What is the difference between grades of paint?

Hi friends!  Today I have a video about the differences between grades of artist paint. I will be referring to watercolor because subtle differences are more apparent in watercolor (and I am the most knowledgeable about that kind of paint) but it will apply to acrylic, oils and other paints/pencils/crayons/pastels too! Have a watch (or listen, you can totally let this play while you paint or cook dinner or whatever else you need to do:)


Below is an overview of what I discussed in the video along with some recommendations that would be easy to find. There are other wonderful paints out there and I have lots of watercolor reviews on my blog and YouTube channel if you need more information. Watercolor comes in several different grades. You will find pans, tubes and liquid watercolor in all of the grades of paint.

Children’s grade watercolor paint: These are non toxic watercolors that schoolchildren are given to use. The are what a lot of people think of when they hear “watercolor.” Everyone has used these in some point of their childhood. Quality varies greatly in children’s watercolor sets from $1 versions of weak chalky paint to $3-$5 for an 8 color set of Crayola, Rose Art or Prang. I prefer Prang watercolors as they are the most saturated and you can purchase refill pans of colors in strips or individually.

Budget grade watercolor: This segment of the market has grown immensely over the past few years with decent budget brands manufactured in China and Korea showing up all over Amazon for crazy low prices. I also consider craft watercolors like Prima, American Crafts/Jane Davenport and Amy Tangerine in this category. This category offers paints that are “cheap and cheerful” and encourage play and experimentation as they are not too expensive to worry about wasting. The downside is that usually the budget lines of watercolor do not offer lightfastness of pigment information and if they do it can be hard to trust the information from a new company. Also these pant usually can’t be purchased open stock (but the Prima and Jane Davenport paints have replacement pans.) These paints will have lots of fillers and extenders and cheap dye colorants (usually) to make the quantity of paint for the price. My favorite budget watercolor pan set is this one called “Pretty Excellent” ($17 for 36 pans)  Other good tube sets are JoiArt ($10 for 24 tubes) and Royal & Langnickle. Royal & Langnickle makes awesome brushes and this $24 set has a large assortment of paints and Aqualon brushes. A new to the scene company Arteza has watercolor tubes with lightfast info (but their pan sets do not.) I have been using them a lot lately because I feel I was a bit harsh in my review and I must admit I am enjoying them more!

Student Grade watercolors: These are the introductory paint from companies who also make professional/artist grade watercolors. These paint offer reliable pigment and light-fast information. To reduce the costs they may use alternatives to pricey pigments like cadmium and cobalt they have additional fillers and extenders to bulk them out. The benefit to student grade colors is that you can start with an assortment set and them replace the colors as you use them up with paints from that companies artist grade line so you only end up buying what you will actually use and saving money in the long run. You can also buy student grade colors individually so you can choose exactly the colors you want and not be stuck with ones you wont use. Most big box art and craft stores will have displays to buy them open stock and all big online art suppliers sell them for about $3 a tube. Usually in student grade paints all colors will cost the same. Buying is sets cost less per color so compare before buying. My picks from this category are:
Cotman by Windsor & Newton
La PetiteAquarelle by Sennelier
Grumbacher Academy
And Van Gogh by Royal Talens

Artist grade (aka Professional) watercolors *Note there are no laws to keep any company from calling their paint artist quality, in fact you see that a lot with the budget brands so do your research before buying. Artists watercolors contain high quality pigments and just enough binder, humectant (A moisturizer agent typically honey or glycerin) and extenders to optimize the pigment and make it optimal for painting. Paints are available in tubes or pans and you will find a greater variety of colors in a companies artist range. Prices vary between color depending on how expensive the pigments used are, earth tones tend to be cheaper and cobalt and cadmium are more expensive. Typically there will be 5 price levels or series of colors. Paints can also be purchased in sets with pan sets being the most popular and my preference because you get the paints and a palette that you can refill. Artist quality watercolors do cost more per tube BUT in all reality you are paying for the pigment and you get a lot more pigment in tubes of artist quality paint where as student paint is more dilute. If you like to glaze many layers artist quality paint is best because it is the most pigmented and transparent. I recommend the same companies I do for student grade as they are easy to obtain worldwide but there are other nice paints out here.
Windsor & Newton Professional
Sennelier
Rembrandt by Royal Talens
Grumbacher finest

