What services are there for making custom items?
November 16, 2011 10:04 AM   Subscribe

I love websites that allow me to make my own custom items. What services are there where I can submit an illustration or plans and get my own custom something that I can keep or gift to others?

I'm less looking for something where I can choose a color or a list of options from a menu and more looking for something that allows me to send in an illustration or a design that I've created from scratch to customize a product.

Extra points for anything that you've used yourself and can vouch for.

I've definitely hired artisans to make custom things before (and I'll surely do it again), but I'm looking for something a little less involved and more likely to fit into a busy gift-giving holiday season.

Examples of what I'm looking for:
Custom fabric from Spoonflower
Etched steel iPod covers from Luxe Plates

Things I've made before:
T-shirts, coffee mugs, books, postcards, business cards, stationery, stamps, machine embroidery

Things I fantasize about making my own:
Baby-friendly board-books, puzzles built from 3-D printing, action figures, stained glass, chewable vitamins
posted by Alison to Shopping (10 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
http://www.shapeways.com/ comes to mind...
posted by TrinsicWS at 10:09 AM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Uncommon allows you to upload your own artwork for various types of iPod cases (and it looks like one for the iPad is on the way).
posted by Superplin at 10:15 AM on November 16, 2011

You could probably make puzzles with ponoko.
posted by that girl at 10:18 AM on November 16, 2011

Wouldn't your friends love you as a custom bobblehead?
posted by peagood at 10:24 AM on November 16, 2011

Along the lines of Luxe Plates you already mentioned there's In a Flash Laser which allows for your own custom design on your iphone, kindle, Mac Air, Nook, Xoom, etc

If you aren't looking to personalize the device itself they also engrave cases for those kinds of devices or can put your design on marble block, wood, or aluminum.

They also have options on the site like flash drives and water bottles and do custom orders like laser engraved peanut butter cups and both laser cut and customized christmas ornaments
posted by mztreskiki at 10:57 AM on November 16, 2011

Check out Zazzle. It's along the lines of CafePress but I think they have more options in terms of what items can be customized. I just made the most awesome iPhone cover for myself through them.
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér at 11:34 AM on November 16, 2011

Full disclosure: this is a self link to one of my first sites that I've never gotten around to redesigning. Customize Your Life
posted by Soliloquy at 11:42 AM on November 16, 2011

On their site, Converse lets you design your own sneakers, where different parts of the shoe can be different colors, and you can have the shoes say something by the heel. My husband gave a friend custom-designed ones for Christmas a few years ago, very neat.
posted by ifjuly at 12:10 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I can't think of any specific merchant, but there are a lot of Etsy shops that will make custom jewelry and other handmade things from your design.
posted by radioamy at 2:22 PM on November 16, 2011

This place will make cuff links with children's art in them. I'm sure they could do the same with your own grown-up design. They also make keyrings.
posted by lakeroon at 5:33 PM on November 16, 2011

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