U.S. Art Supply’s 40″ Professional Quality Mat Cutter

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U.S. Art Supply has single-handedly re-awoken my crafty nature. From painting to framing, airbrushing and more, the only thing I needed to have done professionally was my matting. No more, because U.S. Art Supply has made a mat cutter that puts the one I saw being used at Joanne’s to shame.

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With solid, strong aluminum hinged guide rails and aluminum mat channels (with 2 production stops) mounted securely to a solid, heavy premium MDF backer, it’s build like a tank and designed for heavy-duty use for years and years and years. There’s also a fold-able 27″ 90 degree 27″ squaring arm to keep things even and straight, and you get both straight and beveled cutting heads that use a simple razor blade to cut, so keeping a fresh, sharp blade in there is a breeze and the cost is minimal. It’s so simple to use that I can’t imagine I ever having paid someone to do this for me. Quick, sharp, precise cuts every time, and perfectly square too. And I love that I can set the bevel I want and not just have flat edges. The unit comes mostly assembled, so the box is huge, and even though I saw that it’s a 40″ unit I was still in awe of the sheer size of the system. You’ll need an extremely long counter or table to operate it on, and thankfully it has non-marring feet on the bottom as well.

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Gone for me are the days of hoarding framing discount coupons for my art projects, because with U.S. Art Supply’s Professional-Quality 40″ Mat cutter, I’ll never need to rely on someone else to cut mats for me, or pay an exorbitant or ridiculous price for pre-cut mats. after a few projects, this mat cutter pays for itself, and with U.S. Art Supply you’re also getting top-notch customer service, soup to nuts. They only want 100% satisfied customers, and always go above and beyond to get you there. I recommend this product highly!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from US Art Supply. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Rorabacks “Premium” 45mm Rotary Cutter

Since rediscovering my “crafty” nature, I’ve found there’s a world of tools and accessories that passed me by in the many moons that I was away. One of them, that has become nigh indispensable, is my Rotary cutter. And anyone who’s come to rely on a tool knows, you can never have too many of them lying around for the if/when one fails. I’m please to say the Rorabacks cutter should do nicely for most folks.

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Made from injection-molded plastic, with a rubberized “no-slip” grip, the Rorabacks cutter fit nicely in my hand, and the ergonomics felt good. The blade release slide was placed well, and can be reached easily without having to constantly adjust one’s grip. It’s large enough to get a sure hole on, but no so large to cause had fatigue with long or large products. The standard 45mm blade is sharp and cuts almost everything I threw at it with just one pass. The blade also has a coating of titanium (though it lacked the usual tell-tale gold-ish tint that most titanium coated blades have) should help with edge retention and keep the cutter sharp. It also accepts the plethora of “notched” 45mm blades for replacements. The price is decent (I not the lowest) for the quality and Rorabacks has a “replacement or refund” offer of indeterminate length, so they should stand behind their products.

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There’s a few caveats here, though. The blade has a fair amount of “wobble”, which could lead to losing your line on precise cuts, and anyone who’s worked with rotary cutters knows, once it wanders off that line, running it back can lead to disaster. Next is the blade cover. While the blade safely and securely retracts back to avoid any accidents, I tend to put a thin coat of machine oil on my blade when it will stored for a prolonged period of time (Thanks to Hubby’s almost obsessive oiling of his tools, it rubbed off on me). Putting the cover on is a great way to keep the oil from staining things in my craft box. But putting the cover on and off means your fingers come in contact with the cutting edge of the blade to seat the cover properly, and that can lead to cuts. Lastly, and it’s a common grip of mine, is that the Rorabacks Rotary Cutter is more expensive that the industry-leading Fiskars. Like them or hate them, they set the bar here (and elsewhere) for quality and reputation. and while it’s only a dollar or so, I can’t understand why you would be charging more than the one everyone knows and loves to get your foot in the door? And everyone knows every Fiskars product is guaranteed for life, no problems or questions asked. I can’t see ever recommending Rorabacks over Fiskers for those reasons alone. It’s a good tool and functions well but for the reasons stated above I would rank this item about a 3 & 1/2 star, rounded up to 4 because you can’t give 1/2’s on Amazon.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Rorabacks. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Blissful Lotus: Lotus Flower Incense Burner and Votive Tea Light Candle Holder #Review #LotusIncenseBurner

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When it comes to candles and decor, I am always seeking something unique that adds both beauty but usefulness too. A double-duty item!

