PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Relaxing Crafts: Diamond Painting

For my new Relaxing Crafts series, I decided to pick up a pile of random craft kits that one of my neighbours was selling on Facebook and see if there was anything interesting for me to try…

a selection of craft kits

It was quite a haul for a few dollars! There are quite a few things I’d like to experiment with in here, and I’ll pass the rest onto someone else who has kids who can use them – nothing will go to waste.

Hiding out in the bottom right corner of the above pic, I found a kit I was intrigued to start first: a small diamond painting kit.


Diamond Painting

The craft of ‘diamond painting’ – sticking flat-backed plastic ‘gems’ onto an adhesive colour-coded surface to form a pattern – seems to have sprung up from nowhere over the past few years. Have you heard of it before?

puppy diamond painting kit

A diamond painting kit comes with an adhesive backing (this one is cardboard, but most are canvas), preprinted with the design. You fill in each space with a plastic ‘diamond’. Depending on the kit, the diamonds can be square or round – in this kit, mine were round.

There’s an individual bag for each colour of diamond. With only a few colours in this design, I found it most fun to pour a few colours into the tray at once, and then I got to play a minigame every time: to look for a piece that was a) the right colour and b) the right way up.

puppy diamond painting kit

Each diamond has a domed front and a flat back. You pick up a diamond by loading the nib of the special pen with a little pink wax, then pressing it gently to the domed side of the diamond, so the diamond sticks to the wax:

puppy diamond painting kit

Then you press the flat side of the diamond down to the picture. The adhesive grabs the diamond and keeps it in place. (The wax stays inside the nib of the pen, ready to grab the next diamond.)

puppy diamond painting kit

It’s very satisfying to place all the tiny diamonds into neat rows and watch the picture emerge. It’s faster than cross stitch, much easier than paint-by-numbers(!), and once each piece is placed it stays there, so you don’t have to worry about knocking them out of place before you complete the design.

puppy diamond painting kit

As you work, you peel back the protective plastic film from the painting a bit at a time, so the rest of the picture stays sticky and doesn’t attract dust or lint before you’re ready to apply the diamonds to it.

And, after a little time, the canvas is filled and the finished picture emerges!

puppy diamond painting kit

Relaxing Craft Verdict

This kit was just a dollar store special and I don’t love the design, but as a test of the craft it served its purpose admirably: I call diamond painting a win on the relaxing front! Big thumbs up from me.

I’m looking at diamond painting kits now – there are lots with really nice looking designs, and I think I’ll be picking one up. Here are my top choices at the moment:

Diamond Dotz diamond painting kits
Clockwise from top left: Miniature Magic, Forest Babe, and Graceful Swimmer kits from Diamond Dotz.

I’m leaning towards the turtle – I think the diamonds may make it look like it’s swimming in a sparkling sea. What do you think?


Have you ever tried diamond painting? Are you tempted to try now? Let me know in the comments below!

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PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge

Today’s PlanetJune Story shows how easily you can brighten someone’s day with crochet. When Nancy Smith, the chairman for the Crochet Guild of America’s Chapter Challenge, contacted me in February to ask for permission for the CGOA to use my Love Hearts pattern as a way for their members to give back to their communities, I never dreamt it would lead to such an amazing result!

Let’s hear from Nancy:


The Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) is a national organization of local crochet guilds located in almost all 50 states of USA. CGOA also hosts a national conference called Chain Link held in different locations each summer that includes classes of various skills, stitches, and techniques, a Design Contest, a fashion show and banquet, and a ‘Meet and Greet’ to possibly sell your designs to publishers, yarn companies and/or magazines. There is also a Masters Program which tests your skills in all aspects of crochet from stitches to gauge to finishing techniques. Be brave! Check it out!

Each year, CGOA challenges the chapters to give back to their local communities by participating in the CGOA Chapter Challenge which selects a project for all interested chapters to make.

Each project is selected with a particular need in mind. Past years have included chemo hats, preemie blankets, squares for afghans, and scarves. This year was a bit different since a lot of places were not accepting physical items due to COVID-19 protocols. But June Gilbank of Planet June came to our rescue by allowing us to use her Love Hearts pattern for the Challenge.

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love Hearts

The hearts could be distributed as a group project if there were places near each chapter that were accepting items, along with individual members passing them out to total strangers, family, friends, neighbors, hospitals workers, doctor offices, fire houses, etc.

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love Hearts

At first, members were kind of skeptical about the project, but some that handed the hearts out individually reported the results/reactions back to their chapters, and the interest really took off. The smiles and reactions from the recipients were well worth the work!

