Top Gifts for The Energy Industry – Oil, Gas, Solar Awards and Gifts

To help you find the perfect gift in this season of giving, we’ve assembled a list of the most popular gifts in the energy industry (oil, gas, solar, wind). These gifts reflect an appreciation for the work done every day to keep your business humming, and feeling appreciated is one of the great motivators, making these a win-win. While the gifts below are especially appropriate for the energy industry as safety awards, employee recognition and holiday gifts, customer thank you's and sales person leave behinds, they would be an equally good fit for other industries like construction and other related industries. It goes without saying that we can personalize these gifts using our laser engraving process for a timeless, personal touch.

1. Avalanche 30oz Copper Insulated Tumbler

While oil and gas are the lifeblood of this country, coffee is the lifeblood of the people who extract it, making the trusty thermos a common sight. Those old, stained thermoses will hit the trash when they receive their personalized, Avalanche 30oz Copper Insulated Tumbler, whose sleek stainless steel looks and copper vacuum insulated interior make for a truly top-of-the-line gift. Not to mention, the laser engraving ensures that no one else will take this high-performance tumbler out for a spin after finding it in the company kitchen.  

Engraved Leatherman Tool2 and 3. Leatherman Wingman and USB Rechargeable Triple Output 800 Lumen Flashlight

There are two tools no worker would ever be caught without: (1) their multi-tool and (2) their flashlight. These tools proliferate to such a degree around work-sites that the trick becomes remembering whose is whose. Personalized Flashlight for gifts Laser engraving takes care of that problem. Not only will others see the name and know better, the recipient of the personalized gift won’t want to let such a prized possession out of their sight.  

4. Gerber Paraframe I Knife

Something about knives brings out the little boy in all grown men. No matter how many knives he owns, the gift of a new knife is met with awe and excitement. Especially when it’s a knife as cutting-edge as Gerber’s Paraframe I Knife, whose minimalist design makes for a uniquely lightweight and easy-to-use knife, that just so happens to look damn cool.    

Engraved Flashlight and Knife Gift Set5. Maglite AA & Rescue Knife Gift Set

Can’t choose between the Rechargeable Flashlight and Gerber Paraframe Knife? You don’t necessarily have to, not with this gift set. Another reason knives and flashlights make such great gifts is that the messages that accompany them write themselves:
  • We wanted to shine a light on your good work
  • You keep us a cut above
  • Thanks for brightening our year
  • Here’s to staying as sharp next year
Which Lasting, Personalized Gift will You Give This Year?  
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How to Turn any Font into a Stencil and How to Care for Your Custom Stencil

As custom stencil makers, we at LazerDesigns get asked a lot - How to make a spray paint stencil with fonts that will work? And make a custom stencil with our logo? In this page we aim to answer all your questions related to custom stencils - whether you are using for spray paint, air brush, brush on the same principles in making a custom stencil applies. Any font will work with a custom stencil - as will just about any logo as long as the logo is not too detailed or has too many small intricate details.

What is the best spray paint stencil font?

You can use any font - we will even turn a non-stencil ready font into a stencil approved font for you! Our experienced custom stencil makers will add "bridges" to any text to make it work. We handle all the hard work for you when you have us make your custom stencil. There are some things to consider - if your font is not a stencil ready font, it will have "doughnut holes" that will fall out if it is not turned into a stencil ready font with bridges added. See graphic below to see a visual on how this works when turning your font into a stencil. To make it easier, just choose the STENCIL font when ordering as this is already ready for stencils.

What about my logo, can you make my logo into a custom stencil?

Yes we certainly can! Just email us your logo and we'll take a look to ensure it will work well with a spray paint stencil, and there are not too many small intricate details that will not transfer well. The same principle applies to custom logo stencils as to stencil fonts - doughnut holes will fall out. So our experienced, talented and stencil-passionate custom stencil makers will add bridges to your logo to make sure it will work.   What do I do with all those bridges after I spray paint, brush paint or otherwise paint over my custom stencil? You can touch them up with a small brush, or leave them - it adds to the effect. If you don't want the stencil look, a personalized decal instead of personalized stencil could be in order for you - though these add up fast. Custom stencils are lower cost over dozens, hundreds or thousands of uses, using the same stencil.  

