Friday, November 16, 2018

Shop Around: Diamond Dotz

Welcome to the very first "Shop Around" post. In these posts, I'll discuss some of the stores you can purchase diamond paintings from, and share pros, cons, and tips on the sellers and their products.

Diamond Dotz is a diamond painting brand available from Michaels craft stores, and other retailers around the world. A sister brand, "Diamond Art by Leisure Arts, powered by Diamond Dotz" (try saying that five times fast,) has also started popping up in other stores, including Walmart, Hobby Lobby, and A.C. Moore. This makes Diamond Dotz/Diamond Art an ideal choice for anyone who is brand new to diamond painting and wants to try it out, but is wary of ordering something online that they know little about or simply doesn't want to wait several weeks to receive their first kit.

My first diamond painting, Starry Night by Diamond Dotz

Diamond Dotz also makes for a positive first diamond painting experience because the quality of their kits is excellent. The canvases are thick and silky, and come neatly rolled in a sturdy box so that there's no worry about folds or creases. The diamonds are vibrantly colored and very sparkly, and they are quite uniform in size with little to no "junk" (excess bits of resin or poorly-shaped diamonds). Each kit also comes with everything you need to get started: a helpful set of instructions (in 10 languages!), basic drill pen with a soft grip, small tray, and pink wax-- which comes in a nice little screw-top container to prevent drying out. Michaels stores also now carry separate "accessory packs" in case you lose your pen, wax and/or tray or need extras for whatever reason.

The Diamond Dotz display at my local Michaels

The biggest downside to Diamond Dotz is a lack of choices. Each Michaels store only carries a couple dozen designs at a time at most, and each design comes in only one size. The majority of the kits are partials, and all of them use round diamonds only-- no squares. 

That said, this downside can actually be a benefit, especially for beginners. The stress of choosing a design from thousands of options, trying to decide on the best size, and picking between round or square drills is removed. With just a few options to choose from, a newbie can more easily find one that they like and get started without having to worry over whether they made the right choice on size, drill type, seller, and more. And while many diamond painters come to prefer squares drills once they've experienced both types, rounds tend to be easier and can be a nice way to ease yourself into the craft.

So, if you've just learned about diamond painting and you're anxious to try it out and see if it's a hobby you'll enjoy, I highly recommend heading to your local Michaels (or one of the other stores mentioned above) and seeing what they have to offer. But beware: You might get hooked!

A Few Tips

  • The most important tip: You should never pay full price for anything at Michaels! Check their website for coupons or sign up for their app (and rewards program) so you'll always have coupons on hand. Even if Diamond Dotz kits happen to be on sale, they often have coupons that will give you an extra 20 to 30 percent off even sale items. And don't forget that they accept competitors' coupons as well, so it's wise to check what coupons JoAnn, Hobby Lobby, and other craft stores have available before you go shopping.

  • If you have trouble finding the Diamond Dotz kits in your Michaels store, don't give up! Sometimes they're tucked away in an odd part of the store that you might not notice. Don't hesitate to ask an associate for help.

  • As I mentioned above, most Diamond Dotz kits are partials, but they do carry a few full-drill kits. You can tell whether a kit is full or partial by looking at the side of the box. There will be a small picture labeled "Diamond Area". That will show you which part of the finished product will be covered with diamonds.
    A partial-drill Diamond Dotz (left) vs. a full-drill (right)

  • Diamond Dotz canvases come covered with a clear plastic sheet instead of the waxy paper more commonly used on canvases from other sellers. Many diamond painters dislike this type of covering, as it can be difficult to fold out of the way when working on a section. If you find that it bothers you, you can remove it and replace it with parchment paper. (It is not recommended to leave your canvas uncovered when you're not working on it, as dust and debris will begin to collect on the sticky surface.) Parchment squares are particularly nice to use, as you can remove them one at a time to work on an individual section, instead of having to cut or fold paper out of the way.

  • Be aware that unlike many diamond painting manufacturers, Diamond Dotz does not use DMC numbers to label its drills.  These kits tend to have plenty of extra drills left over, but they may need to be stored separately from your DMC-numbered drills unless you want to take the time to match their colors to a DMC chart.

  • Keep an eye out for new designs as holidays approach. So far, there have been Halloween designs (including one that had glow-in-the-dark diamonds!) and now Christmas-themed ones have come out as well. I would expect to see some Easter designs in a few months, and possibly even Fourth of July after that.

  • Michaels also now carries small Diamond Dotz kits to make magnets, stickers and bracelets. These would be a perfect way to introduce young children to the craft, with a project that's not too overwhelming and a cute end product they'll love.
  • Magnets, stickers, bracelets, and accessory packs

  • And finally, the second most important tip: Have fun!

Have you purchased a Diamond Dotz or Diamond Art kit? What did you think of it? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

New Poll for November & Other News

We have a new poll up for November: What is your favorite type of subject for diamond painting designs? Personally, I gravitate toward wildlife designs, but there are so many others that I like as well. If you have a hard time choosing too, no worries! On this poll, you can choose multiple options!

What type of diamond painting design is your favorite? (You may choose more than one.)

Domestic Animals
Wild Animals
Pop Culture
Famous Artwork (Van Gogh, DaVinci, etc.)
Please Specify:
Created with PollMaker

If you're curious, the results of the last poll, asking which type of drill you prefer, are:

Square: 64%

Round: 14%

Both: 21%

Special-Shape: 0%

Very interesting! I am not surprised that square diamonds easily come out on top. They tend to create a fuller and more detailed looking picture, and personally I find them more satisfying to work with, if more challenging than rounds. That said, lately I've been seeing a lot more people saying they prefer round diamonds, perhaps partly because some people have been having more than usual problems with square diamonds popping up after being placed. 

Speaking of which, that problem-- and a way to deal with it-- was addressed by Renee Lee Dean during the live diamond painting party last Saturday, along with a host of other topics. If you missed it, click on the link above to check it out for lots of helpful hints.

Finally, you may notice this post looks a little different from those before it. When I held my giveaway a couple months ago, one of the ways you could earn an entry was by voting on whether the font size of the blog should stay or be enlarged. Well, the vote came out pretty even, and I figured making the font bigger wouldn't hurt those of us who were fine with the smaller font, and would help those who were struggling with it, so here we are! I welcome your feedback, but unless everyone absolutely hates it, I'll probably be going back some time and editing earlier posts to be in this larger font as well so that all can read more easily.

That's all for now. Enjoy your diamond painting, and look for more posts soon!