Nuvo Crystal Drops, the good, the bad & the ugly!
Hey Magpies, it’s September! This month I’ve chosen to talk about Nuvo Crystal Drops. Now I LOVE these things! I am going to tell you some of the bad stuff that I’ve learned about them but none of this has diminished my love of these gorgeous little bottles. I am a massive fan. Now prepare yourself, this is a very photo heavy post…. I’ll try and keep my waffling to a minimum so I don’t break the internet with too many words 😉
I’m gonna start with the bad about Nuvo Crystal Drops. I have read online that people have had problems with them drying but I myself have never had a problem. I have a feeling that maybe air conditioning messes with the drying process but we don’t really need to worry about such things in the UK. I had also read online that people had had bottles explode on them but I never suffered that problem either…… until now!
So they do bite back sometimes. I must admit, I was squeezing the bottle really, really hard. Nothing was coming out, I lost my rag a little bit and squeezed for all I was worth. Well guess what, that nozzle comes off!!! Below shows it all over the sleeve of my top as well as my desk. It did come off. I wiped it off my cutting mat with a baby wipe and rinsed it off my top before it could dry. So take my advice, don’t squeeze really hard!
After that disaster was cleaned up, I looked in my bottle. I realised the top was clogged up, which is why nothing was coming out. This led me to looking at all my bottles and a lot of them were all clogged up. I set about cleaning them all out and was very glad that a couple of my colours that had been really hard to use, were now working perfectly! So if you have bottle that won’t work well, this is how to fix it. First up, try poking a needle down the nozzle from the top cause sometimes that will fix it.
If not, you can take the nozzle off and have a look. Just push the nozzle to the side and it will pop off. Don’t worry, it goes back on easily and doesn’t seem to make the nozzle loose or anything like that, so it’s not going to pop off the next time you use it.
Have a look inside, you’ll know if it’s gunked up, it’ll look something like this.
Some of my bottles the bottle was gunked up, some of them just the nozzle was gunked and sometimes it was both. Sorry this isn’t the best photo of the inside of the nozzle, and now that I’ve cleaned it out, I can’t take another!
I started cleaning out the nozzle with a needle. I just swirled it around and dug out all the gunk. I got it all out and had a swirl around with a baby wipe over the top of the needle. Then I did a good poke up and down the nozzle with the needle and everything was nice and clean.
I started on the bottle next and did a few swirls around the edge with the needle, then I started digging the gunk out.
A few more swirls and digs……
….and the bottle neck is clear.
I assume the ‘gunk’ is just the mixture starting to harden a little bit in the bottle. I looked at how I was storing mine and they are on the windowledge above the radiator, and also, my craft room is in the conservatory so it gets quite warm. I decided storing my bottles upright might be contributing to my problems so I am now storing the bottles upside down. I know this defeats the purpose of the pretty bottles but so far it has stopped me having any gunk problems so it’s worth it. I did have one bottle where the mixture had gone properly hard on top so it made a hard skin on top which I did manage to pull out through the bottle neck after some work with a needle. I didn’t take any photos of that and afterwards I was like damn, I should have! But it fixed the problem and the bottle works fine now.
If you’ve got a bottle of Nuvo Crystal Drops that doesn’t come out very well, is slow or maybe doesn’t come out in a proper blob but is lopsided and maybe makes more of an oval than a dot, give the nozzle a poke with a needle and if that doesn’t work, push the nozzle off and have a look inside. And I recommend storing your bottles upside down, especially when you’ve used some and the level is dropping and that should help stop the top drying out and gunking up.
So yeah, I turned all my bottles around to take that photo at the top of the post, but in reality, my storage looks like this with all my bottles upside down.
So that’s the bad covered. I think the good far outweighs the bad with this product. I used to love enamel dots but I found I never had enough of the colour or size I wanted. The packets always had really massive dots in as well and I never used them, I always wanted the smaller ones and there was never enough in the pack. With Nuvo Crystal Drops you can make as many dots as you want and whatever size you want. If you don’t want to dot straight on to your project you can dot on to greaseproof paper or a non stick craft or baking mat, slide the dots off when they’re dry and then adhere them to your project. The more you dot, the better at it you will get.
Here’s a quick look at the swatches I’ve made for my Nuvos. I did 3 dots on the edge of an offcut of white and black cardstock and then wrote the name beside. This way I can hold the dots up to my projects and see what colour I need to use. It’s really handy, especially when deciding exactly which shade goes the best. I did find that the new jewel colours don’t work on the black cardstock at all!
