Lisa / Behind the Scenes

  • LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Saltwater Etching

    This week I'd like to share a behind the scenes sneak peek into a technique I have been using, called Saltwater Etching, to make my new Custom Brass Heart Belt Buckle with Etched Motif.

    This type of etching uses a saltwater solution and small amounts of electricity to chemically alter the surface of an object. It's a relatively simple process that doesn't require harsh chemicals or expensive equipment. 

    I start by shaping and sanding brass sheet metal for my base design. Once the shape is done, I use a fine tip Sharpie pen to draw a surface pattern design. The Sharpie acts as a blocking agent and prevents that part of the metal from being etched. I drew a vine-like design, and the black is the portion that won't be etched. I also line the back of the brass buckle with duct tape to ensure the back is protected during etching.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Saltwater Etching - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    Once I have my pattern outlined, I mix the saltwater solution. All it is is distilled water and Kosher salt!! Kosher salt is recommended because it is free of iodine and fluoride that could potentially alter the reaction. 

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Saltwater Etching - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    Now it's time for the chemistry experiment! For this step I need copper wire, a scrap piece of copper metal and a battery pack with alligator clips.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Saltwater Etching - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    I hang my brass belt buckle from a copper wire and submerge it into the saturated saltwater solution. Then I take the second scrap piece of copper metal, hang it from copper wire and position it parallel to my belt buckle within the solution. Each piece of metal now has a long tail of copper wire that I attach the alligator clips and battery pack to.

    I take the red (positive) side of the battery pack and attach it to my belt buckle copper wire, and attach the black (negative) side of the battery pack to the second piece of copper wire. Once the electrodes are in place, the chemical reaction begins and the brass metal starts to erode around from the black sharpie design.

    As the brass metal deteriorates, the water turns brown from the eroded copper residue. I remove the heart belt buckle every 15 minutes or so to rinse off the residue build up and touch up my drawing. 

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Saltwater Etching - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    Once I am happy with the depth of the etching, I pull it out of the saltwater solution and clean it up! I use acetone to remove any residue and Sharpie pen marks still left on the belt buckle. Here you can see how the etching creates a relief pattern in the metal.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Saltwater Etching - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    Next I need to build the pin tube that will be placed on the back of my belt buckle. Then a rectangle ring will slide through the pin tube to allow the leather belt to connect to the belt buckle.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Saltwater Etching - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Saltwater Etching - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    I position the pin tube in such a way that the heart will hang just right when you put it around your waist and solder it in place.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Saltwater Etching - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    Because the brass heart belt buckle has a high content of copper, when the metal is heated it comes to the surface. The copper must be removed and polished off in order to see the brass finish again.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Saltwater Etching - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    After all of the components are in place, I blacken the brass belt buckle to give it my signature LPDstudios look!

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Saltwater Etching - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Saltwater Etching - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    I love the way the blackened finish accentuates the relief look of the etching in the final belt buckle.

     LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Saltwater Etching - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Saltwater Etching - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    If you are interested in trying saltwater etching at home, I highly recommend this YouTube video! She breaks down the steps in an easy to follow guide.

    Stop by LPDstudios to see what else I'm exploring in the studio!

  • LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Custom Bronze Flower Medallion Buckle Cuff

    I've made custom belt buckles, I've made custom leather cuff bracelets, but I've never made a custom buckle cuff! Today's Behind the Scenes is a sneak peak into how I created this one of a kind bracelet.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Custom Bronze Flower Medallion Buckle Cuff - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    This custom project combines two distinct components and materials, the bronze flower medallion and the hand dyed leather bracelet bands. The combination of materials is one of the things I love most about this piece. 

    Starting with the bronze flower medallion! If you haven't read about how I work with metal clay, you can take a look here. The post breaks down the steps I use when working with metal clay from beginning to end. I used bronze metal clay for this particular project, and you can see how the bronze flower medallion transforms before and after the kiln firing process.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Custom Bronze Flower Medallion Buckle Cuff - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Custom Bronze Flower Medallion Buckle Cuff - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Custom Bronze Flower Medallion Buckle Cuff - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    After I hand cut, clean and fire the bronze flower medallion, I apply a blackened finish to give it my signature LPDstudios antiqued look.

    The next component is the leather cuff bands for the bracelet, which starts as a single piece of raw leather. I cut the leather bands slightly bigger than I want the final measurements to be, which allows me room to shave off length and width when I smooth and shape the leather.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Custom Bronze Flower Medallion Buckle Cuff - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    To coordinate back to the weathered look of the bronze flower medallion, I use hand tools to distress and wear-in the leather. This gives it the look and feel of a well loved, and worn bracelet. After the leather is distressed, I add a little bit of color! I apply several layers of dye to the leather until I achieve the desired richness. It gets a little messy, but totally worth the stained fingernails!

