hot pop goods

Every year around this time our clients start submitting beautiful corporate gifts ideas for production. To help get ready for the end of year gifting season, and make this process simpler for clients, we’ve been hard at work developing some new turnkey products. Hot Pop Goods is a series of customizable designs, and we’ll be launching it with a comprehensive gifting guide full of great ideas and items your clients will want to keep for years to come. Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll find inside!

wooden corporate gifts laser engraved

Gifts that Last

As we all know so many promotional materials just end up going to waste, so for us it was really important to design gifts that are beautiful but will also be of continued use and value. Hot Pop Goods let you put your designs right onto quality and locally sourced wood products. Also all of the items in this series use sustainable materials so you’ll know that your gift not only looks good but is doing good too!

Beautiful Packaging

To top off the products we make your gifts memorable with customized packaging. Our goods come elegantly packaged with your branding and ready to head out to their forever home.

hot pop holiday gifting guide

Quick Customization and Turnaround

Custom gifts made in Canada don’t have to be outside your budget. The gifting guide includes gift ideas for all types of client tiers ranging from under $5, under $25, to under $100. The best benefit of all? Hot Pop Goods are streamlined for a super fast turnaround.  So get your ideas flowing and get gifting!



Leanne is a maker, dreamer and designer. She is Toronto’s go to person for everything from otherworldly wedding experiences to new age beer bottle design and she also happens to be one of our favourite people to work with. Her aesthetic can best be described through her work which ranges from innovative chic all the way to quirky cool.

Last week we had the opportunity to sit and speak with Leanne about her work, her process and how innovative laser cutting techniques have impacted the way she approaches her projects.

How about we start with introductions?

Leanne: I’m an art director who has a background in design, production and installation. I work with clients to bring their ideas into the real world and create experiences which are truly unique and memorable.

Tell us about some of the challenges you’ve faced through your work?

Leanne: The pieces I’m often asked to design are quite large in scale and have really tight installation timelines, so choosing the right material to work with is absolutely key. It needs to be light enough to hang but also strong enough that it holds it’s shape. My clients are also very particular about the polish and finish of the final outcome and thanks to Hot Pop Factory, I’m able to make this happen every single time at an affordable price.

Talk to us about some of your recent projects?

Leanne: My projects usually vary quite a bit in complexity and scale. Last year, I was working on a project with a Day of the Dead theme which was quite fun. There were a number of pieces that needed to be designed to pull the whole thing together including stencil cutting and spraying over 50 pumpkins in one day. I used a mix of stock illustrations and my own vector art to create the stencils. Understanding how a stencil works is really important, the lines need to be thick enough to block the spray paint from bleeding together. Once I had my vector art ready, I took Matt’s help to pick a material which was a slightly bendable plastic. This worked really well for heavy use and allowed us to bend them a bit to fit different shaped pumpkins.

To know more about what materials might best suit your project, visit our Laser Cutting Materials page!

Stencil cutting

You clearly enjoy working with stencils, tell us about that?

Leanne: As a kid, I was fascinated with stencils. The ability to block out an area to paint or spray paint a pattern repeatedly was awesome! I could brand things, create patterns on just about any surface. Laser cutting gives me the ability to create my own designs through stencils with really precise results. This would never have been possible without the techniques we have today.


So what’s next for you?

Leanne: It’s a really exciting times for me, I’ve been working on my personal branding and website, which should be launching really soon. Till then you can always follow me on Instagram at

end of summer workshops

With only one week left of summer break make the most of it! Learn some new skills, make some new things, or start a new project. End off your summer on a high note with some of these crafty maker workshops.

Silkscreen Printing Crash Course

Silkscreen printing is a great way to make custom prints and designs for things like posters, T Shirts and so much more. In this crash course you’ll learn how to make silkscreen designs, and by the end of the day you will be taking home your own original silkscreen prints.

August 27, 11am-6pm, Harbourfront Centre, RSVP 

Woodshop Certification Training

If you’re new to woodworking tools, this 3 hour training session at the Toronto Tool Library is an excellent way to get started. You’ll learn how to safely use woodworking tools such as the table saw, thickness planer, jointer, router table, band saw, sliding compound mitre saw and belt sander. After receiving your certification you’ll be able to use the tools at the Toronto Tool Library to build your own projects.