***And my favorite watercolor M Graham but I hasten to mention it because they do not carry a student line and I do not know if you can get them outside of the USA. I also like DaVinci and Daniel Smith (but also have no student range and I am not sure if you can get DaVinci outside of the US)…really, there are so many excellent ones!

I also wanted to mention my favorite watercolor brushes, Creative Mark Mimik faux squirrel brushes, this set is a fabulous value and I am considering buying a second set so I can have one upstairs at my paint table and down in my studio  LOL!

I hope this post was helpful and til next time happy crafting!

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How to create a rainbow blend with inexpensive markers (water based or alcohol!)

Hi friends! Today I have a video that is part review and part tutorial. I have a couple of sets of markers to review but I also wanted to make the video a useful tutorial on blending. Also I was curious about what kind or marker was quicker to color with. I also wanted to try to achieve the same look with different kids of markers to see how they did.  If you are ready for all of that high-speed marker action buckle up and let’s go!

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There is lots of info in this post, let’s start off with the video:

Supplies: (Affiliate links used. Products provided for review)

Review of the Arrtx Alcohol Markers

pros:

  • Price: 80 color for under $34
  • Color selection
  • Blends well
  • Dual tip (chisel & Bullet)
  • Beautiful & sturdy carring case
  • Colors are very juicy, no dry ones.
  • Easy to tell the chisel and bullet ends because they have square and round color chips respectively. Color chips are pretty accurate but I still recommend swatching.
  • Attractive matte white square barrel (non-roll)

Cons:

  • No brush tip
  • No colorless blender in set
  • caps may be difficult to remove if you have arthritis
  • Caps do not post (you can’t stick the cap on the end of the marker to hold it when coloring)
  • As with most low-priced markers there is no open stock option (although they use the same numbering system as Concept at Jerry’s Artarma so you could get a replacement color if you needed too, it would look different tho)
  • Non refillable
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Card made with the butterfly colored with the Arrtx Alcohol markers. Time spent colring the butterfly: 11 minutes, 30 seconds

These markers are beautiful to look at and color nicely. They remind me of the quality of Ohuhu and they even use the same color number system. Many of the lower priced markers available now are using the same numbering system, I reckon it is because all of the inks are being made in the same factory in China. I have not seen this marker barrel style anywhere before and honestly I really like have the two distinct ends because I can quickly uncap the nib I need whereas with Copics and other markers I often get the wrong end even with the gray band they have for identifying. This saves me time and I like that. Below you will find my color chart for the set of 80 Arrtx alcohol markers.

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Here are the colors I used (in order of appearance) to blend the alcohol marker butterfly: 13, 14, 16, 18, 22, 23, 33, 35, 37, 48, 49, 59, 58, 68, 67, 147, 76  *If you have other markers that use the same color number system great! Use what you have OR use the swatch chart to figure out what colors to use from your stash. If you want to order this set you can here.

Review of Arrtx Watercolor Real Brush Pens 48 color set

Pros:

  • Great color selection
  • Low price (even among other budget priced watercolor marker pens)
  • Caps post (you can stick the marker cap on the end while coloring so you don’t lose it)
  • All colors have a number on the end for identification
  • Includes a reusable plastic carring case

Cons:

  • Non refillable and no open stock options
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Card made with the butterfly colored with the Arrtx real brush pen water based markers. Time spent coloring the butterfly: 6 minutes, 50 seconds

