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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Review: ArtBin Sew-lutions Slim Line Case (DIY Magnetic Makeup Palette)

Well I finally did it! If you caught my original post about these affordable little DIY makeup palettes, then you know that I was really excited to FINALLY, after all these years, try my hand at depotting. At under $5, I couldn't resist picking up one of these ArtBin cases at my local Joann store a few weeks back.

So how did it work for me? What did I depot? Am I happy with the entire experience? Will I continue to depot in the future?

Keep reading for the answers to these questions (and more)...

This case retails for $9.99 at Joann (in-store and online; it is also available at other sewing and craft stores, as well as on Amazon). But if you buy it at Joann, it is often on sale for 50% off in-store and online (it is right now, actually). When I purchased mine, there was a coupon on the Joann site for an additional 20% off, which the cashier was able to scan directly from my phone. So if you're buying in-store, be sure to keep an eye on the coupon section HERE for even more savings.

All told, I paid $4.31 (including tax) for this case, combining the 50% off in-store sale with the 20% off online coupon.

PLEASE NOTE: I am fully aware that you can use practically anything to make your own DIY palette (CD jewel cases, cookie tins, etc. etc.). I am using this particular case because I was attracted to the idea of it already having a magnetic sheet at the bottom, and I also love anything pink, and well, it was under $5! 

For size perspective

As you can see, this case is roughly the size of two Wet n Wild 8-pan eyeshadow palettes. 

This case has a standard snap closure. It feels moderately secure when it clicks shut (the click isn't very forceful; it's sort of a weak click). 

The bottom of the case contains a thin magnetic sheet.

The magnetic sheet is flush against the sides of the case; no big gaps. 

In the pic above, you can see that the magnetic sheet is pretty thin.

Back of case

The back of the case shows some pre-existing scuff marks (I didn't even notice them until I got this case home). Also, you can see that the glue for the magnetic sheet runs across the entire length of the sheet.

The logo on the bottom right front of the case doesn't bother me at all, so I haven't tried to remove it (although I've heard that you can, with some rubbing alcohol or polish remover). If anything, I might put a cute sticker over it at some point but like I said, it doesn't bother me.


Since this was my first shot at depotting shadows, I decided to go with some inexpensive shadows from Wet n Wild. I chose palettes that I already have back-ups for (just in case I ruined them during the depotting process) and also some palettes that haven't received a lot of love from me lately (so that I wouldn't miss them too much if I did ruin them).

I basically guesstimated how many WnW singles, trios, 5-pans, 6-pans and 8-pans I would need to fill the ArtBin case (I honestly had no idea). But it turns out that everything fit, with the exception of two pans in the Comfort Zone 8-pan palette. Yay! 


There are basically two different ways to go about depotting eyeshadows. You can use a heat method or a non-heat method. Depending on which method you choose, there are numerous techniques for removing pans both with and without heat. I personally do not like the idea of inhaling fumes from burning plastic, so I opted for a non-heat method. I am not going to get into all of the different ways to remove pans from palettes here (there are a zillion different ways!), so I suggest searching YouTube using terms like "how to depot eyeshadow" or "how to depot eyeshadow no heat" and you will find zillions of helpful tutorials. Just go with a method that speaks to you, and most importantly, use extreme caution no matter which method you use. Depotting is dangerous business and you can easily cut or burn yourself in the process.

Certain techniques for depotting appear to work better for certain brands. You can do a search on YouTube for "how to depot Wet n Wild eyeshadows" and lots of tutorials will come up. You can do this for NYX, MAC, etc. etc., and some methods do appear to work better with certain brands. For example, I tried using Jen of From Head to Toe's no-heat method for depotting Nyx eyeshadow singles on some of these WnW shadows, and it didn't work (although I know it works beautifully for Nyx shadows). I ultimately ending up using the "pry gently with a steak knife" method (I found this tutorial to contain some very helpful tips), and I ended up removing some of these pans very easily, while some ended up a mangled mess...

My finished palette filled with all Wet n Wild eyeshadows

If you are a stickler for having your pans look perfect, you might not like any of the no-heat methods, since there's a high probability that you're going to dent your pans a bit (unless they weren't glued in well in the first place by the manufacturer). Case in point:

Some of my pans are slightly dented, and some are just plain mangled. I really don't mind though, because all of the shadows I used for this experiment were either back-ups, or shadows I wasn't using a lot anyway. I can imagine that if I were depotting higher-end shadows that I had invested a lot of money in, I would probably opt for one of the heat methods since heat melts the glue and makes the pans pop out much more easily (although I really dislike the idea of inhaling burning plastic, so I probably won't ever do it).