August 27, 10am – 1pm, Toronto Tool Library, RSVP 

Build Your Own Terrarium

Bring the outside in with some decorative indoor planting. Crown Flora Studio is teaching participants how to make their very own terrarium this summer in a 2 hour workshop. Using materials available at the shop such as geometric glass containers, glass orbs, decorations and tools, you’ll build your own terrarium and then package it up to take home.

August 27, 10am – noon, Crown Flora Studio, RSVP 

Learn How to Use a 3D Printer

In this workshop you will learn how to use the 3D printers that are available at the Toronto Reference Library’s Digital Innovation Hub. The library staff will be training members on how to prepare and design files for 3D printing, how to use the 3D printers safely, and going over 3D printing best practices. After the course you’ll be able to independently use the 3D printers available at the library to build your own creations.

August 30, 2-3 pm, Toronto Reference Library, RSVP 

Shoemaking 101

In Shoemaking 101 you’ll be learning everything about the anatomy of a shoe. Participants in this workshop will find out about the many components that go into making a shoe, how to choose suitable materials and footwear design. In the workshop you will be able to try out all the tools and equipment used to make the shoes such as leather crafting tools, power tools and sewing machines.

September 6, 4-7 pm, Art and Sole Academy, RSVP 

Photo via: Crown Flora Studio

maker festival toronto

For this year’s Maker Festival we created a Maker Museum to showcase some of the unique and interesting products our clients are designing with 3D printing and laser cutting. We featured projects with innovative fabrication techniques, such as Studio Lulo’s Fusion Stool, and rarely heard of materials, such as alumide – a mix of aluminum and plastic. Keep reading to learn about each of the amazing designers and processes behind each of these cool designs.

maker festival toronto

Designers clockwise from top left: Miloshka, Love Lettering, Justine Latour, Vawk, Sous Sous, and Studio Lulo

Decorative Wall Hangings by Miloskha

Kira Varvanina, the designer behind Miloshka, makes safe and sustainable baby decor products such as mobiles, wall hangings, and night lights. To make the adorable designs, Kira first creates the vectors for laser cutting and then silkscreens each of the pieces before gluing them together.


Custom Signage by Love Lettering

Doris Wai is an OCADU graduate who loves lettering and illustration. For Love Lettering she designs really beautiful custom signage for business and events such as weddings and birthdays. She does everything from chalkboard signs to paper to laser cutting.


Laser Cut Fashion by Justine Latour

For her thesis project for the Ryerson School of Fashion, fashion designer Justine Latour used laser cut acrylic for her collection Au Natural. The collection was inspired by female censorship, and seeks to make an artistic statement about issues of gender inequality in current censorship laws and policies. By using transparent laser cut acrylic Justine wanted to celebrate the natural beauty of the female form. After the pieces were laser cut they were brought over to Club Ink for the digital print and then were stitched together with transparent thread.


Laser Cut Leather Belt by VAWK

The gold and black leather belt we featured at Maker Festival was made by none other than Sunny Fung of VAWK . This custom belt was designed specifically for the Shangri-la Hotel in Toronto and was built with several layers of laser cut leather. By mixing two different colours of leather and layering them together it gives the belt a really luxurious feel.


Illustrated Pins by Sous Sous

Selena Wong is an illustrator and artist who makes fanciful broaches and paper goods. In her projects for Sous Sous you’ll see cats pouring tea and magic bunnies going for a walk. Each of her unique designs are laser cut and then hand painted.


Fusion Stool by Studio Lulo

We’re in love with the Fusion Stool by Studio Lulo  by Jose Narvarrete. We’ve even featured it on the blog here before! To make this this organic looking stool Jose laser cut each of the layers individually, glued them all together, and then sanded the stool down into one smooth surface.



maker festival toronto

Designers clockwise from top left: Ludviks, Uncuffed leather, Zoran Dobric, Zoran Dobric, and Ludviks

Geometric Jewelry by Ludviks

Elizabete Ludviks makes intricate and innovative jewelry designs with 3d printing and laser cutting. For her 3d printed cube necklace we used aluminide, which is a mix of aluminum and plastic with a slight sheen. All the cubes of the necklace are printed within each other, so the piece comes out of the printer all ready to go! Elizabete also uses 3d printed wax in order to do lost cast waxing, and has made really beautiful necklace and earring designs from mirrored acrylic.


