My Domino Obsession: Crafting With Dominoes
The Beginning of My Fascination with Dominoes
About ten years ago, I saw a box of wooden dominoes at a flea market for $3.00. As I was looking at the box, the man selling them said, "Sorry, Ma'am, but I don't think that's a full set." I knew enough about bargaining at flea markets to respond, "Would you take $2.00 then?"
"Sure," he replied. And this single action was the start of a weird attraction that initially bred a considerable collection. Today, my collection has dwindled due to crafting as well as a slowed pursuit of the little wooden gems. At one point, I would say I had close to a dozen different styles and well over a thousand in number.
Early on, I used many of my dominoes to make jewelry pieces that I sold at craft shows and online. The jewelry niche is lucrative but challenging to maintain long-term. Just making one piece sometimes took days. Then I discovered my signature creation -- Christmas ornaments.
For the past six or seven years, I have used a considerable number of dominoes to make Christmas ornaments that I sell at a large craft show in November. Each year my collection decreases by about three hundred to five hundred making these ornaments. I even have a couple of families that place special orders with new grandchildren names and other unique requests. I have one customer who usually buys most of the ornaments I have leftover after the craft show. She has one whole tree with nothing but my ornaments, and, of course, so do I.
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.— Scott Adams
I've Trained Him Right
There was a period of time when I was going through dominoes at a reasonably good rate, so my husband and I were heading out on weekends to search for them. We would hit garage sales, flea markets, and auctions with moderate success. But there came a time I had to educate my husband on the specifics of a quality domino.
My husband sometimes makes fun of my hair-brained ideas, but the domino craft market was getting pretty lucrative, so he came on-board rather quickly. We would set out on Saturday mornings, searching for my little wooden nuggets. One time we were at a huge flea market, and he found a gigantic bag of plastic dominoes. He got all excited until I said, "I don't want those."
"Why not?" he asked.
"They are plastic. I want wooden ones."
So after that incident, I had him trained -- well, sort of.
A little while later, we were at an auction, and we separated to look at different things. When we met up, I asked my husband if he had seen any dominoes. He replied that the only ones he saw were the plastic ones I didn't like. Satisfied but disappointed, we went to find a place to stand because the bidding was about to start. A little while later, I saw the auction worker nearest me pick up an old box that looked like a domino box. Curious, I made my way through the crowd to get a better look. My jaw nearly dropped. He had a full set of Bakelite dominoes.
Quickly after I discovered what he had, they went in the air to be sold. I bid, of course. And I kept bidding until I could not justify the price for what I needed them for, so I bowed out. I made my way back over to my husband, and he was giving me this strange look. When I got to him, he said, "I thought you told me you didn't like plastic dominoes? Why were you bidding so high?"
At that point, I proceeded to educate him on the difference between the plastic dominoes and the Bakelite ones. Now, he knows wooden and Bakelite are good, plastic is not.
Creativity is intelligence having fun.— Albert Einstein
My Process for Creating Ornaments
These days I have slowed my crafting to only the Christmas ornaments, which I love to make. I begin prepping the dominoes as early as springtime by painting or adding gold or silver antiquing to highlight the picture on the backside of the domino. I then start doing hours and hours of hand-lettering on craft paper. When I'm ready to start putting the paper on the domino, I use ModPodge and let it dry completely before adding another coat. After the second layer of ModPodge drys, I seal it with a clear spray polyurethane. I learned the hard way that the ModPodge has to seal the lettering before using the polyurethane; otherwise, the ink from the lettering runs.
After the dominoes are all decorated, the fun part starts. I mix and match dominoes and glue them together and add embellishments in some cases. I add the hooks and ribbons for hanging last. At the end of the whole process, I have three or four decent-sized boxes packed full. I usually only do one big craft show, and then the ordeal is over for another year.
2020: A Challenging Year for My Tradition
This year I have a severely depleted supply of dominoes. I am thinking about not making enough for the craft show and only doing some for my repeat customers. I'm not sure I want to be stuck with four boxes of ornaments if we are not allowed to have craft shows this year. Plus, I have not been diligent in buying more dominoes for awhile. I'm thinking I might just want to save the ones I have.
These are decisions I have yet to make. However, I can say that I have not done a single thing yet in terms of prepping for the craft show season. This year is shaping up to be quite different than most in many ways.
My Pinterest Domino Page
© 2020 Marcy Bialeschki