I had been wondering for awhile where DA artists get their acrylic charms made. You really have to know what your looking for. I kept searching for heat press acrylic manufacturers but could not find anything. Apparently your supposed to look for ‘laser cut acrylic’. Finally I have found two (I’m surprised I found even one, because its such a well guarded secret) manufacturers of custom acrylic charms. And even more shocking is that their prices are pretty good.
The llama charms above are heat pressed acrylic. That means that colors are added to the acrylic to make a picture. I bought the white llama charm at Colossal Con (an anime convention) from MoogleGurl a kawaii (cute) artist. I love my llama key chain. Sadly its head snapped off.
Anyway, the company that makes heat pressed acrylic charms is called Printsess.com. The minimum charm order is 100 and the cost comes out to about $1 a charm. (Edit: Princess announced that it is no longer offering its custom printing services as of Feb. 28, 2o13. My alternate suggestion is Zap Creatives, which I review below.)
There is one other useful company that I found that is like a one stop shop for commercializing your art. It is called ZapCreative.co.uk. It is based across the pond, which means the shipping costs are high and all the prices are in pounds, but they do give US customers a discounts which makes it really close to what Printsess charged. I have personally used this service and I am very happy with how my charms turned out. I even received extra charms with my order. Zap Creatives has great customer service as well. You can order printed charms, or cut charms like the ones below. Zap Creatives is also one of the only companies I know who make sticker sheets. (edit) They now offer wood and metal charms as well.
The other route you can go is laser cut acrylic. Laser Cut is cut with a laser obviously, but so are the charms above. However the difference is that Laser Cut acrylic charms are a solid color (whatever color the acrylic is) the details are cut and etched into the acrylic. Examples of this type of charm are below:
Notice that the grey details on the bat are etched with the laser, while the details on the monster are cut all the way through.
A good company I found that makes affordable acrylic charms in small quantities is CutYourWay.com. They have a good selection of colors and styles.
(edit) D. Bowen suggested Ink It Labs as another choice for custom charms. They do both acrylic and wood, and they offer back side printing. Please check them out. They tend to be a little more expensive.
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