TIP: When you're done depotting and you have all of the pans in place, take a photo and use a photo editng app (or print it out on paper and use a pen) and write the names of each trio, single, 8-pan, etc. on the image next to each pan, to create a little diagram for yourself. If you print the paper out, consider taping it to the back of the palette so that you can remember exactly what's there, in case you run out of a shade and you ever want to repurchase. If you don't print it out, save it to a special folder on your computer or device, so you always have it if you need it. Trust me when I tell you that this will save you lots of trouble in the future because, even in just the last few weeks, I've forgotten which of these pans belong to each palette. I'm so glad I made myself a diagram!

After using this palette for a couple of weeks, I can tell you that what they say is absolutely true. You really do end up using your eyeshadows a lot more when you depot. Having them all spread out like this (as opposed to tucked away in their original compacts) made me actually fall back in love with several of these eyeshadows, as if I were seeing them for the first time. I found myself really excited to use this palette every day, and I even came up with new combinations and ways of wearing these shadows that I had never thought about before. I can tell you with absolute certainty that I plan to depot a lot more of my older drugstore eyeshadows in the future, based on this experiment. I think the effort is absolutely worth the reward, since I'm now happily "shopping my stash" and using shadows that would have just continued collecting dust had I not depotted them.

As for how I like THIS specific ArtBin case, well I have some mixed emotions there. On the one hand, I love that it's pink (duh), and transparent. I find that I'm prone to use palettes a bit more when I can see what's inside them before I even open them, and I can imagine that if I had several of these types of palettes, the transparent lids would really help cut down on search time.

What I don't like is that the magnetic sheet on the bottom did not work with any of my WnW pans. Now, according to my boyfriend, that has more to do with the fact that the metal used in the WnW pans probably doesn't contain enough iron to make them stick to magnets. But whatever the case, one of the reasons why I purchased this particular case was because I didn't want to have to fuss with double-sided tape or cutting pieces of magnetic strips. So yeah...I had to use double-sided tape to ensure that these pans did not slide around. That bummed me out a bit.

Other than that, I find this case sturdy enough for day to day use, and that's great for me. I'm not sure how well this would travel though because, as I stated earlier in this review, the latch isn't super strong. You don't get that firm, reassuring "click" when you close it; it's a softer click that sort of tells me that I better be careful and not carelessly toss this into tote bag.

One more thing: if you're new to the world of depotting, I should probably mention that you can also use palettes like this for blushes, highlighters, and basically any powders that come in metal pans. If you like this idea, certainly don't limit yourself to just eyeshadows.

FINAL VERDICT: For under $5, I think this is a great jumping-off point when it comes to the world of depotting. If you're new to depotting and just want to see what it's all about without committing to a more expensive, professional palette, I think this is perfect. If you're already a veteran at depotting and own more expensive palettes, this might not be up to your standards. It's certainly not the most perfect magnetic palette in the world but, to be fair, it's not made for holding makeup--it's made for holding sewing supplies. So I can't really criticize it too much since I'm not reviewing it for its intended use. That said, I think it's a convenient size and I love the translucent lid, so even though you will need additional magnetic strips or double-sided tape to secure your pans, I think this is still a great way to test the waters and see if depotting is for you. Just make sure that you do your research on depotting techniques, and start with depotting shadows that are inexpensive, or ones that you don't really care about it. Trust me, depotting is messy when you're starting out, so proceed with caution.

Do you own the ArtBin case? If so, how has it been working for you? Are you a newbie depotter or a vet? Any advise or tips you'd like to share? What's your favorite method for depotting?

The products featured in this post were purchased with personal funds. For more information, click here.


  1. Hi, I will say that the WnW shadows don't stick to z palettes either. I had to cut/glue magnetic strips to mine. A lot of less expensive shadows don't stick due to what they use for the pans, like your boyfriend mentioned might be the issue. I think this is a great alternative! Very affordable and pink! :)

    1. Thank you SO much for confirming that! I recall reading that somewhere a few years ago, but it's great to actually hear it from someone who has experienced it. I think the boyfriend is's gotta be the lack of iron. :) I guess it's time for me to invest in a roll of magnets, eh?

    2. I used the adhesive magnet sheets for mine when I tried out this exact same container plus Wet 'n Wild eyeshadows.

    3. It might not be so much the amount of iron in the metal as it is the polarity of the magnet. Coastal Scents shadow pans won't stick to some magnetized palettes either.

