How to Place a Custom Order
The first step is up to you. You must choose a photo to email to me (no mailed photos, please). A great pet portrait starts with a great photo. What makes a great photo?
- A carefully chosen close up that reflects the pet’s personality is best. Use the “Awwww” test: If someone looks at the photo and says, “Awww,” it’s probably a good one. Note that while I can combine a pet from one photo with a pet from another photo, I am basically just copying what I see in the photo. The pose you see in the photo is what you’ll get.
- Sharp in-focus photo. This seems obvious, but it is really incredible how many people give me a blurry photo because that is all they have and expect me to make something amazing. I understand that this may be for a gift, and you can’t ask Aunt Sylvia for a new photo without arousing her suspicion. Please try and be creative. If you want a gift she’ll cherish, you need a decent photo.
- High resolution. Scanned at at least 300 dpi and measures at least the size of a normal photo you’d get printed (3X5 or 4X6). My apologies if you are already familiar with sizing photos, but in case you aren’t: Something that comes in at less than 2 inches square at only 72 dpi will not work. Taking a photo that is already 72 dpi and “enlarging” it to 300 dpi in a photo editor does not work. If the photo was taken with a digital camera, there should be a high resolution version of it somewhere. If it is printed, make sure it is scanned at 300 dpi.
As you can probably tell, the photo is pretty critical. The next step is deciding what kind of portrait you want. I do traditional stained glass, which works well for many animals, but I also do fused glass because some types of fur just don’t translate well to what’s available for stained glass. Fused glass allows me to “paint with sand” and create a more realistic portrait of an animal. Stained glass portraits sized under a square foot take about a week or two to complete and average about $60. Fused glass pieces can take about a month and range from about $65 (very small) to more than $90 (large). Not sure which kind? Take a look at my Gallery for some examples.
Custom Order Form and Deposit
The third step depends on your time frame. If this is a portrait for yourself, and you’re not in a hurry, go ahead and fill out the Custom Order Request form and send the deposit. If it’s a gift that you need by a certain date, please contact me first to check availability. I tend to get a lot of orders during the Christmas season, for example; if you wait until after Thanksgiving to order, I probably won’t have time to work on your project. Note: if you are placing a custom order for anything other than a suncatcher, please contact me. Large panels require a 50% deposit.
Doing the Work
After you’ve made your deposit, the next step depends on the type of portrait you’ve ordered. Fused glass? I get started. I may ask you for some additional details, but essentially you’re done until it’s time to pay. Stained Glass? I will make a pattern using the photo, then I’ll email you the pattern for your approval. We may go back and forth several times until you are completely happy with the pattern. This is the time to speak up if you want changes. Custom orders are NOT returnable. Once you approve the pattern, I start work, and any changes after I begin working in glass will be expensive and may delay the promised completion date.
Finally . . .
Once the work is complete I will email you a photo and an invoice including the final shipping charges.* Once I receive payment, I’ll ship your package and email you the tracking number.
*A Note about Shipping: I learned very early the horror of opening a package full of broken stained glass, so I do my utmost to wrap carefully, then wrap again, then, maybe, again. Suncatchers ship via USPS in their “if it fits it ships” boxes. Large panels will need to be crated in wood, which increases shipping costs. The extra cost is worth it. Believe me, I don’t want to remake something I spent weeks on any more than you want to open a package of broken glass!