Saturday, April 12, 2014

All That Glitters - UPDATED FOR 2014

We're still in the process of packing up to move next week, so I haven't been glittering any shoes lately (and yes, this is hazardous for my mental health). I'm so glad there's only a week or two left standing between me and more sweet, sweet glittering. I have been stocking up on supplies and organizing my stash, so that's keeping me borderline sane.

One of the very first posts I did here was my summary of glitter options available to the casual shoe-glitterer: All That Glitters. A smidge over a year later I have learned a lot, and so I really wanted to do an update of that post. Since I've been reorganizing my stash and don't have any new shoes to post, now seems as good a time as any. Obviously, a lot of personal preference plays into glitter selection, but this is an overview of my relationship with various glitter options:

Some general observations:
- My rule of thumb is still to try and stay under $2/oz and to buy at least an ounce of any given color (though you can blend or mix)
- If you're getting supplies from Michael's, make sure you use coupons. Because I'm terrible at hanging on to actual hard copies of coupons, I go in with a coupon on my smart phone. I get my Michael's coupons online at ( or in my email. I'm signed up for the mailing list so I get a heads up on coupons/sales (like last weekend there was a 20% off entire purchase including sale items; this was a great time to pick over the sale Spring/Easter stuff for butterflies and flower and also a good time to stock up on bottles of 3D puff paint for glettering, which almost never go on sale but are pretty much a waste of a 40% coupon). If you're into that, by all means sign up. The most common coupon is a 40% off, so I've included that in my pricing chart (see below). Whenever we're in the neighborhood, I pop in to use a year round rather than buying all my glitter in one trip means I rarely buy glitter from Michael's at full price: slow and steady wins the race.
- I haven't been to Joann's in forever, but I think if you sign up for their mailing list you get coupons in the mail (this used to be the case, maybe they've gone digital?).

(1) Martha Stewart Glitter - As I've pointed out before, this is the fanciest pants of the glitters and is nice and fine. You can buy it in big multipack (a selection of 0.37 oz tubes) are bigger bottles (see chart). You do usually have to pool or mix the 0.37 oz tubes, it's not quite enough to cover a whole shoe. The multipacks aren't a bad use of a coupon. Some of the iridescent Martha Stewart glitters are somewhat sheer. If you're working with a sheer iridescent glitter (especially pink, yellow, white or orange) you'll probably want to prime your shoe in a similar color of spray paint before glittering, mix some similarly colored opaque paint into your glue, consider some extra coats of glitter, layer these colors over a base coat of more opaque glitter (like so), or some combination of those options. The multipacks are a pretty good price on Amazon compared to Michael's, but the 1.5 oz bottles are way more expensive on Amazon. At my local Michael's, the 1.5 oz bottles are $4.99 or $5.99, depending on the color, so I wouldn't ever buy a bottle of MS glitter without using a coupon.

(2) Recollections - Still one of my favorite options: not too expensive if you use a coupon (especially on one of the larger 5 oz containers) and a nice range of colors that includes a shade of purple that's called "Muse" (love it). It's available at Michael's (I think Recollections might be Michael's store brand?) and comes in rectangular tubes. Product info here. The 1.5 oz tubes are $3.99 at my local Michael's, the 5 oz tubes are $8.99. You get more bang for your coupon buying the larger size, but it's only available in a few colors. I have noticed that the hues aren't totally consistent, so sometimes a particular color looks a little darker/brighter than you remember that color being (I've definitely seen this for "Marine" and "Muse").

(3) Jefferson Variety Crystallina Glitter - I blogged a little about Jefferson Variety in this post. If you've never been and you're into crafts/sparkle/glitter, you should really really go - it's magical. I don't get to go often as I don't live in NOLA, but it's one of my favorite glitter sources. It's utterly unlike anything else I've ever bought, and a really good price ($4.98 for 4 ounces). I have many little cups of it in my stash now. You do want to go wait in the line to have fabric cut even if you're only buying glitter and don't need anything measured, I think that's just their system and will probably result in the least annoyance for all parties concerned. It's become my "tradition" that I get lunch at Crabby Jack's after a pilgrimage to Jefferson Variety...that's not an essential component of the glitter purchasing process, but I nonetheless recommend it.

(4) ArtMinds Extra Fine Glitter - I also get this at Michael's. It comes in neat little 2 oz stackable containers, and is comparable price-wise with Recollection. Product info here. It doesn't come in a ton of colors, but the colors are nice and vivid and there's a shade of green in this line that has a little gold blended into it that I'm in love with. Also (and this isn't in my table, shame on me) my Michael's sells a double stack package of the silver and gold together, so that's a great potential use of a 40% off coupon, especially because those are two incredibly useful colors to glitter with.

(5) Tulip Glitter - I used to use more Tulip because I liked how bright the colors were, but I've realized Tulip's a little pricier because it's machine washable. Since that's not a feature you need in a Muse shoe, I don't think it's worth the increase in price for shoe glittering purposes. Recollections or ArtMinds would be a perfectly reasonable substitute brightness-wise and are cheaper, particularly with a coupon.

(6) Oriental Trading - I blogged about OT glitter in this post, but to summarize Oriental Trading sells packs of 2.5 oz bottles of fine glitter in 4 or 5 bottle sets (including the Fall Glitter assortment, the Springtime Glitter assortment, the Halloween Glitter assortment, and the Bright Glitter assortment). It's about $0.85/ounce (the cheapest option I've ever found), but that's not including shipping costs AND assumes you'll use all the colors in the set. I can tell you from experience that the orange in the Fall and Halloween assortments isn't really very sparkly and since it's not a color I need all that often (perhaps you're more creative than I am with orange), and I haven't been able to use very much of it. I also want to point out that the black in the Halloween assortment isn't as sparkly as the one you'd get from Recollections or ArtMinds, but is fine for a first coat. The green, purple and red glitters are all awesome. Regarding OT glitter, a reader (Melissa Lee) kindly left a comment that reminded me to include a recommendation that y'all sign up for the Oriental Trading mailing list to get announcements of when they have free shipping deals going on (which, in my experience, is pretty often). They also have other craft supplies that I bet would be great for shoe embellishment, though I've only ever bought their glitter.

Here's my new and improved detailed price chart of glitter options. I did the research so you don't have to! The updated version includes a heat map comparing price per ounce (red = more expensive per ounce, green = cheaper by the ounce):

Happy glittering to all, and to all a good night!