My Most Challenging Commission To Date

Usually when I get a commission, I’ll have some sort of idea of how challenging it will be. There may be aspects of it that I’ll expect to be easy, and others that I’ll know will be harder. Most of the time I’m fairly close in my assessments, and there will be some areas that will surprise me a little bit.

But this one? This one was completely off base.

This was my biggest jewelry commission to date: 6 cardinal necklaces, with 3 oval pendants with my current Cardinal design, and 3 round pendants with a new Cardinal desgin. I assumed that it would be pretty straight forward and simple: make up a new cardinal painting, print out both cardinal paintings as smaller pieces, glue them to the glass domes, insert into the metal trays, and boom, done.

Easy peasy, right?

So very, very, wrong.

Painting the new cardinal design was easy and straight forward (woo hoo!). I got to use my new flatbed scanner for digitizing it, and then resizing the images took a little bit of work to get them to match up to the glass domes nicely, but I’m used to that for working on prints and note cards, so I was expecting it to be a bit of a challenge.


Then I printed them out on watercolor paper (the same paper that I currently use for my necklaces), added eyes back in with my gel pens (they were too small to be seen and looked weird without them), let it dry overnight, and then the next day I attached the glass domes. I made up extra to stock in my Etsy store, and waited for them to dry. They looked amazing, and I patted myself on the back for a job well done.

But when I went back to cut them out to insert them into the tray, they were AWFUL. All of the red had bled, and there was no way that I’d be able to use these.

I was able to soak the paper and domes for awhile and save the domes (whew!) to be reused for the next trial.


I brainstormed up a new idea, and then printed the cardinal designs onto photo paper. I added eyes, let them dry overnight, and the next day I attached the domes.

And they bled again. Horribly.


So I printed on watercolor paper and photo paper again, added eyes, let them dry overnight, and then sprayed with a fixative that I had and let dry again. I attached the domes and waited. Some of the birds bled, some didn’t. But then I had bubbles on the watercolor paper, and the photo paper ones seemed okay (finally!).

As I cut out the photo paper birds, I encountered a brand new problem: the paper was too slippery and the domes popped right off of them! NOOOOOO!!!!!!


So I gave up for a couple days, but did some research and brainstormed new ideas.

My last resort was printing on card stock. Added eyes, let dry overnight. Attached domes. Waited. And they bled again. Not as bad as the other papers, but still bad enough I couldn’t use them. So I reprinted, added eyes, sprayed with fixative, and after they were dry, I added the domes. Some were perfect, some had a couple bubbles, some bled a tiny tiny bit. But it was workable! I cut them out, and they stayed attached…finally I had my solution!!!!

I chose the best 3 ovals and best 3 rounds and completed my order with a couple days to spare before my deadline, and they were well received by their commissioner! Yay!


I do have some in my Etsy store, both in the round and oval designs. I do have some that are imperfect, with either minor bleeding or a random bubble, and will be adding those at a reduced rate very soon.

I do plan on trying some of my other pieces as jewelry soon as well, like LighthouseWaters of Scotland, and other birds as well. If you have any special requests, just let me know!

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