How long will my custom stencil you made for me last?

It depends on how well it is taken care of! This is the most important factor in ensuring a long, useful life of your stencil. To care for your custom stencil, we recommend
  • washing your stencil with warm water, soapy water or paint thinner after each usage to keep paint build up from happening
  • You do not need to make your custom stencil look perfect - just get the build up of paint off, especially around the edges.
  • store custom stencils flat for long term storage or carefully roll it up for short term storage or travel
A durable custom stencil (one without too many tiny tiny parts sticking out to get caught while you clean it or use it) should last dozens of uses at least. Many of our customers use their stencils for hundreds of uses. Any other stencil related questions you'd like to ask our custom stencil makers? Check out our custom stencils, email us or call us - we are here to help. If you are ready to make your custom stencils now, click here to start the process.
How to make letters and logos into a stencil for painting

How to make letters and logos into a stencil for painting, even if not using a stencil font

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Why you should use custom drinkware to promote your brand [infographic]

If you are going to spend your money on a marketing or advertising strategy, you want to know it will have a positive return on investment, right? That's where promotional items come in - Drinkware, wearables, pens, knives, multitools, flashlights - useful items that people keep around for years with your branding on them. (here's the proof) Not all promotional items are created equal though. Where should you put your money? Drinkware is a strong option boasting high usage, super durability, long lasting - The cost per impression comes in under a penny during the lifetime of the product! Waaaay less than a billboard or online advertising! Here's a handy infographic to show the power of branding drinkware. Once you are thirsty for a way to put this to use for your business, browse over to our drinkware category to see high quality options for your logo.  
Why use branded drinkware to promote your brand

The Power of Customized Drinkware in Promoting your Business & Brand

What will you order - mug, bottle, tumbler? For travel, desktop or sports? Click here for more tips on choosing a winning promotional item. Save Save Save
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Tips to Make the Month Before Wedding Easy Breezy

It's the last few weeks before the wedding, lots of activity and lots to check off your list! Don't forget anything use our list to help cover your bases!

Tips to Make the Next Month Easy Breezy

1. Make a List - Check it often, your list is your friend! Don't trust your memory at this stage!

2. Delegate! Even if you have been the primary planner so far, you can delegate making calls, confirming with vendors, transportation, lodging, wrapping favors & gifts, etc.

3. Take care of business - get some of the legal stuff started! Start collecting and filling out forms for drivers license, passport, social security, credit cards. Start working on changing your beneficiaries for investment accounts and insurance plans. If you are moving, get a change of address form from the post office.

4. Get Guest Ready! If hosting out of towners, confirm hotel and transportation arrangements, get gift baskets for hotel rooms (you could delegate this!). And of course, there are always guests who don't RSVP - someone (again, good task to delegate!) can get in touch with them and get an answer out of everyone.

5. Give Caterer Final Head Count, a week to several days before wedding so they have right amount of food! Start divvying up tips into envelopes for vendors to give them on day of wedding.

6. Finalize the seating arrangements! Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, close friends in good groupings (work, college, etc).

7. Get honey moon ready! Confirm travel arrangements, pack (or make a list of what you want to pack if you'll have time after wedding), secure travel documents.

8. Create your Big Day Emergency Kit! Hairspray, pain relievers, antacid, clear nail polish, breath freshener, small sewing kit, safety pins, deodorant, bottles of water (you'll want bottles of water in your getaway car too!)

9. Envision the Day How You Want It to Go! Sit down with fiance, parents and map out the officiants, schedule, jobs for various people in wedding party, etc. Find potential glitches now. Then close your eyes, and imagine the perfect day. What do you say. What do you do.

10. Bonus tip Go for a Date! Many people are so busy preparing for the wedding they forget to spend time together! Go on a date. Have some fun.

Do you have your gifts for the wedding party yet? Don't delay, order today here - gifts for groomsmen, gifts for bridesmaids, gifts for fiance - all personalized in time for your wedding!

