Engraving the Manual Way with a Pantograph

Adventures of a (jewelry) maker who uses a classic Pantograph engraver

What is Pantograph Engraving?

brass fonts spelling out K 2 T O G on a metal tray of a pantograph engraver
My view from one of my pantograph engravers, ready to engrave the knitting abbreviation for “knit two (stitches) together (K2TOG) – for stitch markers

When I purchased my first pantograph engraver about 13 years ago, I would never expect them to be defunct this quickly. But here we are.

Pantograph engraving has quickly become obsolete thanks to computerized laser and rotary engravers. Who knew when I purchased a new and a used engraver with brass font sets in 2010 that I could call it “vintage” today! I should have seen it coming since the rising popularity of computerized engraving was certainly obvious back then. But for them to (practically) disappear off the market so quickly shocks me.

Something Truly Special

I recently paid more attention to the changing landscape of engraving when I decided to get re-acquainted with my font sets and engraving blanks. I have many brass font sets I don’t use, mainly because I need to put the time in to feel comfortable using them. Some are very “old school” in design, so I hadn’t thought about what products these would be best suited for. And I still haven’t decided where many best fit as of right now.

Not Much is Available Anymore

I decided to do an internet search on what was new and available for this type of tool, only to come up with….nothing. Companies I once purchased from: not found. There were a few places still selling models of pantograph engravers, but font sets – forget it! Get my logos and images cut into templates like in the past…nope. I found a few very old and questionable font sets on eBay now relegated to collector’s items…and at collectors’ prices.

I realized that possessing these skills and tools is now something very special. I like to think that my customers are taking a part of history away with every engraved piece I make, and that is a very literal fact now.

Like my other manual tools, it is a pleasure to keep these old forms of maker tools alive. To think the Pantograph has been around for hundreds of years makes it very special!

Just What is a Pantograph Engraver?

Let’s see if I can explain this in (my) layperson’s terms. Basically, it’s a nifty machine with two arms: one for tracing and one for engraving. It uses ratios with how close or far away the engraving arm is to the tracing arm to give different sizes to the font or image you are tracing. This is how I take a reasonably large word and shrink it down to fit on an 11mm, 12mm, or 15mm blank. It’s relatively simple in design if you think about it. And that is probably why I like it so much. Genius!

Not Just Used in Engraving

The Pantograph is not just an engraving tool. I once saw an educational show with a segment about making traditional domino sets in China. They were using a pantograph to cut the shapes into the dominoes.
(Side note: I acquired a pantograph cutter engraver that is not manual but motorized. It would be great for engraving items like plastic badges, but it’s missing a piece that was impossible to get back then, let alone now. So right now, it’s a collector’s piece.)

According to the internet, the first pantograph machine was developed in 1603 as an illustration machine.

Diamond Drag Tip

My pantograph engravers have a diamond drag tip making them perfect for the metals used in jewelry making. When I first acquired the engravers, I purchased a special diamond drag tip that is flatter. They leave a wider impression on the metal vs. the pointier tip that the engravers came with. The difference is subtle but enough to make a difference (to my eye, anyway!).

What I currently offer for Engraving

From name jewelry to advocacy items to knitting stitch markers: I offer several different options for customizing via engraving. Browsing the Personalized Items section will give you the most. The Advocacy & Awareness section showcases a few other items, including logos I engrave, such as the breastfeeding awareness symbol. Most of these products were developed from customer requests, which I am very proud of. Unfortunately, I no longer have a contact to cut my custom symbols and logos templates.

Custom Engraved Stitch Markers were another special request. The customer wanted stitch markers with her children’s names to keep them close in thought while she knitted. These are sometimes purchased “off-label” for other uses, such as boot charms, as they are silver-plated and affordable. I no longer offer plated engraving disks for jewelry, as they can wear out quickly.

Once in a while, I get asked if I will engrave an item someone owns, such as a watch or ring. It’s not something I’m willing to do. If I were to make a mistake, I would feel awful! I haven’t had the privilege of engraving curved items yet, anyway. I believe I have accessories for engraving rings, but it’s not something I’ve tried.

I only engrave flat items and my stock in case of a mistake. And it sometimes happens. I may misjudge the placement, making the word or letter badly off-center. The older brass fonts can be pitted, so if I am not careful, the engraving tip will slip and scratch the blank.

My First Ever Successful Engraving Project

The first successful engraved piece of jewelry I made was for myself. It’s entitled “Wings” and is a tribute to my mother, who passed suddenly in 2008. The first version was done in silver plate, but I quickly upgraded to sterling silver so I could wear it daily.

It’s very dear to me to keep my mom’s initials close to my heart with this engraved monogram charm flanked by two angel wings.

Over the years, I’ve been honored to engrave pieces commemorating the loss of babies and children, wives, mothers and fathers, pets…anyone precious to us. It means a lot to be part of the healing journey for my customers.

Limitations and Other Negatives

The arm on my pantograph engraver only reaches so far, so there is only so big or so small I can make each font. Big is not a problem for jewelry making. I run into more of an issue that my fonts were for signs and trophies. Thus the fonts don’t go as small enough as I need.

My fave vintage brass font set. It is relatively large, so it would only work as an initial or two on my engraving disks. I have yet to decide what to do with this one.

The fonts can’t be stretched or manipulated like you could with software. It’s a fixed height based on where the arm of the engraver is placed. So you don’t have the options you would with a computerized engraver.

The Longer the Word, The Smaller the Text

One thing that can be a negative is that the longer the word, the smaller the text. It can make the word or name hard to read, except close up. It leaves a lot of space above and below the word. I prefer the word or names filling the disk from top to bottom as much as possible.