These markers performed well as I would expect. I did have an issue with the plastic color coming off one of the pens but I was able to reassemble it and stick it back into place and I could feel some of the innards of the brush pens moving around so it doesn’t feel as good quality as the Zig Real Brush pens but they are less than half the price. The ink flowed smoothly, like other real brush pens I have used. These are on-par with the Arteza real brush pens but about $10 cheaper. If you already have those, or any other real brush pens, I don’t think these will be very different but if you are looking to try some they are a nice value. Below you will find my swatch of this set:

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These are the markers I used on the watercolor butterfly in order of appearance: 18, 5, 4, 3, 27, 226, 28, 25, 125, 36, 238, 7. Feel free to use the swatch as a reference for matching the colors to what you have or if you want to buy this set you can here.

Review of TouchNew Skintone marker set of 24

Pros:

  • Great selection of earth/skin/hair tones which are often lacking in marker sets.
  • Price (under $17 for 24 markers)
  • Dual tipped
  • Cloth carry bag included
  • Comes with a colorless blender

Cons:

  • No brush nib
  • Bullet tips were dry on a couple of my markers
  • Caps do not post
  • No open stock or refills (but you can order Concept markers from Jerry’s to replace a color)

These markers use the same numbering system as the Arrtx alcohol markers as well as other budget brands. The marker style is the same as the original Ohuhu markers who recently changed to an oval barrel that seems to keep the marker fresher as I had a few of the old style Ohuhu pens go dry prematurely.) I recommend storing them on their sides so the bullet tip doesn’t dry out and having denatured alcohol (or Copic blending solution) on hand in case you need to refresh them.  If you need a set of skintone markers to fill in your set these are a good value but I’d check the color numbers to make sure they are not all duplicates to what you have if you already own markers with the same numbering system. Also because one of the marker is a colorless blender you are really only getting 23 colors. I wish these had brush tips though it is so much easier to blend with a brush tip and you want to be able to get really smooth skin and tones. To be honest tho, if you already had a set of 80 or higher of the Arrtx or Ohuhu alcohol markers I think I would pass on these are there are duplicates and consider investing in a couple of Copic brush tip skin tone markers as you need them because in this instance I think it would be more enjoyable and cheaper long-term to get a refillable marker that performs better. If you have a smaller set of assorted markers this 24 set would go a long way to fill in gaps. It really boils down to what you already have for markers and how much you intend to use them.

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I hope you found this helpful and if you have markers I hope you try creating a rainbow blend. It is a great technique for learning to blend and it’s fun too! Or practice blending colors in general and write down your successful recipes so you can duplicate them later. The truth of truths with markers (especial alcohol markers) is that is takes practice and there is a learning curve to them so don’t jump from brand to brand thinking that one is going to make you a superstar. In fact it could harm your progress as you get used to one kind and then when you try another it’s like relearning because it is a bit juicier or the nib is harder or softer. You have to put in the time. Speaking of time wasn’t it interesting how much quicker the water based markers were to color with? I really wanted to do the comparison because I was curious but also to share that if you are not into spending lots of time coloring you might prefer a waterbased marker. Well, this post is long enough, have a great night and til next time happy crafting!

Comparison Between Pan Pastels, Jane Davenport Palette Pastels and Eye Shadow

Hi friends, Have you ever wondered how these similar supplies compare? Well so did I am today I put them to the test side by side and the results were pretty surprising!

Each media will present advantages and disadvantages depending on what your needs are and what you want to paint but coverage and application wise they all preformed about the same!

Let’s look at each product on its own

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Pan Pastels

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Pros:

  • Large pans of color
  • Brightest pure (saturated) colors available
  • Pigment numb
  • rs listed on pans
  • Lightfast
  • 94 colors available (including metallics and mediums) and each color can be purchased individually
  • You can mix colors on the sponge before bringing it to your paper

Cons:

  • Price: Each color costs $5-$7 each open stock, less per pans in sets
  • They take up a lot of space on your table

Jane Davenport Palette Pastels

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Pros:

  • Come in 18 color sets for $20 (often on sale and can be purchased with a coupon at Micheal’s)
  • The colors fall between the painting and tint sets of pan pastels and can be used with them to expand the range.
  • There are 4 sets available and they all lock together saving space on your work table.
  • Best for portrait work due to color assortment.