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Blissful Lotus offers a lotus flower shaped incense burner, which is cast from plastic (poly-resin) and hand painted. The lotus center has holes, which would hold the incense sticks. You can also use the holder as a tea candle/votive holder, so it has several different uses.

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Verdict:
The item came nicely wrapped and in a white colored box. Upon opening the box, the first detail I noticed, was that the bottom of the lotus has a painted flower too (almost like a brand emblem) however the glaze/coating used to protect the paint, was only applied about 3/4 of the way. You can actually notice the brush stroke and color change, since a clear coating tends to give that “wet look” when the sealant is applied. Yes, it’s the bottom of the holder, however this also means as you move it, use it and/or place it in different rooms, the paint will begin to flake off the plastic and leaving black colored flakes behind. It’s the small details that only took one more second when the sealant was applied. Next, comes the holes, which represent the center of the lotus flower. Some are bigger in circumference and depth. This means my incense sticks do not rest properly in some and only at a slant in others, while some holes are just too small. This limits how many holes I can use because of how the uniform shaped incense sticks rest in the uniformed holes! Some of the holes look like the form used when the plastic was injected, had debris and you get that look of clumping when casting (old material mixed with the new injected one). Yes, the item is plastic and a small drop will not break it, however I don’t plan to be careless and especially with an item that most times will have a slow burning incense stick or candle going. Last but not the least, the paint job. When the original image does not represent the care the final piece was made with. Okay, if the product retailed for $4.99 or something, not okay when it retails for $13.99! Yes, a plastic flower that really the only thing it has going for it is weight, meaning no worry of tipping if you are even are able to use 1/2 the holes with incense sticks that are a little fatter than usual but that is about it. Real wood or glass items cost less and some of the wood ones even come with brass metal details…….it’s hard for me to just tell you buy it, it’s cute. I will be drilling the holes to at least have a matching size so my sticks rest evenly too, and then painting it. Again, a craft project where the items costs almost $14 is not something I can push even with the positive spin I am sharing here because I dislike just throwing something away if I can save it.

Connect with Blissful Lotus and they sell just this one item, at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Blissful Lotus. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

US Art Supply: Large easy to carry, Art Supplies and Storage Wooden Box, with removable Drawer #Review #USArtSupply

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I started in 2015 getting back in to doing crafts at home and that means I needed to replenish my art supplies. This meant letting go of dried out paints from the early 2000’s and buying everything from new acrylics, water colors, oils, pastels and you name it. I have built a large collection and I figured a clear plastic storage box would do the trick. I then outgrew the box. Bought a second box and when I outgrew that, I noticed that my plastic boxes really did not satisfy me in how it kept things, to the point sometimes I avoided getting something out to not mess with how the box was sorted. It was time to think of a better solution.

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I have reviewed for US Art Supply in the past because it’s a crafter and artist dream store. You think of a project and you simply visit their warehouse store on-line to see what you need. No gimmicks when it comes to what they carry and every set or item comes with details attached, so you know what is included before you place an order. Then comes the quality of their products……phenomenal and economical. Two words, which I love. I love to save but I also want good quality, something that is sometimes sacrificed by the budget you wish to keep but US Art Supply does not make me feel guilty for trying to save. They actually encourage it! They post deals all the time and I found that when I open my craft boxes and trunks, I see their logo on everything I own. I like that because I am finally where I want to be when it comes to the supplies I have. An idea hits me and I finally have the supplies to make that idea come true. No limits or constraints…..or waiting to save to be able to afford doing a project.

