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Tag Archives | Megan Lock

Shimmerz, Blingz, and Spritz and how they compare

Reported by Megan Lock

Here’s a video demonstration of three different glittery media, so you can see them in action!

Now that you’ve seen the video, below is just a quick comparison of what I talked about:

Shimmerz and Blingz
Form: aqueous liquid in plastic pot with twist-on lid
Glitter Factor: very glittery, adds an intense amount of super fine glitteriness to image
Clarity: transparent with tinting of color
Ease of use: easy, just shake before use and use a regular paint brush, minimal clean up
Availability: not at large retailers, seen at some local craft stores.
Cost: $2.79-$3.95

This is a very cool product. It’s very unique and provides endless outlets for your creativity. You can use it on paper, but you can also it on almost all surfaces, metal, wood, fabric, felt, etc. One of my favorite techniques is to shimmer up some flower embellishments. You can also take your scrap paper, cover it with Shimmerz, and punch out different shapes for some beautiful embellishments, too. There are a lot of options with this product!

Also, this company produces Spritz, glittery, shimmery spray that you can spray onto the surface of your project, if you’d prefer to avoid the paintbrush. The spray provides a lot of glitter and shimmer, but it’s a little less dense than your average coating of the Shimmerz. If you like to support American based companies, you’ll be glad to know that these products are made here in the USA.

Pros:

  • use over colored image for REAL sparkle
  • can be used over variety of color mediums (copics, colored pencils, etc.)
  • variety of colors
  • made in the USA

Cons:

  • aqueous-based, use caution when using over water colors, can smear color
  • if used too heavily will cause paper to ripple

Twinkling H2Os
Form: solid cake in plastic pot with twist-on lid
Glitter Factor: mild and variable, more water = less glitter, less water = more glitter
Clarity: variable with quantity of water used, though on average provides deep, rich color with mild sparkle
Ease of use: moderate, requires water coloring skills, need to prep color before use
Availability: not at large retailers, seen at some local craft stores.
Cost: large pots $3.60 each, also available in kits.

Smooches
Form: liquid, about the consistency of nail polish, in plastic bottle with twist-on lid with applicator
Glitter Factor: mild, the silver gives more of a metallic finish than glittery
Clarity: opaque
Ease of use: easy, applicator included, no mess to clean up after use
Availability: not a large retailers, possibly at some local craft stores, though new product so availablity may be limited.
Cost: $4.50

Here are the products in action. I have three cards using each of these products.

This card shows the Twinkling H2Os used as water colors:

Gina K and Verve stamps

I used Shimmerz on Ketto’s dress:

Stamping Bella, Ketto

This close up shows some of the shimmer:



Lastly, I used the Smooches to color in the little dots on the Javabug’s dress and hat:

Stamping Bella, Huggabugs

Shimmerz and Luminarte also produce glitter or shimmer sprays to add more shimmer to your project. How do you use these products? Have your tried all of them? Do you have a favorite?
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Vendor Spotlight: EK Success – Jewelry with Jolees Jewels

Reported by Megan Lock

My experience with EK Success had only been with their fabulous paper punches. They cut well, excellent shapes, and a product that I continually go back to. Then I discovered Jolees Jewels. I spied them in the aisle of a big box store a while back and I knew they were the kind of beads I wanted to use in my jewelry. Sparkly, bright, and reflective is always a good way to go. There are some other useful and enticing products available for a novice to a professional.

To start, I want to focus on some simple projects that anyone could do. These would be particularly interesting for a teenager to try. I would have loved this sort of thing when I was a teenager and I love it now. Easy, simple, and quick.

First, I started with the brown necklace cord that already has the findings on the ends. This saves a lot of guess work for a novice and busy work for the professional. As you can see from this photo, one end has an attached clasp and the other is chain length for an adjustable length necklace. There are three cords to make three necklaces per package.


I made two projects with this cord. The first, is a simple five bead necklace. For this, you must choose wide hole beads. The bead hole must be large enough to go over the connector on the cord. These beads fit perfectly over it. To make this one, thread the five beads, crimp the edge of the finding to secure the leather cord. In other words, I used a pair of pliers (like the ones pictured below) to crimp the metal housing to secure the cord so it would not fall out with use.

This is a set of pliers that EK Success produces. Compared to others I have used, it is fabulous. It is very sturdy, very high quality, and it has a little jewel on the side that is color coded. I really enjoy this feature. This shows me that they are paying attention to the details and I appreciate that! If you’re just starting out, these are wonderful to start with.

I’d also like to say that if you’re new, you’ll also need some bead storage. They make some excellent bead containers that will keep all your pretties safe.


