laser Engraving Sign Toronto

The Village Juicery is a local company that provides organic plant-based food and cold pressed juices that are all made in house. When the owners decided to open their new retail location at Yonge and Eglinton they wanted to create a serene and minimal environment that demonstrated their dedication to wellness.  

Laser Engraving Tags Toronto

Planning  a new business is always an exciting adventure. During the design of their retail locations, done by Toronto design firm MASON Studio, they turned to laser cutting for both their indoor and outdoor signage for an elegant and natural look. This allowed them to use beautiful unfinished woods for everything from their main signage, to bar menus and refrigerator tags. Because of the rapid nature of laser cutting, they were able to test out loads of options before finding the exact look that was right for them. This also allows for flexibility if any product descriptions or pricing needs to be replaced or updated in the future.

Laser Cut Fridge Tags

When you first walk into the new shop the first thing you notice is how calm and relaxed the place feels. The design is so cohesive that the location was recently featured on Azure Magazine for its elegant interior, but the team’s favourite part of opening the new shop is seeing how customers react to their innovative products. The nutritionist team loves serving up hot superfood elixirs, organic grab-and-go salads and bar specialties like kombucha blends and hot chaga cider. And there’s clearly a desire for it! For many neighborhoods in Toronto, even having access to organic, cold pressed juices is an exciting new experience.

Village Juicery Interior Laser Cut Signage

Like many of our clients, Village Juicery is all about supporting the local community. From the local organic farms supplying their produce to the passionate local makers showcased in their stores, and the 50+ small businesses around the city that purvey their products, everything about them is local. Laser cutting is also a great way to support local by using urban wood from Toronto. Nearly 200,000 Toronto trees die of natural causes in a year, and the city saves this material for designers and artists to repurpose. It’s an innovative way to get beautiful designs while using readily available materials.

The Village Juicery’s newest shop is now open at 2409 Yonge Street, so if you love good, healthy food, support local and check it out!

Village Juicery Store Front

Images Via: Village Juicery


Presentation is everything when it comes to retail. For many of our customers who sell their products in stores or at tradeshows, generic stands and podiums just don’t do their products justice.


For the premium flavoured toothpick brand Daneson, the solution was custom designed and laser cut displays made of blinging acrylic. The advantage – perfect product accessibility, ubiquitous brand messaging, and display longevity.



Check out Canadian brand Daneson and their beautiful Northern White Birch toothpicks infused with natural flavours. 1% of sales goes to forestry conservation!

Heading to a tradeshow or exhibition soon? Try laser cutting a custom display.

Apotheca Laser cut window display

Late last year, we worked with stylist Renee Elliott of Re:Creative to produce some beautiful window displays for Apotheca, a full service pharmacy in Forest Hill Village. Renee is a Toronto based creative with a focus on real estate, interior styling, prop styling and window displays. For this project she wanted to design Apotheca’s window display with a simple brand aesthetic using laser cutting and plywood.

Apotheca laser cut window display

To build the display, Renee started off with an Adobe Illustrator file with Apotheca’s logo. Then she went through the variety of materials available including acrylic, leather, metal and wood. Finally, the designs went through our laser cutter machine and voila! Beautiful and elegant designs for Apotheca’s window display.

Read Renee’s blog post about the experience on her blog Re:Creative. 

Images Via: Re:Creative

Twitter Canada Car Media Kiosk

It’s one of the most creative times of the year – trade show season! The companies that really stand out always come up with fun and unique ways of getting their message across. Recently we worked on an exciting project for Twitter Canada that totally reinvented what a media kiosk could look like.

Twitter Car Laser Cut Media Kiosk

To promote their #VideoNow event, Twitter came to us wanting a mini car sculpture that would house tablets and headphones. The event was to promote the video capabilities that Twitter has to offer as well as how creative professionals can use these tools to design awesome experiences for trade shows and conferences, so making something that stood out was key! They came up with the idea for the car after brainstorming something that would have a greater visual impact that the typical iPad stand. One of the main upcoming trade shows is the Canadian International AutoShow in February so incorporating the car model was perfect.

From start to finish, the entire project was designed with rapid prototyping tools in mind, even the colour!  After designing the laser cutting file, we used digital colour printing to print the colours you see directly onto sheets of  wood. This full CMYK process is more precise and way faster than using paint or other tools. Next, the wood was laser cut with our in-house laser cutters and then prepared for shipping.

Twitter Laser Cut Car Media Kiosk

One of our favourite things about laser cutting is that it’s super easy to ship items to clients. The most efficient aspect of displays made with laser cutting is that the pieces are all flat surfaces that can be flat packed for shipping. Even better, for events and trade shows the displays can be easily assembled and taken down each time. So the client can have their kiosk whenever they want to promote the brand.

Twitter Laser Cut Car Media Kiosk

Looking to make an interesting display for trade show season? The turnaround time for displays like this is typically 3 to 4 weeks so get in touch!

If you’re looking for other unique flat pack ideas, one of our favourites is the blush wale sculpture. Though the sculpture was made with flat slats it becomes a voluminous and organic shape once put together.

Images via: Mark Simmons

2015 Holiday Hours

December 14, 2015
Hot Pop Factory Ptashka Ornament

Even though the year-end is fast approaching, there is still some time left to bring your unique product or gift ideas to life. Just drop us a line and submit your project. Hot Pop is currently doing around-the-clock production and no sign of stopping until December 23rd so you can get those final gift orders complete before the holiday.

Hot Pop Factory Holiday Hours

So mark it on your calendars, we will be open Monday-Friday 10AM to 6PM, until December 23rd; closed from December 24th to January 3rd.  And finally open for business in 2016 on January 4th.

If we don’t see you til then, have a great holiday and see you in the new year!

merry mag holiday cover

A few weeks ago we had a special visitor at Hot Pop Factory. Melissa DiRenzo, the creator of the inspiring craft blog The Sweet Escape, was looking for a unique project to feature on the cover of Merry – A Handmade Holiday Guide. Merry is an online magazine that Melissa started last year that is stocked full of inspiring DIY holiday ideas by very innovative people. We love working with makers and were super excited to collaborate on this project.

The Sweet Escape laser cut ornaments

This was Melissa’s first time laser cutting and so we couldn’t wait to have her in. It’s always fun seeing people’s excitement of how quick and easy it is to bring 2D designs and turn them into 3D objects. For the cover Melissa worked on designs for a wall-mounted deer head as well as some laser cut ornaments to go inside the issue. After they were prepped for the laser cutter we had a blast bringing her festive objects to life. See how the ornaments were made in Melissa’s full blog post.

The Sweet Escape Laser Cutting at Hot Pop Factory

Hot Pop Factory Wooden Ornaments 02

Hot Pop Factory Wooden Ornaments 01

Images via: The Sweet Escape, Merry magazine