Vincent's first tag was as basic as possible
but still got the job done.
Jules’ tag is a slide with a custom-made safety collar and a low-profile
leather collar was built for safety as well as good looks.
Jules is modeling his slide collar for you
Issue # 13
Christine Cox was a regular
contributor to ARTitude Zine. This article originally appeared
and is reprinted here with permission. Unfortunately ARTitude is no longer
we love them like family and they ask so little. Anyone who knows me knows that
my 3 black, male cats are the very heart of my heart. When I heard that this
issue’s theme was My Pet I immediately thought of pet tags. Even though they’re
indoor cats, I’d been saying for months that I was going to make our Boyz some
jewelry and now I had the creative inspiration.
I had been
looking in stores and on the Internet for pet tags with some flair but the most
impressive I could come up with was a $75 cast sterling tag from Tiffany, made
to be used as a keychain. I found tags shaped like bones, paws, fire hydrants,
bells (including the Liberty Bell), hearts, rectangles, milk containers, stars
and generic animals. Sizes seem to range from about 1” for small dogs or cats,
up to about 2” wide if you have a large dog. All this variety was wonderful but
it just left me cold. Now each of my Boyz wears his own, personalized jewelry.
tag was the first one I made. I wanted it to be in the shape of ‘Bama but
couldn’t find any clip art or drawings that looked like him. I found one that
was close and then modified it with my trusty Sharpie marker. I used my
jeweler’s saw to cut out the shape from 20 gauge brass, drilled the hole for the
jump ring and stamped ‘Bama’s name and number on the back. So that I wouldn’t
have to worry about the tag coming off the collar, I soldered the jump ring
closed. The ring that comes with most purchased collars is really hard metal and you
probably don’t need to worry about soldering that.
you buy from the store are engraved, a process of carving into the metal with a
sharp tool. The techniques take years to master and my Boyz needed tags now so I
decided to use my
alpha/numeric stamp sets. I
tag so that the words would show up better and then chose to let it weather
naturally. If I had wanted to seal it I could have used Carnauba wax (available
from automotive stores in the car wax section).
whenever I look at ‘Bama’s collar I smile because it’s the exact shape that my
boy gets himself into whenever he wants me to pet him.
collar is much more elaborate. I lucked out right away and found a piece of clip
art that looked just like my kid. I modified it just a little as the tail in the
image went straight out and I wanted it to curl around ‘Vincent.’ I cut the cat
image out of copper and the heart out of brass and riveted them both to a ground
of nickel (with Vincent’s name and number stamped on the back). Vincent’s tag
looks the most like ‘real’ jewelry. Unfortunately no one will ever see it, as
he’s very shy (his nickname is ‘Boo’ after Boo Radley). It’s OK though; I know
that if he ever gets out and someone finds him, they’ll have my number.
collar fits his personality, if not his size. Even though he was the runt when
we got him, Jules is our intrepid explorer and all-around tough kitty. I
decided to make his tag as a slide, which is a plain piece of metal with slits
cut into it. The collar slides through the slits and then fastens around Jules’
neck. It’s a low-profile design that doesn’t have anything dangling from it to
catch on things. Since the collar he had didn’t go with the slide (it was a
little pink and blue number with a bell on it, not fit for a macho kitty like
Jules at all), I made him a new leather collar as well.
this is true about dogs (I haven’t had a dog since I was a kid), but cats should
always wear safety collars. The idea is that if your kitty is getting
into things and his collar catches on something, the collar will break before
the cat does. The collar I made for Jules is thick leather that would never
break if he got into trouble. I cut the leather into 2 pieces and held them
together with a small rubber band. I rest assured knowing that the rubber band
will break before Jules does.
needed to fold the leather (the folds for the rivets and behind the slide) I
thinned it using a scalpel with a
curved blade. I also gently bent the metal
slide to the curve of Jules’ neck so that his collar is comfortable and doesn’t
There is an
entire world of possibility for these tags. You can keep them very simple, like
Alabama’s or you can really go overboard and make an elaborate one like
Vincent’s. You could install an eyelet through the hole for the jump ring and
give it a nice, finished look. If you know how to solder you could use that
skill to further embellish your pet’s tags. Whatever you decide to do, make sure
that your pets don’t get caught wearing store-bought tags on their collars!