Cons:

  • No open stock option so if you use a color you need a new set to replace it.
  • Small pans could be used up quickly if you really like them.
  • Colors are not as saturated as pan pastels so getting deep darks may be difficult if only using these pastels. I think given the size of the palette and the color range these would be best as a final layer over another medium like acrylic, gouache or watercolor.
  • No lightfast or pigment info so I wouldn’t trust them for work to sell

Cheap Eyeshadow

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Pros:

  • Cheapest, I found a 120 color assortment of brights, pastels and neutrals for $12 on Amazon (the set I used was an ELF set for Target I paid $14 for years ago)
  • Coverage was similar to JD pastels and pan pastels so you can see if you like it before investing in the pricier options
  • Compact, takes up less space on your table

Cons:

  • Tiny pans that will use up quickly and no open stock option
  • No lightfast or pigment info so I wouldn’t trust them for work to sell

 

Bottom Line: My advice is to try out one of the cheaper options with the Pan Pastel applicators to see if you like them and then proceed with pan pastels if you find you need more media. The 20 color sets (or 80 color set if you can swing it ) is the lowest price per pan option if you find you like it. They are a wonderful mess free option to stick pastels.

I hope you found this useful and til next time happy crafting!

Metallic Watercolor Showdown! Comparing lots of brands!

Hi friends! After I posted a review of Paul Rubens metallic watercolor last week I got a lot of questions about how they compare to other brands I have used in the past. Rather than rely on my faulty memories or biases between brands I might have in my head I decided to swatch them all out and really see how they compare under the same conditions. The info is in this video

Since I felt the info in the video was a bit hard to digest I posted photos as well. Here are the sets in order of appearance with affiliate links used if I have them.

Paul Rubens Metallic set of 24 $50 These were my favorite for color selection, quality and packaging however they were one of the pricier brands and the small half pans can be hard to use a large brush with.

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Hobby Lobby / Prima $10-$24 per set of 12-24 colors. These paints combined quality and value. The large pans made it easy to work up a lot of paint and the colors with rich, creamy and opaque. Some of the colors looked similar on black but all-in-all a solid value!

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Twinkling H20s ($3-$4 each or $14-$30 a set of 6 depending on size of pot)  ***These prices vary widely as does availability of the product. You might need to scrounge around on etsy or ebay to find deals if it is something you are really interested in. I did not pay this much for the colors I have, I got them in sets on clearance years ago. They are a bit too rich for my blood now. These are best for white paper as they do contain vivid, bright transparent color but they have a harder time standing out on black. These are best when you want glitter and color on white paper.

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Ken Oliver liquid metallic inks in bottles $23 set of 6 or $4.50 each. These liquid metallic watercolors can be used fully concentrated and thinned down. since they are inky you can do some fun techniques that may be more difficult with a solid color, you can brayer to color on a paper and drag tools through it of press a stamp and twist to create cool shimmering patterns.

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Jack Richardson large pan watercolor $4 per pan These were OK, they are very similar to other colors in sets. This would be a good option if you only need one color for a large project so you don’t want to buy a set with colors you won’t use.

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Schminke Aqua Bronze: (these retail for around $20-$30 but amazon has them for $54 each! they are a bit hard to find unfortunately, I did find a great selection at Jackson Art in the UK for $9.23 each and they ship worldwide) I think this is an interesting product and probably the most reflective of all of the ones I reviewed today. I suspect this product is a lot cheaper in Europe where it is made. I like mixing this in wet washes in watercolor paintings when you want a strong shock of metallic color. This is best to mix up as needed and not dried in pans. It can look like gold leaf when applied in a smooth coat.