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When US Art Supply offered to send their large storage wooden box, for storing art supplies and crafts, well I did not pass it up. When I ordered the box on Amazon, it was an artist’s dream. You have a wooden shelf that is removable, so you can easily access the items underneath and/or have them right next to you when you are drawing or painting. Everything I have from the metal objects I collect to the paper goods, and even frame hanging materials……well, it’s small in size. I can’t use plastic baggies for everything and being able to label one box as my “metal objects” carrier and another for my fabric, like ribbons to left-over material from past projects, keeps everything dust-free and also ready to use. I don’t throw anything out that can be re-purposed. Even the smallest fabric cutting has served me well in the past, so I keep until I need it again. The wooden box is what I call “naked wood”, so it’s a project in itself if you wish. I will be staining mine and then using a Damascus style stencil to add more beauty to the box. A project is always easy when you have a good beginning and this box is built well and made of wood. No plastic! Just real wood that if taken care of will last for years and years. You have a handle for easy carrying versus my plastic totes that tended to pop open when a finger accidentally poked up and lifted the lid while I was carrying them. None of that here! You have real metal locks (latches) that snap close and keep everything in place. Nothing was overlooked here. Even the bottom of the box has been used wisely. You have sections, a total of 7, which are divided on the bottom. You can keep everything from jumbling when storing or carrying easily. The removable shelf I mentioned also has a divider, which makes it 2 sections that fits brushes to color pencils, and keeps them from rolling everywhere when stored. I love this box and I love that even though it’s a light weight wood, the cost is fair!  You can make this box into anything you want from storing make-up to even making it look like a mini trunk by removing the handle.  The possibilities are endless!

 

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Retail Price Point: $26.96 via Amazon and if you have Amazon Prime, the shipping is free.  The box measures 16.1 x 8.6 x 6.4 inches.

US Art Supply has a large array of wooden boxes, again if the one above does not enlighten you, well they have others that will. I told you they thought of everything for artists and even an artist needs a way to keep their tools and materials in place, so find the storage solution that fits your needs by visiting US Art supply below.  I have been using their boxes to keep my sewing materials, so it does not matter what your art is, they have a supply solution that will meet your needs!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from US Art Supply. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Eunectes Watercolor Paint Set with Travel case, Palette & Brushes


I’ve been wanting to try a watercolor set of paints ever since I rediscovered my “crafty” side, and have been holding out for a decent set at a fair price that would meet my, admittedly limited right now, needs. Eunectes happened along and offered me a chance to try and review their set, so I saw it as kismet and said “You bet!”

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And I’m extremely glad I did. So far, this is a very high quality set with bright, rich, vivid colors that have extremely high pigments that absolutely ensure that whatever you paint is coated in a luscious wash of color. With 24 colors available in this set, there’s nary a color combination you can imagine that you cannot produce. These Eunectes watercolors come up off the block easily and spread evenly for uniform coverage and saturation of color. The color blocks are first ground to fine powder and are “made from the best available pigments and gums” and are non-toxic, with conformance to ASTM D-4236 and EN71-3 standards.  The included travel box ensures that you can store or transport your watercolors safely with no right of hihgly pigmented dust staining the floor or furniture, and the set even comes with a white mixing base paint, and plastic mixing palette, and a starter set of brushes so you’re good to go and start creating the moment your Eunectes Watercolor set arrives!

A quick note, Amazon did it’s usual atrocious packing job and a few of my watercolor blocks were cracked, as well as a rainbow of paint dust from jostling during shipping covered everything. Should you have the misfortune of getting Amazon’s ubiquitous “Stupid Shipping Gang” treatment of your set as well, be sure you thoroughly wipe everything down beforehand with a damp cloth, because these are extremely high pigments and will very vividly stain almost anything it comes in contact with, possibly permanently. Overall I’m thrilled with the quality of this Eunectes Watercolor set, and I highly recommend this set for beginners and experienced painters alike.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Eunectes. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

U.S. Art Supply’s Wooden Artist’s Brush & Tool Box

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To say that I’m a fan of U.S. Art Supply would be a gross understatement. Everything they make is quality, affordable, and they provide everything that a professional artist, or a weekend art warrior like me, could ever want or need. And it’s all just a click or two away. And then they go and offer me this amazing Wooden Artist Tool and Brush Box and make me fall in love with them all over again.

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Hubby, bless his heart, has fully embraced my rediscovered crafty-ness. He’s bought me brushes, pencils, pens, paints, and tools, and I was just about out of places to stash them all. He even donated his old plastic art supply box from high school, but it was woefully under-equipped to handle my supplies. And you could probably imagine the “decorations” a bored 13-year old might doodle on there in art class. So it didn’t exactly look stunning in my little craft closet. Thankfully, U.S. Art Supply’s Wooden Artist’s Tool & Brush box looks so spiffy, I don’t think I want to hide it away in the closet anymore! With 4 separate easily-accessible sections, 3 of which are accessible from right outside the box, you have plenty of room to store all your supplies but also keep them within easy reach! The top hatches slide open, the bottom drawer is generous, and the compartments that are under the top hatches are deep enough to hold just about anything! Made of 100% solid wood, no particle board or verneers, and with wonderful craftsmanship, it’s built to last for years and look awesome doing it. The leather-wrapped handle on top is really a gorgeous accent as well, and the brass fittings and hardware are a nice touch.

