Zippo is great. Free repairs (not counting shipping), customization, and awesome legacy.
When it comes to customizing your lighter, however, Zippo is very restrictive: you may only fit a certain size parameter, you cannot engrave the sides, and uploading image designs cost a whopping $15.
Custom engraving companies are willing to engrave your Zippo lighter... for a $10 minimum and about $2 a word. Restrictions also apply.
Having more time than I have money, I decided to engrave my Zippo lighter by myself.
This is the first time I EVER engraved something, and I got pretty satisfying results: You can do this too!
Here's an instruction video I made for a different lighter for a friend; essentially the same steps I took to make this Zippo lighter, except with more shortcuts (for lazy people):
Step 1: Materials
Step 2: Generating ideas
I can't really help you get an idea.
I have two pictures of what I wanted my lighter to look like when it was finished.
But once you have that idea you need to format it to fit your lighter. You may need to play around with the font size and print out multiple copies of your design to match sizes with your lighter.
Attached is a copy of the final font an size I used for my lighter. (If you don't have the font download Bebas Neue).
This step is a lot of guesswork and no real measurement. The only measurement used in this step was the ruler in Microsoft word, and the dimensions of the lighter (1.5 x 0.5 x 2.25).
Keep printing until you have the right size. I recommend you use scrap paper ;)
I heard that Photoshop had this measurement feature, so if you know what to do and you prefer doing that, go ahead! I still recommend you to match up before you finalize the stencil.