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Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

Mr & Mrs Pallet Frame

Mr & Mrs Pallet Frame

Choosing your photographer is one of the most important wedding planning choices you can make! Make it wrong, and you'll regret it forever when you don't have the photos you want. Make it right, and you'll love showing off your photos for decades! Here are some tips on choosing the best wedding photographer (and getting the most for your money) for your wedding!  
Better Together Photo Frame

Better Together Photo Frame

You may not want to go with the photographer at the venue - Sarah (Customer Care at LazerDesigns) went with a venue photographer without vetting them and regrets it to this day! Here's some tips from Sarah:Look at pictures they've done before • Ask for references and call/text/email them • Ask how long until you receive pictures after wedding • Having a 2nd photographer can be fun since they'll get different shots and their own unique style (friend who enjoys photography, or someone just starting out in wedding photography who wants some experience, maybe try a craiglist post "looking for photographer" to see if you can find someone for free or very little cost with the promise of a testimonial) • Tell them what you want in writing - family photos, individual photos, bride & bridesmaids, bride and each individual bridesmaids...etc Any other tips you'd like to share? Post in the comments! At LazerDesigns, we are all about creating lasting memories through lasting, personalized gifts - so we know how important choosing the right wedding photographer is! Don't forget to get your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen gifts ordered this week! Click here to view some of the most popular personalized bridal party gifts. Save
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How to Clean and Maintain Your Bamboo Cutting Board – From a Real Life Mom of 5 Kids

A bamboo cutting board is an excellent kitchen companion in more ways than one. Not only is bamboo an eco-friendly material, it is a sustainable alternative to wood or plastic cutting boards. Bamboo is becoming more popular because it fights bacteria naturally -- and if that isn't a plus, I don't know what is! At Lazer Designs, we get a lot of people asking about the best way to clean and maintain their bamboo boards.  Is it okay to use bleach?  Can you put it in the dishwasher?  We have the answers! Once you have your bamboo board -- or if you're already reaping the benefits of bamboo -- here are some tips on how to maintain the magic.  

What Happens in Real Life:

As a stay-at-home mom of 5 kids 6-years-old and under, I'll tell you what you SHOULD do for best care, and what I sometimes do when the girls hanging on my legs. What Happens in Real Life.  

Preparing and Maintaining Your Bamboo Cutting Board

  • Before using your bamboo cutting board for the first time (I know, it's so hard to wait!), coat it lightly with mineral oil.  This will help seal the board and keep anything from seeping in.
  • Reapply the mineral oil once a month if you only use the board occasionally, or once a week if you use it more often.
  • Apply enough to coat the entire board with a thin coat
  • Apply the mineral oil to the cutting board with a soft cotton cloth--no sandpaper allowed!
  • Once the oil is applied, let the cutting board rest for about 20 minutes.  Then remove excess oil.  Perfecto!
(Mineral oil is recommended because continued use of vegetable or grain based oils can cause the board to become rancid.)  

What Happens in Real Life?

Often I just wash a new cutting board, but I do try and give it a light coat of oil before or after first use. On the boards I didn't do this on, they seem to be fine. The thicker the board, the less likely to warp and crack over time of not being oiled. I often use olive oil or cooking oil since it is already on the counter.  

But where do I find mineral oil?

Head over to your local pharmacy or big box store's pharmacy department and look in the laxatives area. Or buy it on Amazon. Other oils you can use include beeswax and carnauba. See Bamboo Goo on Amazon for a mix of oils.

How often should I oil my board?

Try once a month, though you may find that if you use your board every day and the finish is looking dry, you'll need to increase those oil sessions. We have heard some people say they only do it seasonally (4 times a year), but that means the board really needs it by the time we oil it.

What Happens in Real Life?

Sometimes I have time to oil my cutting board. About as often as I have time to clean my laundry that's piling up in various rooms. I would love to oil my boards every month - in reality, I get to it around every season - 4 times a year. Results? On higher end and thicker boards, like Totally Bamboo boards, I don't see any impact and have had the same board for 8 years. On thinner or non-brand name boards, sometimes they will warp a tad, which usually works itself out (see below) or isn't enough to bother me.  