The next project is also very simple. In fact, you don’t need any tools at all. All you have to do is loop your cord over one of the large eye pendents. There are many varieties to choose from.



I wanted to make two more projects for those of you who have done some beading. These are not advanced, but it’s helpful if you’ve had some experience. Here, I’ve used some sterling silver findings and the Jolees crystals. They wouldn’t be perfect, nor would they be the best, if they didn’t sparkle and shine. Let me tell you, these are perfect. They reflect well, they’re faceted evenly, and they are another high quality product.


They are available in a variety of colors and it’s easy to mix and match specific colors, especially if you’re looking to make some custom jewelry. Here is an earring where I used the crystal, some findings, and the pliers to complete.

I love the simple pop of color. I love how it compliments the metal. Simply, I think this is a stylish pair of earrings that can be dressed up or down. Very versatile. They actually coordinate well with my next project.

Here’s the gorgeous metal piece that I linked between chain to create a necklace:


As you can see, there are five holes. Two for the chain and three for embellishment. I used the bicone crystal beads. I staggered the number used in each hole for visual interest.



My favorite thing about this piece is how unique it is. You won’t find anything like this elsewhere and you certainly won’t find it paired with the earrings above.

Overall, my impression of EK Success is very good. I still love their products for the paper crafting world, and now that I know how wonderful all of their Jolees Jewels are, I will certainly be using them also. There is a lot of room to cut corners, and I truly believe they are offering high quality products so YOU can make the most of your creations.

Pros:
  • cool packaging; the clear containers can be used as storage if you don’t have some already
  • high quality tools; I’m still very impressed with the durability and weight of the pliers
  • sparkle; the beads truly are excellent, they do not lack luster or desire
  • price point is comparable, especially considering quality
  • coordinate well with other beads or findings you may have on hand
Cons:
  • you may need to reinforce cording so it doesn’t come apart (this is an easy step)
  • the cording is short, if you’re looking for a longer necklace, you may need to recreate

Have you used Jolees Jewels? Did you like how they sparkled? Do you own any of their tools? Do you bead often? Have you only known EK Success via their paper punches (like me)? Leave us a comment and let us know!

EK Success has generously donated some of the products featured in the weeks reviews to give away to our great readers! Please leave your comments on this article to win a set of the Jolee’s Jewels Specialty Pliers from EK Success. You have until Sunday, October 18 at Midnight to enter.

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Stretch Magic

Reported by Megan Lock

If you’ve ever ventured down the bead aisle at a large craft store or at a local bead shop, you’ve probably seen Stretch Magic.
It’s the stretchy string that allows you to avoid using clasps while making your projects. It’s largely available in two different sizes, 0.5 mm and 1 mm diameter, though if you look a little harder, you can find it in 1.8 mm, 1.5 mm, 1.2 mm, 0.8 mm, and 0.7 mm diameter. I’ve found some black Stretch Magic, but the large majority is clear. There is a kids’ pack that features yellow, red, orange, and blue Stretch Magic string. It retails for $2.49 for a 5 yard spool.
When you make a necklace or bracelet with a metal based string, you usually add a clasp so you can easily wear your piece. With this product, your string is stretchy, so you just stretch it to put it over your hand or your head.
Generally, I only use Stretch Magic for bracelets. In the past, I’ve used it to make chokers, but I find it easier to use a clasp for those projects. This is just my crafting perspective and you may find it works well with chokers. Stretch magic is not useful for longer necklaces, unless you are using light-weight beads. If the beads are too heavy, they become the driving force to stretch the string. Your piece should only stretch while you are putting it on.
This is a video to show you how you put beads on the string and a sampling of some of my bracelets.
Pros:
  • Easy and quick to use-you can have a beautiful and professional piece in a very short amount of time.
  • Versatile, you can use it with whatever beads fit your style.
  • Few tools needed, you only need a crimp bead and a pair of pliers to complete a project.
  • Great for beginners and kids.
Cons:
  • Limited color availability, though you shouldn’t see the Stretch Magic because it should be covered by your beautiful beads.
  • If you stretch it too far or if the string is compromised along the surface, your piece will break and beads will go everywhere. The cleaning people at your work will bring you baggies of beads for months to come, but I don’t know this from experience. 😉
  • Can be difficult to string some beads. The rubber material Stretch Magic is made of can cause some resistance to beads with smaller holes.

Where to buy:
JoAnn.com
ACMoore.com
CreateForLess.com

Have you used Stretch Magic? Love it or hate it? Have something you like better? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!