Laser Cut Leather Scarves by Uncuffed Leather

Olga Barsky, the designer behind Uncuffed Leather, used to do all her leather pieces by hand with an X-Acto knife. Recently she has moved over to laser cutting to speed up the process and also help with some of the more delicate details. Olga’s work has also been featured on the Hot Pop blog.


 Laser Cut Jewelry by Zoran Dobric

Zoran Dobric’s laser cut crown was a huge hit at Maker Festival. For this piece Zoran designed the laser cut file, which was used on black acrylic, and then each piece was sewn together with black elastic.



3d Printed Nylon

Each 3D printing project is unique in it’s own way. Sometimes you want something to be strong, or finely detailed, or with many interconnected parts. For almost every design need there’s a unique material consideration. Here’s a quick introduction to all the interesting materials you can 3D print with at Hot Pop.

ABS & PLA Plastic

Resolution  3/5  Durability  4/5      Cost   3/5

3d printed nylon

ABS is a really strong thermoplastic. If you think an object might be dropped or handled (such as a phone case or chess piece) then ABS is the best option. PLA is also a thermoplastic and is very similar to ABS in terms of its physical properties.  The main difference is that PLA is a biodegradable plastic that comes from natural resources such as corn starch. The materials are typically printed on a FDM 3D printer which is very good at producing simple geometries at low to medium resolution, perfect for preliminary prototypes to test out an idea. 


3d printed chess set
3d printed PLA


Resolution  5/5     Durability  5/5    Cost   4/5

3d printed nylon

If you’re working on a project with lots of interconnected moving parts use nylon. With nylon you can make functioning hinges and gears right out of the printer. It’s strong while also providing some flexibility if you print thin parts. Details can be as small as 0.7mm, and it’s available in standard colours.


Resolution  5/5    Durability  5/5      Cost   4/5

3d printed alumide

Alumide is a mix of fine aluminum particles and polyamide power. This strong material is the perfect solution if you want something printed in metallic colours or with moving parts. Similar to sandstone it has a brittle surface that is somewhat porous, and can be used for fine details (minimum 0.7mm).

3d printed alumide

Full Colour Sandstone

Resolution 4/5   Durability  2/5     Cost   5/5

3d printed sandstone

Sandstone is the only 3D printing process that allows you to make full colour prints so it’s perfect for figurines or small sculptures with lots of colour. You can get a lot of fine details with sandstone (minimum 0.7mm thickness) and it’s quite strong with a slightly brittle texture.

3d printed sandstone

3d printed sandstone


Resolution 5/5   Durability  1/5     Cost   5/5

For Jewelry and finely detailed parts, 3D printed wax is an excellent way of making moulds. It let’s you work on really finely detailed parts on the computer so you can cast structures and engravings that would be otherwise impossible to achieve with manual methods. Similar to other forms of 3D printing, the wax is melted in the printer and then solidifies once printed. If you’re accustomed with lost-wax casting, 3D printing can help save you a step in the process.

3d printed wax


If you have any questions about a 3D printing project you have in mind, get in touch!

Images of rings via Elizabete Ludviks

3D Printed Ceramics

The most exciting part about 3D printing is that we’ve only scratched the surface of what is possible. So many designers and researchers are continuously innovating new techniques and materials that can be used for production. Here we take a sneak peak into the future of 3D printing with three breakthrough stories.

1) Woven Ceramics

3D Printed Ceramics

When Olivier van Herpt, an industrial design graduate from the Design Academy of Eindhoven, started experimenting with 3d printing ceramics there weren’t a lot of options available. The printing beds on most desktop 3D printers were too small and food-safe printing was too costly. So the designer went to work and spent two years experimenting and developing his own 3D printer, extruder and process to make ceramics out of hard clay instead of the usual mix of clay and water (which tended to collapse). With these new tools he was able to design a collection of ceramics that are beautifully woven into various patterns. Rather than trying to completely erase the layers of 3D printing, Olivier highlights them with detailed designs. On top of innovating with functional ceramics, the designer has also done experiments with 3D printed beeswax, prints that respond to sound and environmental sensors, a dripping printer and a drawing machine.

