First of all I want to start by thanking everyone for the kind words of support we received yesterday. After a trying day on Thursday, it felt good to hear from so many of you and know that we have so many followers and friends that do care and appreciate all that we do. I am not going to allow a couple of people to change the way I do things. We will just move forward from here and what will be, will be.
Now lets change gears and talk about some fun and positive things . . .
On Thursday, I received my rhinestone order from Rhinestone Canada. For me, it was like Christmas came all over again!
I had placed a pretty large order the previous Friday, and I was pleased that it shipped out that same day. I even got a tracking number so I could watch it and see where it was in transit. Since it was coming all the way from British Columbia (the complete other side of the country) the transit time stated it would take nine days. But you can imagine how happy I was when it came after only five business days. It was a nice surprise.
My first order of business was to sort through everything and organize what I had purchased. Last year or so, I had bought a nice organizer from Canadian Tire. It had four separate pull out plastic part organizers that were held together in one unit, which made it easy to stack and store everything in one place. Over the past year, I have been gradually filling it up with small beads and embellishments that I have been using for my designing, I still had one full unit empty though and I thought it would be a great way to store the rhinestones:
Everything fit just perfectly. Since you are able to take out the dividers and make the spaces custom sized, I even had room for the hot fix wand that I got with the stones. Cool.
I had purchased several sizes of each color of stones. The cost of them was really quite inexpensive (About $1 – $2 per gross in the sizes I chose, and even cheaper if I got 5 gross of a certain type) I had an absolute field day choosing which colors I thought I would use most. While a gross (144 pcs) sounds like a lot, in my one ornament pattern alone, I used 120 beads to make all 12 ornaments. It isn’t as much as it seems.
For most of the colors, I tried to get samples in the 2, 3 and 4mm sizes. Since most of the projects that I will be doing are smaller ornaments and such, these small sizes would do fine to start.
As you could see, they come in small bags that fit well into the compartments of the organizer. I decided to divide them by color rather than size and that pretty much filled up the container.
In past projects, and even last week when I applied rhinestones to the painted masks, I found that applying the glue to the tiny pieces was quite tedious. I put a puddle of glue on a palette and then picked up the stone with the tweezers and dipped it into the glue and then placed it on my piece. However, the glue quickly became sticky and as a result it was difficult to dip it into the puddle without getting too much on or having long, thin strings coming from it. Even after the glue dried, I had trouble pulling these strings from the piece and I could see them in the pictures that I took of the items. I also worried because as the glue dried while being on the palette, I wondered how strong the bond would be. I worked as quickly as I could, but I still had to abandon one puddle after a while and make a new one, wasting a great deal of glue in the process. As I said, it was quite tedious.
When I was at the website for buying these rhinestones, I noticed on the “Accessory” page, that they offered a Hot-Fix Applicator Wand to apply the rhinestones that they sold. This intrigued me.
Apparently, all the rhinestones and studs that they sold came pre-glued, and by applying heat to the top of the stone, the heat transferred through the stone to the glue and melted it in place. In asking, I was assured that this glue was quite strong and would even hold these stones to most fabrics such as T-shirts and so forth. I couldn’t wait to see how it worked on gluing them to wood (and painted wood).
The cost of the applicator was only $15.75 and came with 8 interchangeable tips to fit whatever size stone you were working with. I thought that was a good deal and if it worked like it was supposed to, it would save a lot of time and make things much neater and easier.
Each of the tips was marked for easy identification:
You simply screwed the tip in (BEFORE heating the wand!) and after 2 minutes it was hot enough to work.
For the larger stones (the 4mm ones) the curved tips worked great. I simply put the stone where I wanted and placed the tip over the top it. I counted to about 5-8 and I could ‘feel’ the glue melting and the stone would gently slide around if I wanted.
There is a small slit on the side of the tips so that if you have a smaller stone and the glue oozes up, it may stick slightly to the hot tip. You could easily take a pin and slide it through the slit to help the stone release from the end and place it. I found though that when using the right sized tip, this didn’t happen at all and I had no problems whatsoever with excess glue.
I did find that with the 2mm (very tiny) stones, they did want to stick a bit to the 2mm tip, but Linda (the owner of the company) had told me that for the 2mm stones it was easier to use the flat tip and I found absolutely no problem whatsoever doing it that way.
As far as the glue sticking, I am really impressed with the strength of the bond. I had oiled these pieces the night before in mineral oil and after allowing them to set overnight, I sprayed them with 2 coats of spray lacquer. They had been drying for about 3-4 hours before applying the stones here and I was worried that I would be able to ‘pick’ them off.
After applying a few, I tried to pick them off with my nail and I couldn’t do so without a great deal of difficulty and actually damaging my nail a little bit. For tiny stones, the glue is really, really strong.
I am so impressed by applying them this way. There is absolutely no mess and it makes the process quick and FUN! I don’t know how long this method of doing this has been around, but it is new to me and for myself, it opens a whole new way of embellishing my projects.
While natural wood is beautiful, you can’t help but think that on projects such as this, these beautiful crystal stones add to it. You don’t have to go all out crazy like I did (I was having too much fun to stop!) but even if you add a stone or two here or there to some of your ornaments or projects, it will be something different and unique that will bring attention to your pieces and set them apart from the masses.
The cost for doing this is so minimal, too. I probably used about 60 stones on this piece (which was a lot) and they only cost me about 50-60 cents total. They aren’t the cheap plastic stones you fine in Wal-mart, and are all high quality leaded crystal. (They do say wash your hands after handling) I wish you could see just how sparkly and beautiful they look in person!
I am not one to recommend just any product, as you know. But I am so impressed with this company on all sides. The service was incredible. The prices were great. And the products themselves are top-notch. I highly recommend them if you are looking for a place to get these. They ship all over the world, and since the stones are so tiny, the shipping costs are minimal.
Yesterday I placed another rather large order. This time I am trying the Stud Nailheads and Rhinestuds, which are metal studs that are shaped like rhinestones. All of them have this same gluing system and I think they will also have some great applications with my designing.
It is going to be a lot of fun!
It is good to be excited about things again. It was a rough week with my back and all and I am feeling quite a bit better and looking forward to finishing the painted masks that I was supposed to do last weekend.
In the meantime, we did a full site update yesterday and not only is the scrolled mask pattern available, but also some other new patterns from Keith and myself. Keith also did some rearranging and changed some of the colors and layout of the site to make it nicer and easier to navigate. We hope everyone likes it.
I hope you all enjoyed this little review. Whether you decide you want to add some “sparkle” to your projects or not, it is nice to know that there are still great companies around that take care of customers and offer great products and excellent service at fair prices. There is hope yet!
Have a wonderfully creative Saturday! :D
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"