If you look at the examples above, the name Samantha is smaller than the name Desiree. It doesn’t look bad, but you see what I mean about more space above & below the text.

It can be Hard on the Body

Sitting for many hours at the engraver is hard on me physically. Like most things I do (knitting, spinning, drum carding fiber, polishing metal components, making components for jewelry, etc.), the repetitive motion can cause the neck, back, and shoulders to be quite sore and worse. After years as a maker, I feel it in my Body.

Even though pantograph engraving is a tracing function, which sounds easy, you still require a keen eye and a steady hand. Therefore, my back is sore after an hour at the engraver. My shoulder, which has damage due to being hit by a car at 16 and from the repetitive motion of all my crafts, has permanent damage. I’m also prone to migraines, so I have to be careful not to push myself too much.

I remedy this by taking many breaks, stretching, and knowing when to quit (yeah, right!). Regardless of how I feel, getting your order out promptly is always of the utmost importance. I turn around orders in 1 business day whenever possible.

What it’s Not

Laser Engraving

Engraving with a Pantograph manual engraver is not the same as laser engraving. I’m unfamiliar with laser engraving, and I’m sure there is more than one type. Still, it’s popular to offer laser engraving that lightly etches/burns into the metal or removes an anodized surface. I’m not sure what the longevity of these items would be, and it’s a personal preference of mine the esthetic of the “old school” diamond drag engravers.

Computerized Rotary Engraving

A rotary computerized engraver is very similar to what I do manually. I once thought I’d also like an automated engraver, but when I looked at them, they were rather clunky and required special ventilation. I’m sure there are tabletop versions that would work just as well for jewelry making. I love my “person power”: I can still work even during an electricity outage. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Manual but Skills Required

I love the skill involved with using this tool. When I first bought mine, I naively thought I would sit down and get engraving immediately. BUT it’s more complicated than that. I’m thankful that I responded to an ad from a gentleman in Toronto selling an engraver and brass fonts because he sat me down and showed me how to use them. We lived in Montreal then, so we made it a weekend trip. As a young family, money was tight, so I expected to buy a font set or two, and that was it. Afterall, I already owned an engraver.

He encouraged me to take the entire lot and gave me an excellent price, so off to the bank I went. I am trying to remember exactly what I paid, but it was around $2000. I went home with an engraver (a New Hermes, which is my fave!), several font sets, logos, and accessories. I also got the motorized cutter I never got working, but I might someday rig something up. I’m very thankful to this man who saw my potential and got me on my way to engraving (he was married to a Filipina! I think that helped ;)).

It’s Not Handstamping

Finally, diamond drag engraving is not hand-stamping. I love the look of hand stamping; it’s not comparable to engraving, so I can’t compare the pros and cons of each.

Free Hand Engraving

I wish I had the talent of those that engrave with a tool freehand – they are the ones to give total props to as far as engraving is concerned!

What Can I make for you?

Now that you know what pantograph engraving is and isn’t and the limitations of what I can offer, I hope that I can make you a special keepsake that you will enjoy and cherish! ๐Ÿ™‚

Leilani signature

Revamped Wings: A Sterling Silver Memorial Necklace

Dpp 5968

The original "Wings" - developed in 2010.
The original “Wings” – developed in 2010.

If you subscribe to my newsletter, you know that I have been revamping my work to sterling silver since mid-January. This month, I was honored to revamp the one piece that is most dear to me: a necklace that I developed bearing my mother’s monogram. I called it “Wings” and it is a memorial necklace.

I stumbled upon the original design quite by accident, playing around with charms and engraving blanks- and I really liked the 2 angel wings together. It was as if they were hugging the disk in protection. At the time most pieces I had seen with angel wings only had one wing – or were a completely different design altogether. I knew I stumbled upon something I was really feeling, but with the current fonts I had it simply did not seem “finished”. Wings was benched for awhile – until I purchased an interlocking monogram set.

New re-vamped "wings" - with sterling silver (cast) wings, chain and disk
New re-vamped “wings” – with sterling silver (cast) wings, chain and disk

The original design was made out of silver plated components and when I finally offered it up to sell the original price I listed them at was $17 – because I still felt weird selling a remembrance piece. It seemed really wrong as it was a memorial necklace for my mother. But over the years I have heard the stories that go along with the necklace: loss of children, mothers and fathers. Friends and relatives. I was beginning to feel part of one’s healing process, and that in turn was very healing for me.

I’ve been “test driving” the new design and really like it. It’s smaller in design compared to the original, and I am finding the older I get, the more I like to either have a very subtle piece – or the option to layer with other jewelry. And although the price is significantly higher than the silver plated “Wings” (double the $23 price the original had been currently selling for) you really can’t argue with quality. Most of the cost incurred is due to the fact that these are cast wings. Unlike the culinary grade pewter charms I tend to use, these wings are completely sterling silver, making the cost significantly higher. Unlike the silver plated option, there is no fingers crossed that the item will not tarnish to ruin: you can polish the sterling silver version again and again.

DPP_5973Switching this piece in particular to sterling silver means it will stand up to the elements and I know I will cherish my piece for years to come.

If you loved the original “Wings” piece don’t despair: it will be coming back as a keychain/bag charm & a metal bookmark. I had a purchase for a rear-view mirror charm once, and I love that idea. That is a possible development as well.ย  For those of you who love gold, I have not had any luck finding 14kt gold-filled wings yet that I like. But I do have the engraving blanks ready to go, for when the time comes.