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love Hearts

There were 12,798 hearts made for this Challenge! Besides being individually handed out, hearts were disbursed to an entire elementary school, to Meals on Wheels, to assisted living centers, nursing homes, animal shelters, special education centers, teachers for Teacher Appreciation Day, church meetings, and being attached to future donation projects each chapter makes.

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love Hearts

June’s pattern was fast and easy to make, and the chapters were told to use whatever yarns and hook sizes they wanted, which created a variety of sizes and colors besides the three sizes June has in the pattern.

CGOA and its’ chapters send a big THANK YOU to June for so generously allowing us to use her pattern!

For more information about CGOA, and possibly starting your own local chapter, here are the links:

Nancy Smith
CGOA Chapter Challenge Chairman


A few more photos, shared with permission from the participating chapters:

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love HeartsNew York City Crochet Guild, Manhattan NY

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love HeartsNorthern Illinois Crochet Guild, Rolling Meadows (a suburb of Chicago) IL

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love HeartsHappily Hooked on Crochet Guild, Danbury CT

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love HeartsThe Happy Hookers, Atlanta GA

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love HeartsNorthern Kentucky Crochet Guild, Burlington KY

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love HeartsEbenezer Angelic Crocheters, Washington DC

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love HeartsCrocheters of the Lakes, Lake County IL

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love HeartsNew Mexico Crochet Guild, Albuquerque NM

PlanetJune Stories: CGOA Chapter Challenge - Love HeartsCrochet Twin Cities, Minneapolis/St Paul MN

And here’s the video of the Challenge results:


(Back to me, June, again!)

Well over twelve thousand crocheted hearts – isn’t that incredible! Congratulations to all the participating CGOA chapters – your generosity and kindness has touched so many deserving people.ย I’m honoured that my Love Hearts pattern continues to be used in such meaningful ways.

Thank you so much, Nancy, for sharing your report – and for choosing to use my pattern for such a successful Chapter Challenge ๐Ÿ™‚
Please leave Nancy and the CGOA members a comment if you’ve enjoyed this post!

Do you have a PlanetJune Story you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it! Please email your story to june@planetjune.com, together with one or more high quality photos showing what you’ve made from PlanetJune patterns. If I choose your story to feature here on the blog, I’ll send you your choice of pattern from my shop to say thank you!


PS – If you’re feeling inspired to bring some smiles to your community with crocheted hearts, you can find my Love Hearts crochet pattern here. ๐Ÿ™‚

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free pattern: Fuzzy Hedgehog

Ready for some cuteness? Fuzzy Hedgehog is a simple and adorable pattern that makes the most of a novelty textured yarn such as eyelash or fur! From realistic shades to bright and colourful options, there are no wrong choices to make – any novelty yarn looks good as hedgehog spines.

Fuzzy Hedgehog crochet pattern by PlanetJune

With just two pieces to stitch together, youโ€™ll be able to whip up the sweetest little hedgehog buddy in no time, sized to fit perfectly in the palm of your hand. The ears are crocheted as you go, so all you need to do is stitch the head to the body and you’re done.

Fuzzy Hedgehog crochet pattern by PlanetJune

Please don’t be scared of eyelash-type yarn – with a simple pattern like this, it’s fine if you skip or add a stitch here or there! Using your start-of-round stitch marker means you can add a quick increase or decrease to get back to the right number of stitches at the end of each round, so no harm done – nobody will ever know! And the effect is absolutely perfect for hedgehog spines.

Fuzzy Hedgehog crochet pattern by PlanetJune

As I like to reward people who choose to donate for my donationware patterns, the PDF version of the Fuzzy Hedgehog pattern also includes additional instructional photos and my bonus ‘About Fuzzy Patterns’ PDF, which compiles all my tips on working with fuzzy yarns. As always, the pattern is free for you to use online, and you need only donate if you’d like to thank me for my time in creating it, or if you’d like the easy-to-print PDF version with the bonuses.

Go to the free Fuzzy Hedgehog pattern >>

Or jump straight to donate:

Order the Fuzzy Hedgehog pattern >>

Not ready to make one yet? Add this pattern to your Ravelry queue:


Join Team PlanetJune for the Ravellenic Games!

If you’re new to the Ravellenic Games, the idea is to challenge yourself by starting and finishing project(s) during the timeframe of a certain summer 2021 global sports event (July 23 – August 8). It’s just for fun, like a CAL but you get to choose your own projects, and you’ll be awarded virtual medals for projects you complete. Join Team PlanetJune and you can crochet anything PlanetJune during this timeframe – including a Fuzzy Hedgehog for the ‘Toy Toss’ event – and your teammates will cheer you on as you race to the finish!

Ravellenic Games 2021 - Team PlanetJune

For more info on how this all works, see the Team PlanetJune FAQ, or ask in the Team PJ thread on ravelry – my amazing co-Captains and I are standing by and waiting to help.

