Creating Custom Pieces: The First Steps

A lot of people often ask me about how to create a custom order design. So, I thought of sharing with you the background and process for making Custom Creations. Usually, customers approach me to create a custom design based on their interests, fandom, or for something unique which is not available elsewhere, which is a fairly common ask for my shop.

The first step is to work together to get an idea of what they're looking for. I usually ask a couple of important questions to ensure we're on the same page.

Firstly, I'd like to know what kind of design they're interested in. Is it a ring, pendant necklace, or a ring set? This information is crucial.

Secondly, I like to know about the design size. Do they want a large necklace or a small charm? For a ring, how big or small should the design be? I also need to consider the ring size as it will impact the final design.

Ends Of The Earth Kingdom Hearts Keyblade

3D Bridled Horse Head Ring Inspiration

The third question would be reference images. Which fandom is it based on? Is it from an anime, a TV show, a movie? If the customer has some images from those shows, they can send them to me. That usually helps a great deal.

The fourth question, which is usually challenging for most customers, is about their budget. I emphasize its importance because most customers tend to underestimate the cost of custom work, as they compare it with pre-made items available in my shop. But custom work is much more expensive to create.

When it comes to crafting a custom design, it usually takes me around one to three months. Of course, that depends on what else I have going on at the time. If I have other shows happening, or if I'm already working on custom orders for other customers, I'll need to know about any deadlines in place to work with them accordingly.

How I price my custom work depends on the time to make the master design, how much time I think it's going to take to do the finishing work on the master design, the cost of materials and gemstones if there are gemstones, and if we need to make a mold because it's a piece that we're going to have to do multiple different steps for. This is why my custom work design starts at $400 Canadian and goes up depending on all these factors. For example, a custom keyblade is around $450 to create, from scratch to having the design made.

Once we've decided on an estimate on the pricing of the piece and the customer is okay with this, I will start doing research on the design that the customer wants. Then from there, I will be able to give a proper estimate on what the final pricing is going to be, because often I will have to look up how complicated the design is going to be to make, how complex the creation process will be, and for the stones, sometimes some stones require different pricing. If I have to outsource some of the work, say someone wants happy diamonds, I have to outsource that to a friend of mine who does his diamond center. If there's custom engraving that has to be done, I have to go and check with the engraver to see what the pricing point for that would be.

Once all these factors are taken into place, I will start the custom design. The customer is often updated with the drafting of the design. If it's one that I'm carving myself by hand, I will spend more time showing them the draft design, the sketch, and the wax, then working on it. If the design is being modelled in 3D, I will send reference images as the design progresses on the computer. When that's done, we can actually go over final tweaks, making sure if there are any edits that have to be done before we're at the steps of finalizing the design. If there's an edit or design element that the customer wants to change, this is the time to do it.

After all of this is done, then I’ll finalize the master design for the customer’s approval. After that last check in, it’s off to casting!

Next week I’ll explain the steps of completing the design and the final outcome!

Thanks for reading,


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