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Blick liquid watercolor $3.87 per color, 6 colors available Also available by Sargent Art on Amazon in a set. This is fun to mix with watercolor as paint or to make your own metallic shimmer sprays with.  A versatile product that is a good value!

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Komorebi (8 metallics in a set of 40 watercolors) $36 (was $24 but Amazon increased the price on this set) you can get just metallics in larger pans too. Consider the 40 color set with 8 metallics if you want a nice student quality paint with a nice variety of standard, neon and metallic shades. The regular colors are nice for the price and the metallics are great!

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***(best value) NIJI set of 16-21 colors $2.60- $3.90 a set. These offer a great variety and decent quality. They are very opaque on dark but they are not as reflective as the Paul Rubens set and you don’t get as much in a pan. Even though they are a bit chalky they still pack a punch and would be the perfect product for the occasional user.

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Prima Shimmering Lights $20. Personally I am disappointed in this set. I found the colors pretty chalky and they were ho-hum on black. The vintage palette may appeal to some users though and they would add a subtle shimmer when mixed with other paints.  I think there are many better options that are more versatile. Maybe they are right for you?

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Homemade metallics from LA color Eyeshadow (tutorial) These were fun and cheap to make and are pretty decent, plus if you have a dollar tree or family dollar around (or shimmer eyeshadow at home you don’t want) they are easy to obtain!

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Handmade watercolor from pigments from Xanadu Art Studio (tutorial). I think these were some of the most opaque and colorful metallic watercolors in the bunch (of course I might be biased since I made them LOL!) so if you are up for a project you might want to give it a try. They won’t be cheap to make tho as the pigments can be pricey!

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Turner tube metallic watercolors $6 for 15ml.  These were not my favorite but if you prefer a tube paint they might be right for you. They offer a subtle color and shine when added to watercolor paintings.

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Yarka full pan watercolors: $3.45 per pan. These paints are available in 6 shades of gold, silver and copper and are very opaque and glitzy on black. They will fit in a standard watercolor tin so you can mix them with the colors you have for more variety.

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Well, there you have it! There are other sets on the market and if you have one of them and are happy with it then use it. Otherwise I hope this comparison helps you find the paint that meets your needs for a price you are comfortable with. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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Can Reviews Really Be Unbiased?

Hi friends! I was listening to a TED talk a couple of months ago and the presenter was talking about how food can taste better when we are on vacation or having a good time. He said you can order the same food or take home a bottle of wine that you enjoyed on vacation but it just doesn’t taste as good as it did when you first tried it. It seems that the mood we are in when we are trying something for the first time can heavily influence how good we perceive it to be. I think we can perceive art supplies to be good or poor depending on our mood as well. That is just one of the ways we can be biased in our product reviews. I will go more into that as well as other ways product reviews might be biased in today’s video!

So we discussed unintentional bias as well as intentional bias or I should say a conflict of interest but there’s more…

Another reason that I didn’t mention in the video is the rise and popularity of hate/rant videos. Honestly it didn’t even cross my mind when I recorded this because I don’t think it’s fun or funny to destroy someone’s business for clicks, views and entertainment but unfortunately many on YouTube do. Titles like “I hate these paints” or “this product’s is a rip-off” or “I got scammed”  get lots of views. Often I see reviewers try a product knowing full well that they are not going to like it just so they can rant and rave about it or they try a complex product for the first time on camera and get frustrated and deem the product worthless. I read comments like “I’m so glad I didn’t spend the money on that!” or “I was going to buy that but not now” and if the product truly is bad that’s fine but more often than not the reviewer has not taken the time to learn about it. These “salty” reviews are so popular and I don’t think the youtubers making them think about the consequences of their actions. I think honesty is the best policy and if there are problems with a product let people know but only after making sure you are using it correctly.

There have been times where I have had a company ask me to try a product and see what I think and when I noticed a problem with it they changed the product and improved it. If I was to rant online about what I didn’t like a fledgling company could go under and we would never see how a good idea could flourish into a great one.

