Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Laser cut jewelry info & care instructions

I received a message today asking if my red and white brooches were made with shrinky-dinks, and I realized that, even though I state in my descriptions that my brooches are laser cut acrylic, it might not be entirely clear what that means. So I thought I'd write a little post to give more details about what my brooches are made of, and how to care for them once you own one!

First of all, these are NOT shrinky-dinks. They are created using two-color 1/16" thick, sturdy plastic. For my red and white brooches the plastic is white with a red coating, and on the black and white brooches the plastic is black with a white coating. My illustration is then etched into the coating with a laser. No ink is involved.

While I'm not advising that you go around dunking your brooches in glasses of water, these are water resistant. You can get your brooches soaking wet and the design won't fade or bleed. I accidentally washed one of my brooches in the washing machine once and it came out fine! These are resilient little buggers :)

The red and white acrylic has more of a shiny surface and retains its color fastness very well. The black and white acrylic is matte and it can lose some of its luster over time. I condition the brooches with wax after they've been cut to enhance the contrast, but sometimes this can fade. If you want to condition any brooches that look like they've faded a bit, you can do the same thing! I just take a small amount of wax on a q-tip (I've used beeswax and synthetic before and they both work well) and massage it into the plastic. Let it sit for a little bit and then wipe it down with a rag, and the contrast will be restored.

Here is a close-up to better show the etching details on my brooches. As you can see, the red color constitutes a thin layer at the top of the brooch, and the rest is white plastic. If you were to run your finger over the surface of the pin, you'd be able to feel that the white parts recede and the red is raised.