Dogtag beginnings

Dogtag beginnings

Posted by Gail Zona on Jan 16th 2017

I have been working on something for guys for a while. I have had requests from co-ed cheer teams and girlfriends and sisters and mothers with sons. I thought some kind of keyring would work and came up with a basic idea for a dogtag. Thought you might find it interesting to see the various iterations to get it to the final form. 

I wanted something where I could have the school letters, sport, colors and graduation year. So I needed a bit of real estate. I wanted something a bit masculine as well so I roped my husband in for opinions from time to time. Squares and not circles was his take on it.

I started with these designs below and rejected them for various reasons. I always work in copper when prototyping...cheaper! The leather was cool but no good way to fasten it to the metal--so I decided on just metal. The striped glass color stick was nice but I couldn't get it to stick to the metal--had to come up with another shape of glass. The raised sport was really cool especially for the sports with balls but it needed too much real estate on the side and I didn't want to make the whole thing so large. I liked the college style letters but they took too much space for schools with 4 letters, let alone 5--so I opted for the block letters. The eventual design was like the ones on the right but I had to figure out how to make a round glass 'button or 'stud'. 

So making a little round stud, kind of a half dome thing shouldn't be that hard, right? After all, I am a glass artist who has been working in glass for 8 years now. Hah! Much tougher than I thought. I wanted a stripe design as that would accommodate schools with 2 colors or 3. I started with the designs below on the left thinking I could just 'paint' the lines on. Too small a piece. These are only 1/4" in diameter. I tried that several different ways. But the stud kept coming out looking like a bike helmet. No good. Then I thought about bagging the stripe all together and trying something with the 2 colors in a square pattern. You can see that below in dark blue and white--the beachball! Didn't really cut it. The issue is that once I pressed the glass down in the mold to make the round shape, it kept getting distorted. 

Then I hit on the idea of putting a clear top on the glass. That would keep the design from getting distorted and give it a pleasing look. Glass jewelry looks good when you get the optic effect of layers of glass. Those are on the right. Took a bit to get it to look good but I like the final effect. 

So you can see the finished effect below. The clear glass on the top of the stripes looks really good and gives it depth. I also have a paw design as you can see below. The funny part is that I thought that paw design was going to be the hardest one. Nope. It was easy. The first one I made (the black and orange one below) turned out great! Who knew??? I will do a video in future blogs of how I make the striped glass stud. It's pretty interesting and not intuitive at all! Stay tuned.