Why I Switched to Sterling Silver for my Engraving Designs

Dpp 5909

sterling silver personalized necklace featuring culinary grade pewter ladybug

I should clarify: why I switched to sterling silver for my engraved necklaces. For now I will still be offering bracelets in silver plate and cord, and the engraved stitch markers will remain silver or gold plate (but I’ll certainly take requests for sterling silver versions ;)). As far as my most popular items – which are my necklaces – we’re going sterling silver all the way. ๐Ÿ™‚

Time for Change

Back in mid-January it hit me: it was time for a radical change. I was slogging through my list of sterling silver requests. The list of, “if you ever do a sterling silver version, let me know…” and I was feeling both overwhelmed and under-whelmed. There is no fun remaking something that you already make, and happen to make a decent amount of. Quite frankly, I was bored. Normally I combat boredom by developing something new. But by necessity I was pushing myself to do sterling silver versions of certain designs. People asked for them a year ago and I had to make it happen. It was the key to shaking this stale feeling, the unmotivated feeling that has been creeping up over time. I was going through the motions, with something that I am passionate and love to do.

A-H engraved stitch markers have gotten an updated look but will remain silver plated
A-H engraved stitch markers have gotten an updated look but will remain silver plated

To throw another wrench into it, I think too much. I over think everything. One reason why sterling silver versions had not yet been completed, is because I over analyze and essentially talk myself out of it. It seems too complicated. So finally one afternoon I asked myself, what do I find the most complicated about it? And the answer was juggling all the options. Having a silver plated option, vs. a sterling silver option. Then add to it a gold plated option vs. a gold-filled option. That’s up to 4 options for one necklace design. The answer was to upgrade everything to sterling silver, and concentrate on 14kt gold-filled later.

What? Discontinue successful products? Why in the world would I do that? But this time instead of thinking it over (and over) I just did it. Like, when you have a really stuck band-aid. Just rip it off really fast, rather than peeling it slowly and feeling every single tug on the skin. This is the analogy of my entire life. Otherwise, I would never make a decision!

Culinary grade pewter teddy bear (I love the detail in this little guy!) on a personalized sterling silver necklace

You know what? The decision has been just what I needed. By discontinuing many products I was able to see more clearly what needed to be done, instead of feeling overwhelmed with too many products, too many options, and too many what-ifs. I got so much done in a week. Many prototypes were completed, and photographs taken. The pictures were okay – but they were good enough to get the items relisted and presented for the February newsletter (I have since re-taken the product photos and my photography skills aren’t the strongest, but the final set of photos has the energy and vibe I want to convey). I have that excitement again: the sweaty palm, bubbling from the pit of my stomach feeling that I get when I create something wonderful.


A few years ago (okay, maybe a tad more than a few) I would never dream to use plated items or base metal for my jewelry. That’s because sterling silver was so. cheap. I used to do all my prototypes in sterling silver – I considered it scrap metal! When I purchased my manual engraver and started teaching myself engraving, I had bought some silver plated blanksย for practice. The price of silver soared, and the landscape of selling handmade online totally changed. All of a sudden, everyone was selling something they made on the internet. Plus, there were mass-produced companies popping up everywhere that needed individuals to sell their products, often times masquerading as handmade. And the prices were all. over. the. place. On top of it all, many people were struggling financially so there was no room for life’s extras. I had to look at where I could cut cost, and the best way to do it was in the supply cost. My cost: AKA my time and expertise was already as low as I could go.

How cute is this little pewter turtle paired with the sterling silver engraving blank
How cute is this little pewter turtle paired with the sterling silver engraving blank

I rarely get complaints on my silver plated and gold plated items. I think most people understand that plated items are a crap shoot since there is no guarantee the level of tarnish or when tarnish will happen – everybody’s body chemistry is different. And the pieces were priced accordingly. It was certainly affordable. But even one disappointed customer is a disappointment to me, especially when you consider most of the purchases are as gifts and have stories attached to them. Many people are hurting and grieving, or have overcome a hardship that they want to honor. The silver plated items were intended to be a gesture – I never dreamed that people would become so attached to their necklace, that they would wear it often, even to the point of not taking it off.

Sterling silver does not always agree with everyone’s body chemistry, I do know a few individuals who can’t wear it at all. But for the majority of people the main issue with sterling silver is tarnish. Luckily, tarnish can be removed via a polishing cloth or even with hot water, tin foil and baking soda. Offering products in sterling silver gives me piece of mind that they will stand up to much love and wear.

Keeping it affordable

The biggest issue with offering sterling silver is to how to keep it affordable. I design with the philosophy that everyone deserves a nice product that they can be proud of. Silver has stabled in price, so it makes it more attainable. I buy in bulk: wholesale lots. So I have to make sure I have the funds to front the cost of large orders. It is the only way I can offer my work at the prices I do. That, and I donate a lot of my time. A lot. That’s the truth. Being the sole designer, sales person, marketer, photographer, copywriter, graphic designer, web designer (with help from my developer husband), and accountant means I really should be tripling or even quadrupling my cost (a topic for another day…).

Knowing where my supplies come from

I buy my sterling silver engraving disks from US suppliers. The disks are made in the USA and one supplier in particular smelts scrap metal to make their sterling silver sheet (disks are cut from sheet). The culinary grade pewter charms are made in the USA. The sterling silver cast charms are European or US made. The older I get, and the more informed I get, the more I would prefer to buy as close to home as possible. Plus, I have an established relationship with these suppliers. I can trust them.