Unfortunately honesty and integrity doesn’t always get the views. It’s not as fun to listen to facts as it is to see someone get all wound up. This makes me sad. On the bright side there are still many talented artists on YouTube that do very unbiased reviews: Steve from The Mind of Watercolor, Marty from Owings Art, Denise from In Liquid Color, Teoh from Parka Blogs and so many more! I say this because I want to be sure you can ascertain whether a reviewer has been serious about testing a product and reviewing it or has a different agenda. The rise of the “drama channel” has infiltrated the art world and lots of people enjoy those videos. Just think about facts vs entertainment. I try to do both but not at the expense of the education and information I am trying to convey.  Nobody can be completely unbiased when we all have preferences and opinions as well as fluctuating moods when trying out products but we can avoid being willfully misleading. I love to watch reviews, I love learning about new products and seeing if what I have already is similar to the new thing on the market. I actually look for reviews on products I own to get excited about using them again!

Why do you watch reviews?  Information, entertainment or both? I think as long as you take them with a grain of salt and maybe look at the past reviews of a person before trusting them completely (so many drama-rant channels) you can figure out what’s what. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

2 Reviews for the price of 1! Let’s look at beautiful Paul Rubens watercolor paint!

Howdy friends! I recently received the Paul Rubens (named for the painter, not PeeWee Herman LOL!) standard and glitter watercolors sets of 24 half pans and I was going to put them all together in the same video but realized that it would be very long so I have separated them. This post conains affilate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I may earn a small comission at no additional cost to you, thank you.

First up let’s look at the regular watercolors:

This set of Paul Rubens watercolors were sent to me for free by LightWish on Amazon and they sell for $38.99  *Note a set of 12 is also offered for $25.99 in similar packaging.

Pros:

  • Beautiful artist grade colors that all unique making a useful palette
  • Pigment info is provided and most colors are single pigment and use tried and true pigments
  • The packaging is high-end and beautiful (perfect for gift giving)
  • The paints rewet well and have a smooth and consistent application
  • Good price for artist grade

Cons:

  • The pink packaging may not appeal to all customers

Bottom line:
These a beautiful high quality paint and the high-end packaging and reusable palette make it a beautiful gift or a craft room staple HOWEVER I think the Pretty Excellent paints are just as good if not more transparent and vivid and you get 36 for $20 in the pretty excellent set vs 24 for $39 in the Paul Rubens palette. They don’t disclose the pigment info in the pretty excellent set but many of the colors looked identical but that could be that the cheaper colors were in that set while the more expensive colors were in the PR set. The packaging obviously is more high-end and expensive and I think that accounts for the price difference.

As for the Paul Rubens 100% cotton watercolor paper it is fantastic, as good as Arches for half the price.

Now on to the glitter watercolors!

This set of Paul Rubens glitter watercolors were sent to me for free by LightWish on Amazon and they sell for $49.99. *Note a set of 12 is also offered for $29.99 in similar packaging.

Pros:

  • Beautiful colors that are quite opaque, all colors are unique from one another and they show up on black and white cardstock.
  • The packaging is high-end and beautiful (perfect for gift giving)
  • The paints rewet well and have a smooth and consistent application
  • The glitter colors offer a gorgeous sparkle and there metallics give an opaque luster, there is a good assortment of each.
  • Color are arranged in a palette so you can access them all at once (rather than having to uncap small jars like twinkling H2Os) and since the case is not air tight I don’t think moulding will be an issue but I’d still let them dry out fully before putting them away.

Cons:

  • The pink packaging may not appeal to all customers
  • At nearly $50 they are a bit pricey
  • Small pans may prove difficult if you are trying to work up a lot of paint with a large brush.

