Over the years I've accumulated several piercings (eye-brow, snakebites, septum, industrial) and gotten rid of them mostly due to boredom. I stuck with piercings because they're cheap, or at least in comparison to tattoos. Last spring break however I found myself craving a mod and my piercings just weren't cutting it. I didn't however have money enough for anything else. Sitting there it dawned on me that I could attempt a self brand. I had always wanted one and therefore set out to research techniques and facts. A few days later I had decided the location and design <spiral just under my sternum>.
I decided upon the spiral for several reasons. 1. I've always liked spirals aesthetically. 2. It seemed like an easy enough design to accomplish myself without much error. 3. And finally, a spiral on the chest so perfectly seemed to represent a focus of energy, spirit and karma. (I normally dont reveal that third factor to others because it's slightly cheesy.)
The big problem was figuring out how I would make the shape. After many failed designs (and a big waste of coat hangers) I found myself at an arts and crafts store looking for a pre spiraled piece of metal. Knowing how small the chances of finding that were I wasn't disappointed when I couldn't find anything.
At this point im walking out and stumble upon a section dedicated to cookie cutters. My eyes fell upon a duckling shaped mold made up aluminum with a rounded belly and decided I would take it. At home a took a pair of wire cutters and cut the rounded belly of the duckling mold into about 8 pieces of differing widths and angle. At this point I had decided on a striking approach obviously.
A few days later me and my best friend sat in my garage with a candle, a lighter and the pieces of metal. I drew the design on myself looking in the mirror using a black magic marker (a few centimeters off to one side now that I look at it) and returned to the garage to start. We compared the metal pieces to the design to see which fit, heated said piece by holding it with plyers over a candle and lighter and poked. The process repeated for almost 2 hours.
Some parts were more lightly charred than others so we returned and restruck those. Anyone who would like to brand themselves should head this warning first, "if you want an even brand you need a steady strike!!!! always make sure the first press holds still and never lift and repress do to a twitch of pain." In my case these mistake resulted in some segments of the brand which are wider than the rest.
The healed brand will normally widen to be at least 4 times the width of the initial burn and it most definitely happened in my case. As far as pain is concerned, don't even worry about it. If you really want it done the pain shouldn't phase you. Plus the popping sound resulting from the rapid expansion of the skin due to the heat is pretty cool lol. The initial burn feels pretty intense but quickly fades and really never comes back. Aside from the itching during the healing process i forgot most of the time that i even had a brand sitting under my shirt. Sitting in an open garage, smoking like a chimney to calm myself down, i didn't have an opportunity to catch a wiff of the burning skin but a hear it's quite unpleasant (so i wouldnt recomend doing it inside a closed room).
About a week after the actual branding the scab changed from charred and blackened (which I don't think was normal) to an off yellow. Although this looks infected it is normal. A few weeks after that it had already stretched and coated itself in a regular scab. I washed using antibacterial soap two to three times a day. They say you should pick any scabs; I couldn't help myself and did so anyways. Bad idea. It resulted in uneven scarring tissue and color.
My friend liked the way it looked and so had me brand a happy face on his ass two or three months later. Its memories we'll carry and only rightfully regret.
All in all I love my brand though. Not only because it didn't come out half bad but because I did it myself. There's a little bit more pride there. If you who are reading is considering it, I wont try to persuade you in any direction; just make sure you research whatever it is you would like thoroughly and I recommend you have a friend or two present to help out. And if at all possible get it done proffesionally!!!!!! It's always going to come out ten times better that way.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 23 Sept. 2008