Sterling silver engraving disks and culinary grade pewter charms: Made in the USA
Sterling silver engraving disks and culinary grade pewter charms: Made in the USA

An over-all product I can be proud of

I am confident with my skills and abilities. Am I perfect? No. Do I make mistakes? Of course. I am happy to fix and honor them. It happens. But I have no control over supplies that are simply not up to par. I am at a different place in my life. My philosophy has always been, would I wear it? And these days I don’t wear many of the items I originally developed. So after it is all said and done, this is the crux of change for me.

bb3 is still a project: I hesitate to call it a business as I just don’t have the time or resources to hire or grow it. It is a labour of love born out of the belief that we truly can get back to basics, express ourselves, be creative – and support local and small industries. It’s my reflection of where we are as a society – where mass produced, non-personal, bought without a thought does not always equate to better. It’s about spreading a little joy, a little positivity, a little healing, one item at a time.


New Cord Bracelets in 5 different Colors bb3.ca

Dpp 5014

One of the most popular requests I had in 2015 is to offer my engraved charms on a bracelet. I found these cord bracelets in several different colors and they make a nice affordable option. I am currently carrying the cord bracelets in 5 different colors. I may add more colors in the future depending on popularity of this option. Browse the new designs below:

International Breastfeeding Symbol on Cord Bracelet

International Babywearing Symbol on cord bracelet

Symbol of the International Child on cord bracelet

Puzzle piece for Autism Awareness with initial charm on cord bracelet

Personalized charm with cross charm on cord bracelet

Four other colors of cord available

More bracelet designs coming this year in different styles, including chain. If you see a necklace on the website that you would prefer on a cord bracelet I’d be happy to do that for you. All cord bracelets come with a piece of extender chain to help aid in the perfect fit. Back engraving on these items available at an additional charge.



Butterfly Teardrop Necklace with Choice of Bead Color

Dpp 4807

silver teardrop necklace with manually engraved butterfly and clear glass bead
silver teardrop necklace with manually engraved butterfly and clear glass bead

This is a revamped product that I used to offer. The original engraved butterfly teardrop necklace is now available with your choice of eight different bead colors: light blue, grey blue, smoke blue, light pink, citrine yellow, clear, ruby red & gold.

Gold butterfly teardrop necklace with light pink faceted bead

Available in these silver or gold plated brass teardrop pendants. They have a fabulous weight to them & wear very well.

I love these glass beads and use them often. They are weighted and thus have a sparkle similar to crystal. My photos don’t really capture just how pretty they truly are.

The butterfly is a symbol or transformation. These necklaces would be lovely for anyone who has made a major positive change in their life and need to signify it in a tangible way. Or maybe, you just like butterflies… ๐Ÿ˜‰


Engraving Necklaces Now Available in Gold

Dpp 4602

I always try to offer my products in both silver and gold, as I know they are both very popular. With the exception of my sterling silver products, due to the price of gold I find even gold filled can get quite pricey. I know we all are on a budget these days, which is why I do my best to make quality, affordable products that would be suitable for gifts or personal keepsakes.

Most of the engraving blanks I use are silver or gold plated. But they have a marvelous weight and wear very well. I would simply advise against getting them wet or wearing them 24/7 to keep them looking shiny & new. That said, I tend to wear mine constantly, even in the shower. They can take quite a beating until I officially have to retire them.

These following engraving necklaces were available in silver only. I am happy to say I was able to acquire gold charms thus am able to offer a gold option as well:

"Wings" remembrance keepsake necklace now available in gold
“Wings” remembrance keepsake necklace now available in gold

"Sweetheart" keepsake necklace in gold
“Sweetheart” keepsake necklace in gold

Horse lovers necklace from the animal/nature themed collection - now in gold
Horse lovers necklace from the animal/nature themed collection – now in gold

Gold option is now available in each listing.


Engraved Lotus Teardrop Necklace – Now Available –

Dpp 4713

silver lotus teardrop necklace with fuschia Swarovski crystal

This is not a new product – but a revamping of a product I used to offer. I love the pairing if the teardrop pendant and the lotus flower, it feels so fluid & calm. I especially love to wear this necklace with a long chain. I have the silver version on a 30″ chain in my personal collection.

Gold lotus flower necklace with opal Swarovski crystal

Available in either silver or gold, you also have a choice of either a fuschia or opal Swarovski crystal.

The lotus will symbolize different things to different people. Personally, I love any kind of flower symbolism. I am a heavenly flower/garland, afterall. ๐Ÿ™‚ When an object such as a flower – which I think of as delicate – blooms & thrives out of murky, muddy water, this for me speaks a lot to where I have been, and what I have become. The lotus also has several stacked petals, holding an intricacy all its own: just like my own individualism.

The Buddhist & Hindu religions use the lotus in their symbolism & beliefs, and although I am not of either persuasion, I have the utmost respect for the teachings of both.



New Engraved Celtic Knot Necklace

Dpp 4513

Celtic knot necklace in gold
Celtic knot necklace in gold

This necklace came to me the other day on a whim. I’ve had these diamond shaped blanks for quite some time now, and although I like their unique shape (as far as engraving blanks go) I could never find a design that I liked with them. With our annual spring trip to Nova Scotia coming up I had the Celtic knot on the brain. It is a common symbol in said province, and I love the symbolism of this endless knot. It just hit me out of the blue to engrave a Celtic knot onto the diamond shaped blanks.

celtic knot necklace in silver
celtic knot necklace in silver

This is definitely not my favorite design to engrave. It is incredibly intricate and if I miss a spot well, there really is no going back to fill it in. So like a maze or complicated jigsaw puzzle I have to analyze every line to make sure I have every piece connected correctly. I thought about what stone I wanted to pair with this celtic knot necklace, but in the end, I decided it looked the best on its own.

