I make my own gesso supports, which are 18 mm or 25 mm thick with raised borders, square or arched according to the design. Depending on availability and the demands of the design I use solid poplar wood, hand routed, or top grade birch ply which avoids any risk of warping. The face is gessoed, sides and backs are stained and varnished. All my icons are fitted with a brass d-ring top centre for immediate hanging. Gold leaf is 22 or 23 carat - I use both water gilding (burnished and highly reflective) and oil gilding (semi-matte and more durable) according to the design, often combining the two techniques in one piece. Wherever possible, I use natural earth and mineral pigments, including true vermillion, lapis lazuli, volksonkoite, malachite azurite.
After a suitable drying period, I finish my icons with a light application of archival, semi-matte varnish which does not change the characteristic appearance of the egg tempera, but will protect it from dust and small splashes. However, icons are vulnerable to scratching and should either be wall hung or wrapped in a soft cloth and stored in a drawer.
My icons carry a tiny initial in the bottom righthand corner and a label with my name on the back. For gifts and special occasions I can include a short dedication or Bible verse on the label: please send me the wording by e-mail. I inscribe my icons in English unless otherwise requested.
If your icon is intended for prayer and veneration you may wish your priest to bless it. In the Orthodox tradition it would be placed on the altar during Great Lent.
If you have a question which I have not addressed here, please feel free to get in touch.