Cold Branding with Ritz Kracker

Based out of San Antonio, we have seen him at many conventions vending whips and things of the like but today we are sitting down with Ritz Kracker of RK whips and talking about Cold Branding. Ritz, himself was introduced to this branding form about 6 years ago from a friend in Florida. He spent a considerable amount of time studying the skill and the science behind it before starting to do this type of branding and now considers himself a “3rd generation” cold brander. If he is set-up for the cold brands he says it takes about 5 minutes from start to finish and states “doing cold branding feels like I’m Voldemort. I get to put the dark mark on you.”

So clearly our first question was “what is cold branding?”

Cold branding started in the 70’s as a way to mark livestock that was less painful to them. It is a process of using a metal form that is placed in a freezing liquid made by dry ice and alcohol or by using liquid nitrogen and then placing against the skin for a certain amount of time. It was described as “at first, there isn’t really anything but cold; followed by a tingling “asleep” sensation; then a mild burn type feeling.  The duration of the brand is based on the usage of dry ice vs. liquid nitrogen, placement, genetic makeup, how hard the brand is pressed, and type of metal the brand is made of. For example: a Tin-type metal will retain the cold better and thus leave a longer lasting brand.

He will not do the cold brands where skin will touch skin (example: testicles or vagina because the skin will fold over onto itself.”  He does not rank it high on a pain scale as it is more of just an irritant but it can take up to 5 or 6 weeks to heal a harder brand. If it becomes a blister, you should not pop the blister and continue care as if it were a normal blister. Cold branding could potentially be a spiritual experience but a lot of people use it as a cool temporary body mod. In cold branding, if you are not quick with your reactions then topping may not be a good idea for you as you have to be quick to notice in case there is condensation pooling from the stencil. Otherwise the brand can go bad and be muddled. You have to take time, learn how the skin moves, and how tight the skin is. In Heat Branding, it breaks the skin so it does have to be handled a different way. In a heat brand you have to leave a break in your design so the skin does not fall off. Another bit of useful information is that POC or heavier melanin individuals should be aware that they could potentially lose pigmentation in that location and also if done over a tattoo it will scar the tattoo.

We do want you to be aware that reading this article, in no way teaches you to do Cold Branding. However, Ritz does invite those who are interested to contact him on Fetlife  or email him at to learn or experience it.

Ritz Kracker (he/him)

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