I would love to tell you exactly how to do a line of dots and I thought about doing a video but I’m not very good at that kind of stuff (and then I’d have to talk and you guys would all laugh at my silly Kiwi accent!). There are lots of videos on YouTube with tips and tricks. The tips I can give you is not to touch the nozzle to the paper when you’re dotting because that will make the dot drop in the middle and not be a nice dome. The way I make it work for me is I do a few practice dots on scrap paper first, that gets the Nuvo flowing properly and gets rid of any air or watery stuff that may come out first as well. Then I just dot, and for some reason I find that counting helps me keep a nice rhythm going and keeps my dots the same size. People have said to me that my dots always look so perfect but seriously, they’re not. I will tell you all my mistakes on the following LO’s but I do find that when you’ve done a line of dots, the mistakes aren’t that obvious when you’re looking at the LO overall.
My first LO has basic lines of Nuvo Crystal Drops, my favourite way to use them. I’ve created a border with a striped paper and then strips of washi tape. I never used to like washi tape very much but creating borders with it is so easy so I’m liking it much more lately! The papers I’ve used come from the new Maggie Holmes collection, Carousel, I used the 6×8″ Paper Pad. I’ve made a border of dots using the Jewel Nuvo Drops, these dots are so pretty, they’re transparent.
Here’s some close ups to show the details, here you can see how pretty the dots are.
And another one, I think my bow was from a really old pack from Studio Calico.
You can see one of my dodgy dots in this close up, the left hand black and yellow dots have joined up.
Next up is the same thing, just lines of Nuvos. I used papers from the 6×6″ Paper pad from the new Shimelle, Glitter Girl collection this time. A border from washi tape again and some lines of Nuvo Crystal Drops.
My next LO took me about 30 minutes to do, such a simple design! I used 3 photos arranged in a grid and I did have a piece of patterned paper in the 4th spot but my title just wouldn’t show up against the pattern, so I tried a million other papers from various paper pads and nothing worked, so pattern free it was! My title is from the new Amy Tangerine, Hustle & Heart Thickers and then I’ve done a frame drawn with white pen and done a border of Nuvo Crystal Drops. I decided to stop there and no go overboard with embellishments.
Next was a real test! I wanted to make a pattern with dots and an arrow seemed easiest so I started. This is arrow two-point-oh and it’s definitely not perfect but I had put so much time in to it, I was using it! You can see at the bottom, just to the left of the middle, one of the yellow dots is well dodgy. The dot there just would not play ball and I wiped a few away and had to cover things up with a white pen. Also, right of centre I had problems with the dark blue and green dots joining together and I tried to fix that with a white pen too. By that stage I was really like OMG, this is going to work!!!! So you can make patterns with the dots but I found it was much better to let things dry between colours or else they start to join up way too easily. My dots are pretty close together so it’s not surprising that they start to join. I don’t think the problems are too obvious when you’re looking at the LO overall.
Here’s the LO. I used the Work Hard Paper from Shimelle’s new line and then I based my colours of Nuvo Crystal Drops to that. After I’d done my arrow of dots, I didn’t think I needed much else so I just used a MAMBI Sticker as my title and some little word stickers to finish off.
Here’s a close-up for the details…
I tried something very different, for me, this time. I knew I wanted to make some circle designs, I had been practicing them on the cardstock my yellow bottle exploded over! So I started my LO by making a border with some striped paper, then I layered up some washi tapes and did some Nuvo Dots as well. Then I layered up some papers from the Shimelle, Glitter Girl 6×6″ Paper Pad. At the bottom was the 6×6″ version of the Get Messy Paper. So then I decided to copy the designs on the paper with Nuvo Crystal Drops. So I did some circles of Nuvos, along with some circles of dots.
Here’s some close-ups to show you. My Carnation Pink circles weren’t as successful as the others, they all fell in the middle for some reason?
I dotted around some MAMBI Stickers and other smaller dots of Nuvo too.
Last LO and this time I’ve just dotted some Nuvo Crystal Drops around the LO this time. I created a paint background with the Illustrated Faith acrylic paints and a credit card. Then I layered up some papers under my photo and added a couple of doilies as well.
Here’s some close-ups of the dots, I love that I can do whatever size and colour I want. The hard part is making yourself stop!
There you go, my take on Nuvo Crystal Drops. I know there’s a lot to read here, I’m sorry, I waffle a lot! I do love this product a LOT! A border of dots is one of my favourite ways to start a LO these days. And a line of dots above or below (or both) the photo is just grand!
My quick tips for Nuvo Crystal Drops:
* Store the bottles upside down
* Clean out the nozzle if you’re having problems
* Remove the nozzle and check there’s no gunk inside the neck
* Do a few practice dots on scrap before you start dotting on your project
* If you’re doing dots close together, give some drying time between dots to make sure they don’t join up
See you next month Magpies!