3D printed ceramics

2) Replicating Hair

The hair on our bodies serves so many purposes: it acts like a sensor to the outer world, it helps us feel and touch, it helps to keep us warm. Cillia is a project out of the Tangible Media Group at the MIT Media Lab that replicated the various functions of hair with 3D printing. With their new method, the team was able to design hair geometry down to micrometers (that’s smaller than a millimeter!), and as a result the researchers were able to make surfaces that could sense and adhere to other surfaces. The coolest part is that compared to the mostly hard surfaces that have been 3D printed so far, this project shows the possibility for giving 3D printing a softer touch.

MIT 3d printed hair


3) Forming Metal Out of Thin Air

We were super excited when the 3Doodler came out a few years ago, giving us a way to do free-form prints that stand on their own in an instant. Recently, the Wyss Institute at Harvard University has come up with a similar technique but now with metal and lasers. These metal structures appear to float in the air without any support material and will allow for more flexibility when designing wearable sensors, circuits and other conductive materials.

What kind of ideas are you dreaming up? Check out the standard 3D printed materials we offer and how it can apply to your next project.

Images via: Olivier van Herpt, The Tangible Media Group and The Wyss Institute

laser engraved materials

Design something cool and then get crafty with the materials! Once you’ve drawn up your vector file for laser engraving we have so many options when it comes to what materials you can use. You can engrave on surfaces that are hard, soft, and even foods like ham! Keep reading to learn about the rich palette of materials available at Hot Pop.


Cut ✔️    Engrave ✔️   In stock ✔️   Customer supply ✔️ 

laser engraved plywood

Our most popular material and one of the most affordable and versatile. Plywood cuts quickly with an attractive finish. The edge takes on a golden-brown look, engraving and scoring operations have a similar effect on the surface of the material. We stock Baltic Birch plywood in 1/8″ and 1/4″ thicknesses. We strongly recommend this species as other plywood types contain adhesives which don’t cut as well in terms of speed and cut quality.

Laser engraved wood gives a natural but finished look to anything you are designing. Recently we’ve worked on beautifully engraved illustrations and handwriting, as well as engraved gifts and signage, but the possibilities are endless! 

laser engraved wood


Cut ✔️    Engrave ✔️   In stock✖️   Customer supply ✔️ 

laser cut hardwood

If you’re looking for a more premium finish, or have a slaw of wood you’d like to work with, consider hardwood for laser engraving. You can supply it in sheet for (less than 3/16″) for laser cutting and engraving, or you can supply it as an existing product like a gift box, baseball bat or cutting board. To add a bit of local flavour to your project, Hot Pop has also teamed up with Leaf so designers can use urban wood from Toronto. Thousands of Toronto trees die of natural causes each year, and the city saves this material so designers and artists can reuse it in new ways.

laser engraving toronto woodlaser engraved toronto


Cut ✔️    Engrave ✔️    In stock ✔️   Customer supply ✔️ 

laser engraved acrylic

laser engraved acrylic

Also known by the tradename Plexiglass, acrylic is another very popular material for laser cutting. This is a rigid plastic material with a premium looking high gloss finish. Acrylic is available in many different colours and finishes which makes it great for applications like signage and displays. Laser cutting is the best way to cut this material as you end up with an extremely high quality ‘flame-polished’ edge inherent to the laser cutting process.

We’ve see it used to make really professional packaging, signage, point of sale displays, jewelry and even ornaments. Engraving on acrylic is a great way to introduce a polished and colourful retail look to your projects.

laser engraved acrylic



Cut ✔️     Engrave ✔️    In stock✖️    Customer supply ✔️ 

laser engraved leather

Great for use in luxury tags and accessories such as bags, wallets, scarves, etc. Laser cutting is a fantastic way to cut intricate designs in leather products, as well as logos and other branding for labels and tags. Leather is such an interesting material to work with because it’s both soft and durable. Because of the material’s softness, laser engraving is the best way to making precise markings without causing damage. 