I’m really quite pleased at how quick of an idea this was. I have a sketchbook full of ideas and yet, some of the best ones simply come off the top of my head. I’m also looking forward to getting more practice engraving this mystical symbol.


Be My Valentine: Personalized Sweetheart Keepsake Necklace

Dpp 3035

Sweetheart keepsake Necklace manually engraved with Initial
Sweetheart keepsake Necklace manually engraved with Initial

My new product for the month of February is a Personalized Sweetheart Keepsake Necklace. If you subscribe to my newsletter you may have received this necklace as a thank you gift sent out to subscribers last April.

Sweetheart Keepsake Necklace Engraved with monogram
Sweetheart Keepsake Necklace Engraved with monogram

You can choose 1 or 2 initials in the curlz font or a monogram. I think initial + sign and initial in script font would be a nice idea for a gift as well (A+B) although I don’t have an example of that to share, yet.


The heart is a culinary grade pewter & the chain is lead & nickel free. The engraving blank itself is a silver plated brass. I love the weight of these blanks. I have yet to play around with my sterling silver disks I purchased around Christmas time. Never enough hours in the day, to balance time with my family, their creative pursuits, and my jewelry & fiber projects. It is the life, however! I’d rather have many things to do/explore than nothing at all.


International Babywearing Symbol Necklace Plus New Advocacy Keychain Sets

Dpp 3981

International Babywearing Symbol necklace in Gold
International Babywearing Symbol necklace in Gold

By customer request I am now engraving the International Babywearing Symbol. I’ve developed a necklace available in silver or gold and paired with a Swarovski crystal or pearl (or no embellishment for a small discount).

Be sure to check out Natural Mother Magazine for more info on this symbol.

Keychain pair International Breastfeeding Symbol & International Babywearing Symbol

New keychain sets also come in both silver or gold plate. Choose from a double or triple set.

Keychain Triple Set with International Babywearing, International Breastfeeding and International Child Symbols
Keychain Triple Set with International Babywearing, International Breast Feedings and International Child Symbols

Bulk orders for events are always available, simply contact me for a quote. All pieces are manually engraved and assembled at time of order.


New Product: Engraved Owl Necklace

Owl Necklace Engraved

Owl necklace personalized with engraving
Owl necklace personalized with engraving

The most popular pinterest board that I have to date is all about owls. I’m glad I’m not the only one fascinated with these creatures. Back in April I did a giveaway to my newsletter subscribersย where everyone who responded would get a free product from me. This allowed me to bring some new products from paper to fruition. I always love to have a muse or energy to work towards. A few of my subscribers received this piece, and it is now available for purchase. Choose one or 2 initials for engraving.

If you are a knitter, you may also like my owl stitch markers. ๐Ÿ™‚


New Personalized Necklace: Awareness Ribbon for Advocacy Awareness Memorial

Dpp 3019

I love it when a new product evolves from an existing one. I have a basket on my work desk of “rejects”. ย Manual engraving is a skill. Being able to line up the font just perfectly, not scratching with the diamond tip, and making sure the blank is totally immobile so that it doesn’t move during the process are all things I have going on all at once. Sometimes I goof on the placement, accidentally scratch the surface or the blank will move because it just wasn’t quite tight enough. These are all thrown into the reject pile. Normally what happens is that I engrave “SAMPLE” across the mistake and use the other side for engraving examples. Waste not, want not, as they say.

Concentrating on all these things, I also have to make sure I have the initials in the right order. I have been known to reverse them, and upon a double check discover my mistake. These blanks are perfectly fine, they are just not fine for the customer expecting the initials in the proper order. ๐Ÿ˜‰

This new Awareness ribbon piece evolved out of said boo-boos while engraving for the “Wings” memorial piece. In order to do an interlocking monogram, I engrave the outer initials first, then over lay the interlocking middle initial. So here a I had a couple of blanks missing the middle letter, as I had realized my goof before finishing the engraving. So what to do with this large gap?ย I came to realize that an awareness ribbon fits nice & snuggly in between.

kidney cancer awareness necklace with initials by leilani cleveland
Awareness ribbon necklace engraved with ribbon & 2 initials. Paired with an orange Swarovski crystal to represent Kidney Cancer.

The awareness/memorial piece was born. My main intention was to create an awareness piece, pairing the charm with different Swarovski crystals in colors of a variety of causes. But after it was finished I realized that this could also serve as a memorial piece to honor a passed on loved one (or loved ones as the 2 initials could be two people). Whether one is a supporter, a survivor or honoring the loss of a loved one this necklace has the ability to tell the personal story of the owner. It is truly unique to one’s situation and becomes a conversation piece for a variety of good causes. This is in essence why I enjoy doing what I do, to help with the healing process, and an ice breaker so help one tell the story of their journey.

Breast cancer Awareness Necklace Engraved Personalized by Leilani Cleveland Deveau
The Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon sample is a good example where I sometimes goof: see the triple line on the C? This is because the blank moved during the engraving process. I would never sell a necklace in this state, but they are great to keep for product development.

I currently have 18 different colors to choose from that signify a variety of causes from cancers to diabetes to caregivers. Some colors stand for more than one cause. I have chose to list the symbolism that I happen to know about/is most common, but I encourage you to choose the color that has meaning for you. If there is an awareness color that you would like to have I am more than happy to take your requests. ย The possibilities can be endless with this topic, and I had to stop somewhere or this piece would never get listed. Browse the listingย to see the colors currently available but do let me know if there is another cause you would like represented.