I promised a viewer that I would swatch out my Twinkling H2Os that I mentioned in the video and post it to my blog but then I also got asked about the NIJI metallic watercolors that I had recommended in the past so I ended up swatching out EVERY metallic watercolor I had (which is an obscene amount of paint to be honest) and I made a new video, a metallic watercolor showdown if you will, comparing all of them. That blog post and video will come out next week and I will have photos of all the swatches on white and black paper as well as price info so you can see what is worth the money for the type of work you do. It was a really interesting experiment because I was sure my twinkling H2Os would come out on top but that was not the case and a very cheap set was really worth it’s salt! Even as someone who reviews a lot of products and tries to be completely unbiased it is funny to see how faulty our memory can be about products and how we can be wrong about quality unless things are swatched side by side in the same conditions. Anyhow, that video is filmed and will come out next week so be sure to come back and check that out and if you want to make sure you don’t miss it subscribe to my blog (there is a button in the upper left hand side of this page.)

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Here is a photo in the misdst of my scientific swatching, glamerous, huh?

Bottom line:
These Paul Rubens Glitter Watercolors are a beautiful high quality paint (just like the standard watercolors) and the high-end packaging and reusable palette make it a beautiful gift or a craft room staple if you want to add glimmer to many projects. It might be a bit much (expense) for an occasional user who just want a bit of bling from time to time. For occasional users the Prima metallic watercolors (the round pans I showed) may be more suitable and budget friendly. Where the colors are not quite as nice the effect is pretty darn close so if you are looking for metallic watercolor choose the kind that suits you best. You can find the standard prima ones here and the pastels here for about half the price in less impressive plastic packaging (however the large pans are easier to work the paint from in my opinion. That said, quality wise -and I can say this will full confidence after swatching out my entire collection of metallic watercolors today- the Paul Rubens metallic watercolors are the highest quality metallic watercolor paint I have ever used. They are the most pigmented, the colors look unique from one another on black and white paper and there is enough color to them to shimmer with color on both papers. Also the variety of pearl and glitter colors in the set is great, not a color is wasted or too samey. As a consumer you need to consider whether these subtle improvements in quality are worth the increased price tag. I recommend you keep an eye out for my comparison of metallic watercolors coming soon! Happy crafting!

Do you hate cutting intricate dies?

Hi friends! The other day I was wandering through a big box craft store and saw a die cutting accessories that piqued my interest. It claimed that it would help intricate dies cut cleanly. I decided to give it a try because it if solved the issue that my 12-year-old Big Shot has with cutting theses kinds of dies it would be totally worth the price!

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Today I am reviewing the Chrome Precision Base Plate from Sizzix. It is designed to apply a bit more pressure and bite to lacy intricate dies so you can cut them easily and cleanly with fewer passes in the die cutter. See how it works in the video below.

Supplies featured in the video (affiliate links used)

Things to consider before investing in a chrome precision base plate:

  • This works the same as the old precision base plate so you don’t need to replace it unless it is worn out/warped. The Chrome version purportedly never needs to be replaced.
  • Use this with the tabbed platform and not with the magnetic platform as I did because the pressure could break the magnets (advice from a viewer)
  • Once you use a die with this cutting plate you will need to continue to use it with this plate as it slightly dulls the blade so it will forever need the bite of the chrome plate to cut. This is not a big deal if you plan on keeping the die, but if you plan to sell it you might not want to use it with this plate. That said etched dies like these wafer thin dies cut more with pressure than sharpness so I don’t know if this is really a big concern. If you can’t get a die to cut properly in the first place it is a risk worth taking for me, but I would not cut dies on it that you don’t need to such as basic shapes.
  • I have also heard from a viewer that this can warp your dies but they will still cut fine. I did not have this problem but it might be because my machine is on the loose side.

For me the Sizzix Chrome Precision Base Plate was totally worth the money. I have shied away from using intricate dies after having such a hard time cutting the beautiful Cheery Lynn doily die I bought many years ago but now I can enjoy that die as well as others! Maybe it will be helpful to you as well. Happy crafting!

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