Thick Card

 Cut ✔️      Engrave ✔️    In stock ✖️    Customer supply ✔️ 

laser engraved card

Though most papers can only be laser cut, really thick card can also be engraved. Laser engraving can be a cheaper alternative to embossing for stationary or tags, and is also an excellent way to add finer details or textures to designs such as architectural models, premium wedding invitations, and paper based art work. 


laser engraved card


Cut✖️    Engrave ✔️    In stock ✖️   Customer supply ✔️ 

Although we do not offer metal cutting, we can engrave onto most types of metal. Stainless steel and aluminium work especially well. We can also mark on coatings such anodized finishes for a fantastic two-toned look on your product. Laser engraved metal gives a sharp look to professional and corporate gifts. We’ve recently seen it used for bottle-opening business cards. 

laser engraved metal business card


Cut ✖️    Engrave ✔️    In stock ✖️   Customer supply ✔️ 

Designers don’t often realize that glass can be engraved, even if there’s a slight curve to the surface. Engraving glass is an easy way to make elegant signage or to brand and label containers for packaging.

laser engraved glass

Laserable Rubber

Cut ✔️     Engrave ✔️   In stock ✔️    Customer supply ✔️ 

One of the best kept laser engraving secrets is rubber! Laser engraved rubber is most commonly used to design stamps for branding and crafts. We’ve seen these stamps used to create business cards, put patterns on fabric, and to design wrapping paper. Because rubber is flexible it’s also a great way to test prototypes, and we’ve even seen it used for jewelry prototyping. Rubber can be laser engraved to create custom gaskets and other protective parts.

laser engraved rubber

laser engraved stamp

Natural Stone and Concrete

Cut ✖️    Engrave ✔️    In stock ✖️   Customer supply ✔️

We offer laser engraving services for stone which renders beautifully, especially if your stone product has a smooth or polished surface. The laser engraving leaves a rougher textured finish which contrasts beautifully with the surface of most stone products. We’ve seen engraving used to brand construction companies, but also in personal projects such as custom chess boards.

laser engraved concrete

Wild & Wonderful

Cut ✔️     Engrave ✔️    In stock ✖️   Customer supply ✔️

We’re constantly adding more things to the list of what can be laser engraved. The only way to find out what works is to give it a try. We’ve laser engraved lots of unexpected things like bread, fruit and even ham! If you have a new material in mind that you’d like to experiment with get in touch.

laser engraved toast


So, what will you be laser engraving?

Designer Projects: The Juicepunk, Swaine Street and Daneson

laser cutting toronto

Every year The Stop Night Market fundraiser brings together talent from Toronto’s culinary and design scenes including over 70 chefs, 20 beverage providers and 35 locally designed food carts. As designers who have been involved in cart design and building in previous years, we love how the event brings food and design together in a way that the entire city can enjoy. So much creativity and hard work goes into the delicious food and innovative designs. Here are some of our top tips for making stunning displays that will stand out in the crowd and last all season long. 

Go 3 Dimensional

With rapid prototyping tools, designers can really get creative with 3D form. The two food carts above by Dialogue 38 and Ingrain are excellent examples of using depth and volume to add character to a display. It not just a table or a food cart, it’s a whale to present sea food or a topographical landscape to focus on a geographical place.

laser engraving torontoCarts by Chanel Dehond, Encounters of the Human Kind and Outsider Spatial

Get Graphic

Planning for a pop of colour or a head-turning pattern are both great ways of making your display stand out. If you have a precise pattern or like to plan out your designs digitally, direct to board colour printing might be a good way to go. Try digitally printing  CMYK colours directly onto the materials like wood and acrylic, and then laser cutting design components or branded elements ready to install. It’s the perfect way to give your display a polished and festive look.

laser cutting torontoCarts by MarkUp and TANK

Think setup and teardown

Items that flatten, slats that slide, and hinges that fold will all make for an easy setup and teardown. The displays each year always turn out so beautiful, so making sure they can be used again is really worth the effort.

laser cut display car

We’re so excited to see what everyone will come up with for this year’s Night Market!

Since everyone involved is donating their time and resources to the cause, we would like to do our part to support the talented individuals who are likely paying for their projects out of pocket. All participating teams can get 10% off laser cutting, laser engraving and 3d printing to help them make really awesome displays. Ready to get started?

laser engraving toronto


Images via: The Festographer/ The Stop Community Food Centre, Mark Simmons Design 

event laser cutting toronto


There are so many exciting local art and design events coming up this season. Here are some of our favourites:

1. Luminato (June 10 – 26)

For the past ten years Luminato has been one of the largest art and performance events of its kind featuring over 11,000 artists from all around the world. The event takes place at the Hearn, an abandoned generating station. The massive industrial space will be full of art installations and one of a kind performances. Check some of the event gifts we made for them over the years.