So much more still on the workbench. To keep my sanity I list a little bit every month. More new items coming soon… ๐Ÿ™‚


New Pewter Charms for the Animal/Nature Keepsake Necklace

Dpp 3128

I’ve added some more cute culinary grade pewter charms to this series (culinary grade = lead free!). I cannot help myself: the detail the manufacturer puts into these make them absolutely irresistible. The total to choose from currently is 10. Here’s a quick run down of the new offerings.

save the bees personalized necklace gift by leilani deveau
This bee charm would make a lovely gift for a eco-activist, bee keeper as well as someone who has an affinity to this necessary creature

dragonfly necklace engraved gift
dragonfly necklace comes in silver or gold

leaping frog necklace with engraving
leap frog, anyone?

horse necklace silver only
The horse charm is currently available in silver only but I will be stocking gold when it becomes available.

hummingbird necklace

ladybird necklace
It is indeed another ladybug necklace. Variety is the spice of life… ๐Ÿ™‚

You can view these combinations as well as the original 4 on the website. I am carrying these in limited quantities to gauge their popularity before making them a permanent supply.




New Chain on Child’s Flower Necklaces

Dpp 3301

I got a chain order the other day, and with it I had a design epiphany, about my child’s flower necklaces. The epiphany was: what I found off putting about it, was the style of chain.

I am notorious for over analyzing my work. I have to tell myself to put much of what I do away and revisit it, when I can be less emotionally invested in the design. This was a little different, because I always liked this piece, just something was…off for me.

Originally because I designed this piece just for kids, I attached the only 14 inch chain I had in stock, which happened to be a sterling silver box chain. And thus it remained for no other reason but convenience. I also had the undesirable task looming of putting up my price for this piece, because I have officially ran out of my original wholesale lot of chain, that I acquired years ago at better prices. So I either ordered more of this chain at a higher price and therefore a higher price for my customers, or find an alternative.


With this new chain, which is for both for a good quality silver plated and gold plated rolo chain, the necklace just looks right to me. It’s not something I can explain. It is a feeling – the energy – of the entire piece. I think I find this chain more youthful than the box chain. Seems like a lot of thinking just about style of chain, but that is what you can expect out of handmade work. We put a lot of heart & soul in everything we create, whatever it may be!


Switching this chain out means I don’t have to raise my prices on an item that is in a limited run. In fact – I was able to put the price of the gold version down $2 to match the silver! It also comes in 30 inch length for silver, and 26 inch length for gold. That means I can offer customers any chain length they desire under that maximum length, making the child’s flower piece suitable for teens, young adults or the young at heart. ๐Ÿ˜‰


International Breastfeeding Symbol & Image of the International Child Products

Dpp 2478 3

June’s new product offerings include necklaces & bookmarks featuring the International Breastfeeding Symbol & The Image of the International Child for Genital Autonomy. Perfect gifts for the Lactivist/Intactivist in your life. Manually engraved (handmade) in my home studio near Montreal.





Back engraving is available on these products for an additional fee. Click on the images to be taken to the listings. The breastfeeding necklace is available with or without the pearl. Coming soon to my Etsy shop. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m posting and dashing this evening. I’m desperately trying to catch up all while having a family vacation. The studio is still closed but the computer seems to be my constant companion when I can steal away a moment here and there. Off to work on my overdue newsletter…


New Pearl Option for the Flower Child’s Personalized Necklace – with Engraving

Flower Child Engraved With Pearl

Flower child engraved with pearl
Pearl option in silver (click to be taken to listing)

A customer recently asked me if I could do a pearl instead of a Swarovski crystal for her flower child’s necklace order. I had some 4mm freshwater pearls on hand, and I loved the result so much I decided to add it as a permanent option for both silver & gold versions of this product. Now added on theย website and coming soon to Etsy (my Etsy shop is closed as I am currently travelling).

pearl option gold (click to view listing)

As an aside, I get asked every now and then if the blanks I use are black. What you are seeing here is the reflection of the camera lens. Often the glare is so bad on these very shiny blanks I cannot capture the detail in the engraving. Often times the best way to take a clear picture of the engraving is to have the reflection of the camera lens absorb the light. So in the closeups this is why sometimes the blanks look black. My photography skills leave much to be desired, I know. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I try to post several photos to help best represent the piece so always browse through them all to get an overall feel for the product. Photos are so flat and one dimensional they do not do my work justice. I think most – if not all – online sellers are feeling my pain, here. ๐Ÿ™‚


Personalized Ladybug Necklaces: Engraved, New & Revamped

Img 3265

This time of year, you can frequently find a ladybug or two in our house. I thought, what better time to (re)lauch my ladybug necklace: old & new design.

Custom Engraved Lady Bug Necklace Gold: Personalized with Initial - bb3.ca
Custom Engraved Lady Bug Necklace Gold: Personalized with Initial – bb3.ca

This is the original ladybug necklace (one of my best sellers), but with a fresh new look. I changed the chain to a gold-plated ball, and a new fresh font called “curlz modern”. The unfortunate thing is, my supplier is no longer carrying these pendants and I have had no luck finding them elsewhere. I have a limited quantity left, and once they are gone, this design will be retired.

Originally designed for kids, the necklace currently comes in 14 and 16 inch chain, but longer chain is on the way making this piece suitable not just for kids but for adults as well.

Personalized Lady Bug Necklace Silver - bb3.ca
Personalized Lady Bug Necklace Silver – bb3.ca

The new design features an enameled ladybug pendant. These are wonderfully colorful and already available in chain length from 14 inch to 20 inch. On silver plated ball chain, and the engraving on a 15mm silver plated brass disk.


Which design do you like best, the gold or the silver? I’d love to hear from you in the comments… ๐Ÿ™‚


Personalized Necklaces Featuring 2 New Engraving Fonts

Dpp 2705

Check out these new and revamped designs and leave a comment to have a chance to win one!