Cleaning Your Bamboo Cutting Board

  • After you use the board, wash it with a mild detergent and warm water.  Give that bad boy a nice little bubble bath.
  • Wipe the cutting board dry immediately after washing.
  • Do not let liquids pool on the cutting board for more than a few minutes, or they could start to seep in and stain.
  • Do not put your bamboo cutting board in the dishwasher. (unless you have a dishwasher safe cutting board)
  • Do not soak your bamboo cutting board in water or any other liquid.
  • Do not put the cutting board in the microwave, convenient though it may seem.

What Happens in Real Life?

Don't let liquids pool on the cutting board? Hah! You should see the liquids I deal with every day. I know I know, I shouldn't let it sit... sometimes it happens, and if I was cutting strawberries it leaves a nice red mark if I don't wash it right away. I wash with soap once everyone is down for nap. Unless I am down for a nap. Or when I get to the dishes. The strawberry stains don't always come out with that wash, but do on the next 2 or 3 washes next time I use the board. (see below for some tips on getting stains out)  

My cutting board has warped! What do I do?

No worries! It is possible to flatten that once-flat cutting board - just get it wet, place it on a flat surface, and put a heavy pan, pot or large baking dish on top. It should flatten out within a few hours (or up to 8 hours). Some people say to put a wet towel on top of the board (under the baking dish). You may want to oil it again once done, since we just got it wet.

What Happens in Real Life?

I've never had a board warp so bad I couldn't use it - but I have ... encountered.... or caused .... boards to warp by not washing/drying right away. To me, keeping the kiddos happy is more important than an-always-flat-board, and they usually work the warp out over the next week (the cutting boards, not the kids). Solution? Gift or buy a thicker board! 3/4" boards don't warp, just the 1/4" ones. Thicker boards are quite a bit heavier. I still prefer the thinner ones.  

Oops! What if I already got a stain on the board?

Not to fear. Not only are veggie stains not a hazard to our health, but they can be removed to get your bamboo back to its original glow. The solution? Salt! Use a sponge to rub coarse salt over the board, focusing on the stain, then rinse and dry the board. If there is also an odor that goes along with the stain, you can get rid of it with a paste of baking soda and water. Just rub the paste over the board, rinse, and dry!  

Disinfecting/Sanitizing Your Bamboo Cutting Board

It is recommended that you do not use your bamboo cutting board with meat, poultry or fish.  The bamboo is porous and the bacteria from the meat can be absorbed by the board. Can you imagine fish and chicken juices soaking into your cutting board?  Yikes!  So, it's probably better to keep your cutting board on a vegetarian diet. If you do decide to use it for meat anyway, it's best to keep one board specifically for meat, and one for vegetables. You don't want your veggies getting contaminated by meat juice, especially if you're eating the vegetables raw. In any case, you must sanitize the cutting board properly:
  • Sanitize your cutting board if it comes in contact with raw meat--every time, without fail or excuse.
  • To sanitize, use a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide, bleach, or vinegar, according to your state food inspector's recommendations.
  • If you go with the vinegar solution, the recipe is 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water.  After each use for meat, use a sponge to rub the solution into the board.
  • Rinse the board completely after sanitizing, and it will look good as new.

What Happens in Real Life?

I find it easier to use a glass cutting board for cutting my meats so I don't have to worry about the fuss of sanitizing. I focus on sanitizing 4 sets of fingers instead (6 if you count mine and my hubby's).   If you take good care of your cutting board, it will give you a lifetime of rewards in return. If this seems like a lot of work, don't worry about it!  Once you and the bamboo get into a routine, it'll be like second nature.  Plus, taking care of your cutting boards this way will help them last for years and years.

What Happens in Real Life - Summary

I don't see caring for bamboo as that much extra work - as you can see from my notes above. But I do prefer it (lighter, easier to handle, quieter cutting) to the alternatives.

Bottom line that I do with decent results:

  1. Wash it with the other dishes
  2. Let it air dry with other dishes
  3. Oil it once a season.
Happy cooking!  
Now, with all of bamboo's splendid pros in mind, and now that you know how to take care of your purchase, go out and buy yourself and your friends (hint: Awesome wedding gift) a good-lookin' engraved bamboo cutting board and enjoy all the benefits. If you haven't picked one out yet and you're not sure where to start, look no further!  And if you have any more questions about how to maintain your board, we're always happy to help.
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Hydro Flask Test vs. Comparable Bottle with cold water – Are Hydro Flasks worth it?