Please join us in the PlanetJune group on Ravelry and post to the Team PlanetJune thread to register as part of the team! The games begin on Friday (but latecomers are welcome too). I hope to see you there – it’ll be fun for us to all crochet together this summer ๐Ÿ™‚

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Relaxing Crafts: Paint by Numbers

Some craft projects require concentration (like following an amigurumi pattern), while other projects are relaxing in their repetitive nature (like crocheting row after row of a simple afghan pattern). I find these more relaxing crafts and projects wonderful for the times when my brain is too tired to concentrate on something complicated, but my hands still want to stay busy.

I’ve started picking up craft kits so I can try different crafts and see what appeals to me. I thought it might be fun to do a series of posts on the crafts I’m dabbling in – maybe you’ll find something you’d like to try too! (And many of these simple crafts are kid-friendly, so these could also be family craft projects, or ideas for gifts for the crafty children in your life.)

So here’s the first post in my new Relaxing Crafts series…


Paint by Numbers

I haven’t painted anything for years, and I thought that a paint by numbers kit might be a good way to practice brush technique and ease me back into the feel of painting so I could try painting something from scratch in future.

I tried the Royal & Langnickel Dolphins Painting By Numbers kit. It looked like a cute picture, and at about the size of a sheet of printer paper, I thought it’d be a manageable size.

dolphins paint by numbers kit

The design and the colour-coded numbers are pre-printed onto the canvas in pale blue, so all you need to do is grab a colour of paint and fill in all the indicated areas with that colour, then repeat for all the other colours, and you have a beautiful painting! Or do you…?

I found it more difficult than I’d expected, considering these kits are designed for kids 8 and older – surely, I should have more skill than an inexperienced 8-year old? For me, it was frustrating to have to follow the arbitrary lines separating the shading colours – for example, I think I’d have preferred to try shading the dolphins in my picture myself vs trying to follow all the jagged bands of shadow and light on the dolphins’ bodies.

dolphins paint by numbers kit
There are lots of fiddly jagged lines to follow to form this shading.

I also assumed I’d be provided with all the paint colours I needed, but there were lots of mixed colours required:

dolphins paint by numbers kit
All the areas with two numbers are colours you have to mix yourself, e.g. “10/20” means a mix of colour 10 and colour 20. It seemed like most of the colours were mixes!

dolphins paint by numbers kit
The results of some of that fiddly colour mixing are disappointingly muddy…

Some of the provided paint colours were used a lot – in mixes as well as solo – and I was always scared I’d run out, especially if I mixed too much of a certain shade and had to waste some of it. This was not a very relaxing process! But I did complete the painting…

dolphins paint by numbers kit
Finished!

The end result is okay, but I feel a bit misled by the box art, which shows a coloured picture of the design, not a completed painting (and now I know to look for that, it seems that’s a common trend in these kits). The provided paint colours aren’t the same as shown in the cover picture, and the result is much less subtle, so it’s a bit disappointing.

dolphins paint by numbers kit
Where are my blue dolphins from the cover pic?!

Given all that, paint by numbers is not something I’d want to try again. If I do ever brave painting again, I’ll just sketch an outline and then attempt to paint it properly – I think I could do at least as well as following the kit!

dolphins paint by numbers kit
The painting is still kind of cute though – especially once I added a glint to each dolphin’s eye (that’s not part of the design).

I did pick up a few painting tips from this experience:

  • Low quality paint has terrible coverage – once I’d painted over each section, I could still see the numbers printed beneath the paler paint shades and had to give them a second coat (and the white paint took three coats to cover the numbers!)
  • Acrylic paint dries much darker than the colour appears when the paint isย wet.
  • Painting accurate fine lines is difficult, especially at certain angles. I’m much more comfortable with a pencil than a brush.

dolphins paint by numbers kit
Look carefully and you can still see the blue lines around the edges of the paler colours, despite my best efforts to hide them ๐Ÿ™

Relaxing Craft Verdict

As a relaxing craft, I’m calling Paint by Numbers a fail – for me, anyway.

  • If you’re inexperienced in painting, taking care not to stick your hand in the wet paint or paint over the lines requires a fair amount of concentration.
  • If you’re already a painter, you really don’t need a paint by numbers kit – you’d do better without one!

Maybe I was just unlucky with my choice of kits and there are better ones out there. Have you (or your kids) had any success with paint by numbers kits, or do you agree with my assessment? Let me know in the comments!


And now, my search for relaxing crafts continues. I have quite a few lined up already, but I’d love to hear your suggestions for crafts I can try – and review here for you – too. Please leave your ideas below… ๐Ÿ™‚

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