My first box was slightly damaged from shipping and the bottom drawer was permanently, hopelessly stuck. Not to worry, U.S. Art Supply’s staff is so courteous and helpful they had a new one out and in my hands in a matter of days. No muss, no fuss. I love U.S. Art Supply’s products and service, and this Artist’s Brush and Tool Storage Box is a winner!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from U.S. Art Supply. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

RichCraft Products Premium Burlap Roll with No-Fray Edges

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I’ve been crafting with burlap now for about a year, and if there was one thing that really chapped my bottom, it was the fraying edges of most standard burlap. It’s messy, it’s nearly impossible to mend a straight edge to it, and consequently keeping straight lines on projects was a futile effort. And then RichCraft came along and offered me their Premium Burlap “Table Runner” roll with “No Fray” edges. It’s like the clouds parting on a cloudy day and feeling the sun shine on your face.

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RichCraft uses a tightly-knit, super premium natural burlap fabric that isn’t patchy and full of holes, but retains that rustic charm inherent to burlap fabric. But they went the extra mile and sewed over the edges to insure you don’t have little bits and strings sticking out all over the place, which had become my number one complaint working with burlap. The texture is uniform, unlike most industrial or low-grade burlap, and you get 10 yards of 12″ premium burlap to work with. They call it a “Table Runner” roll, and I have no doubt it would look stunning as a table runner, but there’s so much more you can do with it, because it’s made so well and doesn’t make the same mess you’d be used to with normal burlap. You can even make placemats to go with the table runner, the possibilities are endless!

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There’s a lot of burlap fabric out there, and some of it is terrible to work with. It’s messy, poorly woven, with jute thread of varying sizes throughout, making any project a little bit harder to complete. RichCraft’s Premium Burlap Roll is one of the first I’ve used with sewn edges, and I’ll have a very hard time going back to my other burlap rolls after this. RichCraft has spoiled me! It’s a little pricey, but you have to balance quality with price, and I feel RichCraft has hit that sweet spot with both. I highly recommend their Premium Burlap Table Runner Roll!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from RichCraft Products.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

U.S. Art Supply’s Stretched Square Canvas Multi-Pack

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I’m a huge fan of U.S. Art Supply and the products they provide, and that should come as no surprise to any regular reader of this blog. And they’ve been so generous in providing multiple products for me to review and try out, I’m almost out of superlatives to describe their awesome supplies. And then they go and do it again with their Professional Quality SQUARES Freedom Series Stretched Canvas Multi-pack. Honestly, I’m in heaven.

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These are professional primed cotton canvas stretched over real hardwood frames (no MDF or particle board here!), stapled and glued on the reverse for clean, smooth finished edges. They are strong and sturdy with no flex and no twist. They are also double-primed with acid-free acrylic gesso so that either oil paints of acrylics are good to go. You get 2 each of 5 different sizes in this pack, 4″x 4″, 6″x 6″, 8″ x 8″ , 10″ x 10″, and 12″ x 12″. They’re also about 1″ thick all around. Great for kids, crafty adults (like me), artists, novices, dabblers, or even folks like me that loved painting, and just got out of the habit, until U.S. Art Supply eased me back in and unleashed the little creative monster inside. They are suitable for immediate hanging framed or unframed, I loved these, as the possibilities are endless what you can create. And the best part is they’re competitively priced with you local brick-and-mortar art supply store, and usually much, much more affordable (with many, many products having free shipping)!

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U.S. Art Supply is a great company to boot, with tremendous after-sales service, and a real personal touch in their communications. Their website is vast, comprehensive, and has everything one would ever need to create their next masterpiece. It’s a company I’m proud to support and happy to be buying from in the future. Like this package, and every single one they’ve ever sent me, it’s packed well and arrives in perfect condition. I’d say the only limit to what you can create is your own imagination, because, like this Canvas Squares Multi-pack, it’s no going to be for lack of supplies.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from US Art Supply.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

US Art Supply: 3″ x 3″ Mini Professional Primed Stretched Canvas (1-Pack of 12-Mini Canvases) #Review #UsArtSupply

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I again welcome US Art Supply to the blog and this time they sent the most adorable little canvases for me to review. I have been on an art and craft kick that seems to have no end to it, so you can see why my love for US Art Supply runs so strong.