2. NXNE (June 13 – 19)

North by Northeast is a seven day summer music festival and conference that covers everything from music to visual art, comedy and film. The festival takes over the city to include some of the most interesting downtown venues such as clubs, parks, boats and Dundas square for screenings, live shows and art installations. Check out the lineup for NXNE.

3. The Stop Night Market (June 14 – 15)

Every year The Stop Night Market fundraiser brings together talent from Toronto’s culinary and design scenes including over 70 chefs, 20 beverage providers and 35 locally designed food carts. This two night event combines stunning designs with great food, what could be better?! See some of the great designs from previous years. 

4. Maker Festival Month of Making  (June 15 – 17)

Maker Festival is one of Toronto’s craftiest events that combines art, tech, and everything in between. This year the event is going to be a full month long. The main exhibition featuring over 100 makers will be at the Toronto Reference Library, but there will also be over 80 satellite events to attend!

5. Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (July 8 – 10)

The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit is Canada’s largest juried outdoor art exhibition featuring the work of over 350 artists. The entire event happens at Nathan Phillips Square and brings in over 100,000 visitors.

6. Made in Canada Etsy (September 24)

Made in Canada Etsy day will be happening in Toronto at OCAD University. The pop-up event is a great way to check out the work of local artisans and designers 

Are you an etsy seller? List up to 20 items on Etsy for Free by going to this link by using promo code “HOTPOPFACTORY”


Luminato event gifts

As the weather warms up, event season sizzles! For some great guest engagement ideas in the summer ahead, we’re taking you backstage to one of our favourite annual events — Luminato Festival’s Big Bang Bash.
For the past ten years Luminato has been one of the largest art and performance events of its kind featuring over 11,000 artists from all around the world. Every year before the festival begins, the donor’s gala celebrates the many people who support festival. Here’s a sneak peek behind how we conceptualized, designed and created the guest engagement experiences for the event.

Laser Engraving Toronto

Start with research

A great place to start when designing something fresh for an event theme is to build a collage of visual influences. For the 2014 Luminato donor’s gala festival art director Jorn Weisbrodt developed the theme of Berlin subculture throughout the decades. To design the event gifts we researched Berlin design in everything from cultural to architectural references from the early 1920s to 80s. We mixed influences from art deco, bauhaus and Berlin punk rock to come up with gritty leather and reflective acrylic designs that were really elegant but also matched the industrial feel of the Hearn.

Luminato Event Gifts Sketches

Laser Engraving Leather Bracelets Toronto

Make it custom

For your special guests, upgrade your  VIP swag by adding a personal touch such as a custom engraving. Nothing wows event guests more than finding out that something was laser engraved specially just for them. For Luminato we topped off the beautiful leather designs with custom monograms. The customization was done for guests before the event and so required some coordination with the event team on guest lists and confirmed attendees, but the results really pay off.

Luminato laser cutting Toronto

Luminato Laser Cut Toronto

Luminato Laser Cut Toronto

Make it interactive

It really adds to the fun when guests can build and customize their own gifts. The theme for the 2015 gala was industry vs nature so we combined them to make DIY flower presses with laser cutting. Each guest got to make their own unique flower press by picking the flowers and greenery to make their own piece of green art, and finally tightening the plates together. Adding in that element of customization and DIY was a huge hit and our station was packed all night.

Luminato laser cut toronto

Luminato laser cut toronto

Stay true to the cause

A great place to look for gift inspiration is to remember what you are celebrating in the first place. For the 2015 Big Bang Bash,we wanted to focus on what Luminato is all about — the performances! Each flower press gift had one of ten quotes from plays in the festival’s lineup. After putting it together guests were able to take home a little memento from the festival and their favourite plays.

Luminato laser cut toronto

Luminato laser cut toronto

This year we’re planning for another exciting round of the donor’s gala which precedes the Luminato from June 10th to 26th. You’ll have to wait until after the gala to find out more, but in the meantime check out the exciting lineup of artists and performers they have for this year.
Images via: George Pimental and Hot Pop Factory