In an earlier post I talked about the addition of new engraving fonts this year, & that I would be adding or re-vamping some products. Here’s a run-down of 2 products now available.

I did a re-vamp of my Child’s Personalized Flower necklace. One of my best sellers, I felt it needed a face lift of sorts, & the new curlz text is a playful double line font which gives this piece the fresh new look I was hoping for.


Personalized with 1 initial & paired with your choice of Swarovski crystal birthstone color, the sterling silver chain comes in not just 14 inch child length but 16 & 18 inch as well. This piece could easily be enjoyed by a teen or young adult.

Also new is the addition of gold:


Sadly when I did my inventory counts back in January my supplier is not carrying the flower blanks anymore. Once I go through this wholesale lot, this design will be retired.

I’ve had this idea on paper for awhile now and I’m really happy with the finished product. It’s a keepsake necklace with your choice of charm, 1 or 2 initials, & type of curlz font (modern or vintage). I have butterfly, bunny, turtle & teddy bear in a culinary grade pewter charm. All are available in both silver & gold except for the bunny which is currently only available in silver. The necklace comes in a variety of sizes from child to adult thus can be enjoyed by all.

DPP_2548 DPP_2564 DPP_2556 DPP_2631

This collection is too cute for words & to welcome spring I have a giveaway for the month of March for the bunny option. Simply fill out this form to enter. I’m taking entrants until March 31st, 2014.

Here’s a quick run down of both the curlz fonts:


The curlz modern is brand new to me. The curlz vintage however, is a very old set that I obtained a few years ago, used. I don’t know what it is actually called, but since it is the same size and has a similar flow to the curlz font I just purchased, it only seemed natural to called it curlz vintage. ๐Ÿ™‚

Don’t forget to enter the March giveaway of a personalized bunny necklace. And if you happen upon this post after the 31st, don’t despair. Simply leave a comment below of your favorite necklace, and I’ll draw for a random winner every time we hit 25 comments (from 25 unique visitors). That gives you a 1 in 25 chance of winning! Once we reach 25 comments & I draw a winner, I’ll announce it here and put a new comment so the fun can start all over again. ๐Ÿ™‚




New Engraving Fonts


As mentioned in a previous post the studio is open but you will see some favorite customizable products on the websiteย missing. I have 2 new engraving fonts and thus am updating/revamping the missing products. I should have prototypes completed within the week, and barring the need to order in supplies we should see the new and improved products back for sale in about 2 weeks. I’ll reintroduce them one at a time here on the blog once ready, as well as on my newsletter where you can also receive discounts and a chance to win product.

I actually own many fonts for manual engraving, however not all are suited for the kind of engraving I mostly do. I usually do jewelry with one or two letters, or monogram initials, and some of the fonts I have are either too plain or not suited size wise or style wise for either. A couple products I offer now are on the time consuming side as I have to fiddle with the font to get it to look proper for one initial rather than a whole word. A slanted font will look lovely in text, but horrible as a stand alone initial. In this case I need to play with the size and the angle of the blank when I engrave. It’s a skill I certainly can do, but the more time it takes to engrave one piece the more expensive, essentially, the piece becomes. I am committed to offering my products at the best price, but this also means it has to be a fair price for me. I literally time myself when making a piece, and will always continue to look for ways to become more efficient without sacrificing quality. Time is money, as they say…

So here’s a peek at the 2 new fonts I am adding to my collection. The first one is called Curlz. It will replace most of the engraving on the children’s pieces:


It’s a fun font and on the larger template side, so suited for 1 or 2 initials for most of the work I do.

I also obtained an upright script, as I the script I use now is slanted, which as mentioned above needs a bit of play in order to look good as a stand alone letter. An upright script will alleviate the need for measuring and guesswork when engraving one or two initials.


I am also going return the use of the Old English font, especially on personalized bookmarks. I also already own a curlz type font that I am calling curlz vintage. It is very old and a collector’s item to me. It will be another variation available. Be sure to keep an eye out both here on the blog & on the website or sign up for my monthly newsletter & never miss an updateย on new and improved products. I look forward to sharing them with you!



“Wings” Tribute piece: Personalized Memorial Necklace

Angel Wings Mongram Necklace Engraved


5 years ago to this day, my mother passed away suddenly at the age of 54. I would like to say *unexpectedly*, but I had a prophetic dream a week prior of her death, & although I was somewhat prepared, it was certainly a trauma nonetheless. We had an at times difficult – albeit honest – relationship, and I developed the “Wings” memorial necklace in her tribute, as a constant reminder that she still walks beside me despite having many moments where I feel motherless.


I was on the fence about releasing this piece to customers, as it was so personal to me, but I decided by not sharing it I was missing an opportunity to help others heal & honor their loved one as I did. Since releasing “Wings” earlier this year for customizing, it has hands down become my best selling piece. I have had the honor of engraving these with the initials of loved ones for people I had never exchanged words with, yet I felt a connection to all the same. The most difficult request, was for infant loss, and I grieved for this mother even though she never knew of me or that she would be receiving this keepsake.


Now I cannot believe I ever considered never sharing this piece. It is such a good example of why I create. It keeps me human. It keeps me connected. It gives me a sense of purpose in a world that some days makes no sense.

Love to you, mama: where ever thy soul shall roam…


Have you been healed by creativity? I am looking for examples to be featured here on the creativity inspired blog of how art/creativity helped you overcome loss/hardship/illness. Did you paint a picture? Get a tattoo? Plant a garden in honor of a person or event? I want to hear every & all examples of how an outward expression aided you in your process. It is my hope that others will find comfort in these inspirational stories. Please contact me directly in order to be featured, or leave me a comment below. My only requirement is that you have one picture of the finished product to share with readers. Namaste!