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The miniature canvases measure 3 inches by 3 inches, with a 3/8 of an inch profile. These canvases are made using acid free gesso and are triple primed, so you have a nice thick platform to create on. The canvas material is stretched by hand and over wooden “stretcher bars” that are made with kiln dried wood, which tends to not lose it’s shape. Your art remains beautifull for year to come without worry of sag or destruction to the image. If you put the work in to make something, it should reward you with years of lasting so you can enjoy it!

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Retail Price Point: $11.97 for 12 mini canvases in each pack and they measure 3 x 3 in size. This is also a product that qualifies for free shipping with an Amazon Prime account.

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Verdict:
I figure it was time to make something for a bare wall that has been in our library/office. I have geodes and the such on the book shelves along with books but I wanted something that represents nature, but had a unique appearance. Something educational but also contained beauty and because I love to garden, I figured an homage to bees. These little guys not only help my citrus trees produce fruit, keep my berry bushes producing boysenberries, but they love everything from the rose garden to the hibiscus bushes we have along the wall. Always busy and buzzing, plus with the amount of bees lowering in count, I figured it was time to show appreciation for the little workers. I went with a green background to keep within nature’s colors and sketched a bee (of course with a US Art Supply pencil). I went with metal flowers to add contrast to the piece and again a different element of texture. I gathered some worker bees that seemed to have worked too hard and perished (in the pool) and put them under a glass dome and in a bottle using copper wire. I even took US Art Supply’s 3 x 4 inch canvas and used it backwards to create a honey store. These canvases can be used more than just the front-side and that is what I love about them! The material is smooth even on the backside and because US Art Supply takes care in production, the back portion is made nice enough to be usable. I fixed everything to a floral fabric and redid a vintage frame into a shadowbox frame, to provide more depth. This also allows me to use large items like glass bottles and domes. I collected everything I had on bees from charms to even earrings (bee wings) that I used for the honey bottles and the bumble bee earrings to be featured flying around the black colored rose on the fabric, just like they fly around the flowers. Simple and really just re-purposing what I had around the home because I figured a bee uses all it can in nature to keep working (or for me crafting)!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from U.S. Art Supply. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Ink Print Art: Contemporary Flower Print Set; Size 8×10, Unframed Art Set #InkPrintArt

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Like most of us, I am really picky about what I put up on my walls. I have been living at our current home for over 20 years and we still have walls that I prefer leaving plain, versus regretting hanging something that will be regarded as settling later. I have done this where a picture is just wrong for a room and if it stays up for a week, it will be lucky and it usually then gets returned or designated for later use. Most times I make what we put up because I want a unique item for that wall that has been left blank for years.  There are also times I use ready made art and incorporate it to project design I have in mind.

When Ink Print Art offered to send me a duo set of prints, I was excited because the pictures were pretty and unique. The image is of flowers and has a contemporary style and one picture is of the whole flower, while the second picture is of the stigma/stamen of the bloom. Think of it as taking a picture of the entire piece and then a secondary one as a closer look.  The floral art has hues of purple and grey, almost like how a flower would appear in shaded lighting. I was thrilled when on I saw the images on-line and read the description.

Retail Price Point: $9.99 via Amazon and the product qualifies for free shipping if you have a Prime account.

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Verdict:
The flower prints arrived and the stock of the paper is pretty much like the stock you find in most pictures you see when you purchase a frame. The image of the print is suppose to be soft hues, however it is not vivid or true in color. My images were also not printed well because the pixels were visible and it looked more like a printer was running low on ink when the artwork was printed. I love the image and could see how neat it would look if it were just printed with a higher quality printer that had enough ink to make you appreciate how the colors in the print graduate. My pictures looked washed out and even had what I could describe as looking sun bleached, even though they were not but this is how poor the image looked in person. There is no gloss or pop to the picture and I tried seeing it as maybe a satin finish, but it really has none of those finishing touches. There is also no information about the flower and to me it appears to be a Magnolia Wilsonii flower but who really knows and you should at least know what you are hanging on your walls even for just curiosity purposes. I can see if the picture came with a frame, but the price point is just for two pictures that would have been amazing if the print and quality of both the ink and paper did not leave you desiring for more.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Ink Print Art.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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