Anatomy of a Custom Order

Anatomy of a Custom Order

It all started with a PM on Instagram. An idea. “Can you do this?” she asked. And me, loving a good challenge, said “sure”. My wheels were already turning about “how” I was actually going to make this. I had a visual in my head almost immediately, so I translated it to a sketch. The one picture here was vertical, but we ultimately went horizontal.


Once the sketch was approved, I needed to play around with my technique, to be sure what I thought I could do, I could actually do. Pictured above is just one test letter. I used a resist on the “R”, and placed the metal in the etching bath. Once I had a good etch, I cleaned the piece, again put a resist on the “R” and put it in an ammonia patina. Pictured above was the result.

As soon as it was approved, I proceeded to figure out the exact sizing of the metal and the lettering. I made my own stencils, and hand-lettered each word onto the metal with a sharpie marker, which is also my resist. Next steps…etching and patina, just like the test. The result of the patina is somewhat unpredictable. Each time it comes out slightly different, which I love!


My next step was to drill the holes in the metal (although I really should have done this before the patina step…oops) and spray a matte fixative to protect the finish, without impacting the color too much. A few light layers was plenty.

I then prepared the leather backers using hand-dyed veg tan leather and a wood branding tool to create a weathered look. They turned out just like I envisioned.


Last step…rivet the metal to the leather. It’s always in the final assembly that I say a little prayer that it all comes together according to plan. It doesn’t always. In fact many times it falls short and I have to rethink my thinking. But in this case it came together perfectly!

This custom order was outside the realm of jewelry, but I used the same techniques, just on a slightly larger scale. My customer is happy, and my wheels are already turning for a new product line for my shop in 2018! It’s gonna be SO badass!

If you have something in mind and are wondering whether I can do it…just ask! Contact me directly here:

1 comment

  • Vega VaVroom

    Two of my favorite things Metal and leather. Looks really good. I can’t wait to see the 2018 line

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