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Custom Bronze Flower Medallion Buckle Cuff - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    Next I had to decide how I wanted to join the two pieces together. I decided on cold joining the bronze medallion to the leather bands, because the alternative of soldering had the potential of damaging the leather. 

    In order to cold join, I made two brass plaques (with the LPDstudios logo on them of course!) and four posts. I fed the posts through small holes I made in the plaques, leather bands, and bronze flower medallion.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Custom Bronze Flower Medallion Buckle Cuff - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Custom Bronze Flower Medallion Buckle Cuff - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Custom Bronze Flower Medallion Buckle Cuff - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    Next I gently hammered the brass posts down until they made a wide head that keeps all of the components in place. I taped around the area I was hammering to make sure I didn't damage any of the metal or leather.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Custom Bronze Flower Medallion Buckle Cuff - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Custom Bronze Flower Medallion Buckle Cuff - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Custom Bronze Flower Medallion Buckle Cuff - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    And now this custom Bronze Flower Medallion Buckle Cuff is ready to go to it's new home!

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Custom Bronze Flower Medallion Buckle Cuff - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Custom Bronze Flower Medallion Buckle Cuff - LPDstudios was created by designer artist Lisa Parmer Ditty. All of her designs are handcrafted in her Pennsylvania studio. She has merged her love of leather, metal and metal clay to create a unique collection of custom leather handbags, metal and leather jewelry and even pet collars. Follow her studio blog and see what she is designing next.

    Check out LPDstudios Custom Page to see more one of a kind work!

  • LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Fine Silver Jewelry Collection

    I really love the metallic finish of the bronze and copper metal clay I use for a majority of the jewelry pieces I create, but to expand my jewelry collection I decided to invest in Fine Silver metal clay for a new look.

    What is nice about metal clay, whether it is copper, bronze or silver, is that in the early stages I am able to use it just like clay. I roll it out, cut any desired shape, add texture to the surface, and manipulate it in any way I want to create my pieces. 

    For my new silver pieces, I cut and shaped hearts, stars, flowers and round discs to be used for studs and charms.

    Once I was happy with the shape, texture and overall design, I placed the delicate little components into my kiln, which is specifically designed for firing metal clay. The high heat of the kiln is what burns off the binder in the metal clay and the metal particles fuse together to create a solid metal item.

    Once the firing is complete, the clean up begins, because even though the binder has burned off, there is still a residual white reside present on the metal. I brush, rub and polish each piece to bring out the true luster of the silver finish.

    Some of the final products include the Fine Silver Daisy Earrings:

    The Heavenly Star Fine Silver Earrings with Silken Sheen:

    The Descending Fine Silver Triple Star Pendant Necklace:

    And the Swinging Hearts of Brushed Fine Silver Earrings:

    Thanks for stopping by LPDstudios to see what's new!

  • LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Distressed Antique Leather Red Heart Belt

    I was thrilled to receive this custom order from a customer who loved the LPDstudios Leather Pet Collar with Heart Design so much that she wanted a belt made from the same design! 

    To make a belt version, I started with a much longer piece of leather and cut according to the belt dimensions my customer requested. This takes a steady hand and a lot of muscle to ensure I make a clean cut through the leather. A little while back I had a custom heart shaped punch made for me, which came in handy for this project. I was able to quickly punch out the leather hearts and know they would all be uniform in shape and size.

    Next comes the fun part, the color!! My customer wanted a slightly brighter red than the red I use on the dog collars, so I put together a custom pigment to dye the leather.

    Once the dye has saturated the leather, typically after several coats, I am able to distress and soften the leather using my brass roller. Then I add a cream to my leather and buff it, this adds a bit of shine .

    Now that the leather is where I want it for color and texture, I affix the hearts to the belt using hand cut brass rivets.

    Last but not least, I add the brass hardware, that coordinates nicely back to the rivets, and add my signature LPDstudios label.

    Now the custom distressed antique red leather belt with hearts, brass rivets and buckle is ready to be worn for many, many years!!!!!

    Thank you to all of my customers for supporting LPDstudios, and keep visiting me to see what is new in the studio!!

  • LPDstudios Blog: Behind the Scenes - Pet Collection Brass Dog Tags with Custom Pet Love Name

    I love our furry companions so much, I couldn't help but make a collection just for them! Back in February, I introduced Mally, my favorite four legged friend, modeling some of the LPDstudios Pet Collection pieces on the blog

    Now I'd like to give you a closer look into how I make my custom dog tags for each one of my customers.

    I recently received an order for a Custom Brass Dog Tag from a couple who adopted a shelter dog in NH. They named her "Lucy" and wanted to give her a special "forever home" gift. Watch the video to see how I made Lucy's personalized gift: 

    And here is Lucy! My clients sent me this adorable picture, and I just had to share. She looks so happy in her new doggie name tag!

    Check out LPDstudios to see my entire collection of pet gifts, hand bags, jewelry and more!

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