New Engraved Stitch Markers

Img 2727

IMG_2720 IMG_2722 IMG_2724

I’m working on a ย new design of stitch markers engraved with “K2TOG”, “PSSO”, & “SSK”. In silver & gold. I think in a pack of 2 of each…still in the design phase at this point.


View from the manual engraver…for the next set of stitch markers. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’d like to package these up and sell these in small yarn shops too – so if you are interested I can send samples to your business, just contact me via the blog. ๐Ÿ™‚


Sneak Peek at the Custom/Engravable Line…

Dpp 416

Well, I cannot believe my eyes. As of last night, the website is LIVE!ย  All of my Etsy & Artfire inventory is now available on my own little piece of the world wide web. But, before I work on search engine optimization, we still need to move the site over to the faster hosting, & I really need to get my custom collections up & running. I had originally set a goal of having it all live by the end of May, however after finally assessing how many collections I developed over the the winter, I have my doubts that I can go public with every single one in less than 2 weeks, especially with the custom requests that happen to come in in the meantime.

Here is a sneak peek of what to expect nonetheless. I will launch one collection at a time and announce each on the home page of my website. I also would like to do a giveaway to kick off the launch, but I haven’t figured out what just yet. Suggestions welcome! And sooner than later before I get wrapped up in all things infant! ๐Ÿ™‚

So here is but one item available from each collection.

From “Awareness”:

From “Beaded”:

From “Children’s”:

From “Dark Angel”:

From “Gemstone”:

From ” Gothic Spider”:

From “Keepsake”:

From “Sweetheart”:

From “Remembrance”:

I also have a pet tag engraving collection conceptualized on paper only. At this time I decided it is best to go forward with what I have before developing anything new. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cross fingers that the attributes (for customization/choice on each piece) built into the software are straight forward and I can get this up and running smoothly. With open-source, anything can happen. ๐Ÿ™‚


New Engraving Font

Interlock Mono

I am excited about this new engraving font. And even more excited that I mastered it quickly. I engrave manually so it takes a bit of skill to have the letters of this monogram interlock:


Here is an example of it actually engraved:

This font will be available as part of my engraving collection on my website. The website will be going live shortly with my clearance section active – over the coming days I will be loading in the custom collections as well as upgrading to faster hosting.

Personalized Necklaces – My latest Custom Engraving Order


I just shared this custom order on my Facebook page…and I mentioned there that I normally do not share custom requests. Normally the pieces I do are very personal in nature & I just don’t feel comfortable putting them out there.

This particular order, was a request by a business for their employees. I engraved the names, and added a pearl charm. And since the company is kickboxing – I found these adorable boxing glove charms. I really love the final product, and with prices of sterling going through the roof, happy to offer the engraving blank in a silver plated steel.

If you are from the Calgary area, why not check out this company run by women, for women? Kick butt and get in shape! Foxykickboxing.ca.

Jewelry Inspired: Custom Engraved Charm Necklace


I have been talking for several months now about my newly acquired manual engravers – AKA pantograph engraver or engravograph as New Hermes likes to call them.

I thought it was about time I finally shared a completed piece of jewelry showcasing their engraving abilities. ๐Ÿ™‚

I call this piece a charm necklace because of the size. It is dainty and meant for everyday wear. Above you see the Om symbol engraved onto a 18x11mm sterling silver blank. (Besides the Om, I also have a Celtic knot, mother/child (which you will see in an up-coming post),ย  heart, butterfly, flower, awareness ribbon, cross, as well as several logos of organizations. I can order more shapes and symbols upon request). Above it hangs a 4mm freshwater pearl – symbolizing wisdom, faith, focus & luck.

I then added a birthstone fairy in Swarovski crystal – the birthstone is emerald, for May.

Here’s a view of the back of the engraved charm – “Aurore” – the name of the recipient (this was a birthday gift for a dear friend – the entire piece is inspired by her).

A view of how the piece hangs when worn.

I loved this design, & decided to make one for myself! Here is the back of mine, showing my name engraved in a cursive font.

Just to get an idea of the size. It is small and ideal for everyday wear – I wear mine almost everyday!

So a little background – how does the pantograph engravers work? I’ll do a future blog post illustrating how they work exactly, but essentially they are large tracing machines. You have fonts and logos usually constructed out of the traditional brass, however recently I have also discovered a kind of hard resin that glides like butter in my machine, & it’s a fraction of the price of the brass sets (for example, a new brass font set with a fancy lettering can run you upwards of $800!) One end of the arm traces the font or logo plate while the other end has a diamond bit graver that engraves the image onto the metal. It works in ratios, so if you have it set to a 2:1 ratio – usually the largest size, the engraved image will be half the size of the template….and through approximately 12 different settings (including half sizes), gets smaller from there.

Unlike hand-stamped jewelry, engraving in this manner will give you a near-perfect image since it’s tracing a template. It does take a bit of practice and skill to not slip while tracing and get the even pressure (since this is manual afterall!) necessary. Also, blackening the image via oxidation as is the norm with hand stamping will give an engraved image a dull appearance – it is best to simply let it it remain in the colour of the metal. (I love hand stamping too and is another skill I hope to acquire down the road! It is a totally different look & feel!).

My mind is bursting with ideas…but before I get ahead of myself, the plan moving forward is to use this piece as the test object for mywebsite of custom jewelry. If all goes well with the programming I will add more pieces from there.

Until then, for more info on ordering this piece contact me directly: leilani@heavenlyflower.com