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CraftID Alternatives

CraftIDs are elegant, enlightening, and easy. But, there are and always will be alternative ways to sign your work. We believe that a CraftID is much more than just your signature. Your CraftID is your chance to truly immortalize your art work, your skills, your passions. And if you are selling your work a CraftID leverages your existing body of work as a perpetual advertising and marketing channel far better than any alternatives.

Hand Signed

Make no mistake.  A handwritten signature is considered by some as the true sign of an artisan or artist. To be a truly positive embellishment to your work though, your handwritten signature has to be recognizable. Readable is a definite plus, but recognizable is a must.  Take a few minutes to read through our references for example John Castagno and the article on on hand signing your work.  These references, these people, are particularly talking about paintings and similar pieces, but their conclusions are just as valid for most arts and crafts disciplines. They make definitive points that unrecognizable signatures are at best a wash. When it comes to crafts an unrecognizable handwritten signature can easily be a negative to collectors and buyers alike.

If you are going to hand sign your work please consider the use and handling of the piece.  A Sharpie is nearly indellible, but not perfectly so.  Many a craftsman has been disappointed by signing their piece then applying a finish coat to seal the signature only to have the finish dissolve the ink and smudge the signature or bleed it into the piece.  Very disheartening.  Don't ask me how I know this.

Even painter's signatures are copied mechanically when prints are made.  They don't always sign and number every print.  You can always add your hand signature in addition to your CraftID to authenticate your work.  However, your CraftID can authenticate your work as well as market you based on your included contact information.

Cast Medallions

There are several 'mints' that make exquisite cast metal coins and medallions for military and commercial groups, associations and clubs, as well as individuals.  The can represent anything from military campaigns to sales campaigns, fund raising success to successful completion of a race or contest.  They can be reasonably priced and from my personal experience are typically very impressive.   They may be heavy for some applications and too expensive for others.  There could be setup fees and minimum quantities.  Most metal coins start at 1.5".  To get started you need to order a minimum quantity of perhaps 100 pieces and you will have a die mold fee for at least one side.  It can easily cost $350 just to get your first batch of 100 coins.

With many wood craft items the weight of the larger cast coins would be an issue.  For many people the finish of the coins may not fit the work.  And, you certainly have to completely finish your woodworking items before inserting a coin as a signature since sanding these coins would really ruin their appeal. A CraftID can be sanded lightly with your work especially when the CraftID is filled. If you plan to buy campaign coins / metal signature medallions one place to check would be

Branding Irons

A woodworking branding iron are typically custom made with your name, logo, signature or other mark.  There are electric and non-electric logo / woodworker's signature branding irons.  The non-electric versions need an external heat source such as a gas stove, charcoal grill or fireplace. The positive side of signing your wood crafts with a branding irons is that under the best of circumstances they will make uniformly identifiable marks.  Once you buy the branding iron with your signature or mark you have it and they last a long time.

The flip side is that signature branding irons can be difficult to use. Even in good conditions they may make less than perfect marks depending on the surface texture and grain, and typically are only usable on basically flat surfaces.  So when you need your woodturner's signature on a turned bowl or turned platter, or hollow form you may not have the flat surface or the space for use of your branding iron.  If you are doing one craft item or a small number of items, it will take some time to heat the branding iron and test it on a scrap piece of wood to get a stylish, attractive signature.  And, they typically take 6 to 8 weeks for delivery.  We've all seen examples of perfectly fine signatures and marks made with branding irons.  Interestingly, probably most of us have also seen branding iron marks that left much to be desired because the woodworker did not take the time to test it or the wood just wasn't consistent.  Branding irons are relatively inexpensive - in the $50 to $200 range.  So if your woodwork or other crafts present a consistantly even grain, flat surface then a signature branding iron could be for you. You can buy branding irons online and at stores such as Woodcraft, Rockler, and Nova Tool Co.

Stick-On Labels

There are many paper, thin plastic, label-maker and other stick-on labels options for signing your crafts.  There are some issue with using stick-on labels for signing your work.  If you are looking for a long term signature (and you should be) then labels that are stuck on your piece may fail and then your signature or logo is lost.  If design has anything to do with your artwork or craftwork then most stick-on labels may not be complimentary to your design. And when an artisan has gone to extensive effort to design, create and apply the perfect stick-on label frequently it is the adhesive that comes up short.

If your artwork or craft work has a limited useful life and that life is shorter than that of the label adhesive then you may be fine.  But, if your stick-on label adhesive weakens with heat, pressure, time and just general handling it may leave you anonymous.  It may leave a bad impression with buyers and collectors who perceive these as amateur. It may even be safe to say that any craft item with a stick-on label is unlikely to ever be a collector's item.  There are exceptions always, but you know what we're talking about.  A CraftID will always present a much more professional signature or logo for your arts and crafts than stick-on labels, and your CraftID will be there for as long as the piece is around.

Signature Stamps

Signature stamps are those rubber stamp apparatuses you may have seen used for stamping documents or checks.  Most signature stamps today are pre-inked.  They are convenient, quick, relatively inexpensive and they last a long time.  On the down side they may have varying results on wood depending on whether the wood is finished or sealed or not.  Also they are made to work on very flat surfaces.  So just like signature branding irons a signature stamp may have disappointing results on hand made craft items.

Depending on the ink used in the stamp you should also consider how long lasting your signature or logo will be if the item is handled or exposed to light or humidity.  As permanent as some inks would be they could still wear off a wood surface.  But, for hobby woodworkers and other craft makers a signature rubber stamp might be a best alternative to a CraftID.  A CraftID will last longer and look more professional, but it will cost more than a rubber stamp.

Signature Medallions

Not surprisingly there are other people who make some form of signature medallion similar to a CraftID. For example, Highland Woodworking sells wood signature medallions through their catalog and website. There will always be many options. If you want flexibility, craftsmanship, fast service and great designs then of course a CraftID is your best woodworking signature, craft signature or artisan signature solution.

We will add more example alternatives over time as suggestions are made.