What keeps your water colder or hotter longer, Hydro Flask, or our very well built and comparable 40oz Titan thermal bottle? Hydro Flask's are awesome bottles, no doubt. Are they worth extra money you are paying for the brand? That might be up to the buyer, but they very well could be. See for yourself in our Hydro Flask test below! Our Titan bottle, with matte black and stainless finish, comes in at $33 for only a few with personalization, down to around $13 at higher quantities, with personalization. Compare that to Hydro Flask, around $35+. We wanted to know how they compared at keeping water cold, so we put them to the test.
hydro flask test

On left: 32oz black Hydro Flask. On right: 40oz Stainless Steel insulated Titan bottle

Filled with: Same amount of cold water Same amount of ice (about 8 ice cubes) Bottle colors: Both BLACK Bottle Size: 32oz Hydro Flask, Titan 40oz Start time: 1:11pm Weather: sunny Outside temperature: 90°F at start, up to 97°F Real Feel temp: 96°F at start, up to 101°F
hydro flask comparison

Hydro Flask Comparison: Both bottles have same amount of cold water and ice at the start of the test. Hydro Flask on top, 40oz Stainless Insulated bottle on bottom

 
40oz Insulated Titan bottle Hydro Flask
Rated at: HOT 6 hours COLD 12 hours Will it sweat? NO Double wall stainless steel insulation Packaging: Heavy duty box, ready to gift or retail Rated at: HOT 6 hours COLD 24 hours Will it sweat? NO Double wall stainless steel insulation Packaging: Bulk in poly bag
So, we left them in the sun for the day. Below are the results! The outsides of the bottles got HOT to the touch in our Colorado sun! Too hot to pick up after 3 hours!
Hydro Flask Compare with engraving

The sun beat down on our black bottles for hours! Here you see them both with custom laser engraving (after all, that's what we do here)

  After 1 hour, no noticeable difference in amount of ice and water was still freezing cold, as expected.
Hydro flask and bottle sitting in the sun

Hydro flask and bottle sitting in the Colorado sun, outside of Denver and Boulder

Hydro Flask with ice in it

After 1 hour, both still have plenty of ice. Hydro Flask on left. 40oz Insulated bottle on right.

 

After 3 hours, the surprising results are in!

 
Hydro Flask and Insulated Bottle after 3 hours

Hydro Flask and Insulated Bottle after 3 hours - Hydro Flask on left, No ice left. Insulated bottle on right, small bits of ice left.

It might be too close to call, Hydro Flask water still cold, Insulated Titan bottle still with small ice cubes in it (hard to see in photo).

What happened after another hour in the 97°F+ sun? (that's 4 hours total)

Both still have cold water, but the Insulated Bottle's was noticeably cooler. The water in the Hydro Flask has already started to warm up a tiny bit.

What happened after 20 hours in the car overnight?

To finish off our comparison, we left both bottles in the car, outside, overnight. Temperatures went from 95°F around 5pm down to 60°F and back up to 70°F for a few hours early morning. Hydro Flask: Luke warm water Insulated 40oz Bottle: Cool

Winner in terms of insulation: Insulated 40oz Bottle

There you have it, an unscientific, real-world comparison of Hydro Flask performance against a low cost, high quality generic bottle. While Hydro Flasks’ may look better, and maybe feel better, insulation is on par with other drinkware. Hopefully this test has helped you decide on which drinkware to purchase for you, your company, team or customers. Did we mention the 40oz Insulated Bottle pricing includes customization? Get it engraved with your logo, wedding party names, or text for a unique, long lasting, high performing gift. Now, there are ways to improve the insulation of your Hydro Flask or other insulated drinkware, such as filling with cold or hot water 10 minutes before you put your drink in it, so get the insulation cooled down/warmed up. This can make a big difference in performance (but who has time for that?). We love Hydro Flasks and all kinds of drinkware here at LazerDesigns, and we engrave thousands of all kinds of bottles (including Yeti, Swell, Hydro Flask, Thermos, Stanley, you name it we’ve engraved it). What have you experienced? Leave a comment below to tell us about it!   Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save
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