Using a branding iron can be a fun and crafty way to label art and spread your company’s brand and story. However, the downside of branding irons is that they can definitely be dangerous if not handled correctly. The specific requirements may vary depending on your unique situation, but some of the safety tips apply with any branding iron use. Here are five important tips that you should not ignore, and here’s why they matter:
1. Mind the Heat: This one may seem obvious, but a branding iron can heat up pretty easily and some users will get more sloppy with handling as they gain more experience. Depending on the type of iron you use- either electric or torch- the heating method will be different, but the iron will still get hot and burn you if you are not careful. Always employ the recommended safety measures for your specific iron and know what to do in case of an accident. A carelessly handled branding iron can cause a second-degree burn and result in a trip to the emergency room- and leave a potential scar. The rule of caution also applies to your material as some things will need more heat and others will require less. Remember that a warming or cooling branding iron is still a hot iron and you should handle it with care until you are absolutely certain that it is safe to touch bare handed.
2. Know What You Are Branding: This isn’t only safe, but also extremely practical. A branding iron can be used on a variety of items including wood, leather, paper and even food. Depending on what you would like to brand, you may need a specific type of iron and a specific design. For instance, you will need a simpler design when branding most food items because you will lose the intricacies of the brand. You should also take care not to apply too much heat when branding paper or certain plastics- as this may destroy the item. If you aren’t sure whether you can brand a material, you should do a bit of research before you invest money into buying and creating the brand. You should also make sure that you are using the best methods for your material. For instance, an electrical iron is better, though more expensive, if you need to do a lot of repeat branding such as for wood or clothing
3. Clear Your Work Area: When doing any kind of craft, you should have a clean, well ventilated work area free from children, pets and distraction. This is especially important with branding because you don’t want to accidentally burn surrounding items. Many people choose to have a dedicated area for branding in a warehouse, basement or garage, but you can also set up a space in your kitchen or another room in the house- so long as there is a good air flow. Setting up in a room tends to be much easier with an electrical branding iron since you will not need a large fire source for heating. Clear and clean your area on a regular basis to ensure that it is free from dust, dander, hair and other unwanted items that may roast producing undesirable odors. Keeping your work area organized will help streamline the branding process and help you avoid unnecessary stress and distractions. You should also always make sure that you keep your branding iron out of reach of children- even if it is not hot. Branding irons are not toys but the designs may be appealing to youngsters- which may lead to potential accidents. Most animals will avoid a hot object, but may cause mischief around your work area leading to potential distractions and clutter.
4. Stand or Cradle with Care: You should always have a stand or cradle where you can leave your brand while it is warming up and cooling down. Never allow a hot, or warming, branding iron to stand face down on any surface. Not only will you damage your work area- once the brand heats up, it will begin to burn into the surface where it is standing- and you will also be risking a serious fire hazard. Letting the branding iron warm on the intended branding surface may sound like a good shortcut, but you are more likely to ruin the brand and cause a fire hazard than get a good brand. The location of your stand or cradle is also important. Make sure to choose a spot that is easily visible to avoid accidentally knocking into and damaging your branding iron or accidentally burning yourself. The stand or cradle should be out of reach of any children or mischievous animals, and should be the right size to securely hold your iron.
5. Read the Instructions: This seems obvious, but all of us are guilty of getting something new, eagerly unwrapping our new toy, and carelessly tossing the instruction manual aside as we start to play and experiment. This is especially true for branders who already have experience and don’t feel the need to read through the basics another time. But because technology and methods are constantly changing, something that has worked before may not work again. You always want to be aware of the new iron’s safety features, requirements and capabilities. Yes, this includes reading the entire potentially long and boring booklet of instructions that comes with your new branding iron. But, that’s better than causing yourself potential injury or damaging your new iron. Whether you are just starting out, or consider yourself an expert, the instruction manual is worth the read.
A lot of these tips are simply good common sense safety practices, but unfortunately, over time, many people tend to get a bit sloppy when it comes to basics and that is how accidents can occur. Instead of slacking off, it is important to try and stay vigilant to help avoid potential accidents, ruined brands or even fire.