  2. Oh your poor shadows. I've depotted most of my collection of singles/duos/quads.. and I have a HUGE collection so it took several months working on it a few hours a week. There are very few brands/lines you can depot without heat properly. The problem is you create micro fractures in the powder by the slightest amount of torque.. you really don't want to press, pry, or twist at all. Even if they don't break or flake right off they will in the future. The only way to achieve that is to soften the plastic and glue so you can gently press them right out of the compact. You really don't want to burn the plastic.. just gently melt it. Patience is key. I wouldn't suggest doing it in a small bathroom with the door shut, but in any reasonably ventilated room fumes are not an issue. I did mine in my dining room with my ceiling fan on low and never smelled a thing. I prefer the candle (not a lighter, it will overheat and creates soot from the fuel burning) since it works with every brand and style, but for many you can use a flat iron if you want to avoid flame.. be sure to put a piece of aluminum foil under the compact or some brands will stick to your iron. They have to have a flat bottom under the pans for that method.. many don't. As you discovered aluminum pans won't stick to magnets, you either have to buy steel disks/squares to adhere to the pans or tape/glue them anyway.

    1. So many questions! Ok here goes:

      Why do you say you have to buy either steel disks or tape/glue them? Can't you just cut little pieces from a magnetic sheet and stick those on the bottom of the pans? Magnets stick to other magnets, right? :)

      I actually tried the tea light method and I smelled the burning plastic immediately. I did NOT like that, and I was in a well ventilated room. I stopped immediately and vowed never to do it again. Lol. So do you think it varies depending on the type of plastic case? Are some less smelly than others?

      Further to the heat method, I've heard that you absolutely have to remove any labels from the back of the compact before you begin. Do you find that's the case? Because that's another HUGE reason why I don't like that method. So time consuming and oh my poor nails! Lol.

      For any of the bigger fractures I incurred with the no heat method, I just used the old alcohol + press technique like I do with all of my shadows that I've dropped or fractured. I never have a problem with them breaking again, especially after I've swiped them with my brush a few times. Good as new! :)

      Thanks a million for your tips and insights!

    2. If you don't peel the stickers off they catch on fire. I know because that happened to me when I didn't get all the sticker. XD Craft store magnet stickers should stick to your case.

    3. I agree with the heat method, I think it is much easier on your shadows that just prying them out with a sharp knife or whatever you choose to use. Also, as far as w'n'w shadows are concerned, the pans are glues MUCH tighter in than other brands because the plastic is so cheap, there is no way you are going to be able to save the plastic casing anyway so heating is an easier option. The plastic from w'n'w cases melts a lot quicker and definitely smells more because you have to heat it more to get the pans to come unglued when you pry them out. You definitely should remove the paper backing on anything though prior because it will just burn off(you don't HAVE too but it will just burn the paper off). I did mine with the front door open in my living room so there wasn't much of a smell. Now other shadows, say from MAC, use a lot less heat, they aren't glued in as severely, those I just use a knife to pop the pan out of the container(there's a little open line you can slide the knife into and it will pop out) and the pan sits in a separate slot from the pod, I just hold that over heat for a couple seconds and the glue softens and the metal pan pops right out(shortening heating time will also cause less of a plastic smell, I hardly smell anything with MAC as opposed to w'n'w). And you can put the pod back together just like new and B2M(saves the label this way also and you can slice it off- I use a small razor and it peels right up, no need for nails! and put it on the bottom of your pan). I imagine other brands may work this way too, I de-potted my Milani Bella eyeshadows similarly.

      As far as metal discs, I think she was just using that as a reference because they are easy to use, but you can cut up strips of magnets also. W'n'W will not adhere because they are tin so they have to have a magnet on the back.

      I find the heat method less time consuming personally, and I have a lot less accidents with shadow breaking. When I started out a few shadows broke here and there but it gets easier, and you can repress them but I have found they are much more fragile afterwards, plus having to repress just adds more time to the project, lol.

      Thanks for posting this, I've never seen the artbin boxes, I may grab one and see what they are like. I usually use MUFE empty palettes($14 and holds over 40 MAC/MUG sized or 27 MUFE size shadows) for different shape/sizes(like square shadows or big blush sizes) and coastal scent palettes for basic round shadows(5 dollars during their 50% off, for the 28 pan). Depotting is addicting and such a space saver, and makes using single shadows so much easier.

  3. I grabbed some of these as well right after you posted about them originally. The logo doesn't easily remove with alcohol (I used 91%) or acetone. In fact, it didn't even budge! So I'm just leaving it unless I find some cute stickers .

  4. What about using the ultra thin glue dots instead of double sided tape. Just a thought.

  5. I have depotted using both the heat and no heat method. Personally, I like using my flat iron to depot. Sometimes, you have to remove some of the plastic casing that houses the pans, which is a pain. I completely agree - depotting makes you fall in love with certain shadows all over again.

  6. Oddly all of my WnW shadows stuck to the palette no problem with the exception of two but I also used double sided tape for those two

    1. Yep, I got a knockoff Zpalette, and all of my WnW shadows stuck to the magnet.

  7. I am new to depotting and did purchase this when you first posted about it. I had some Clinique shadows I wanted to put all in one place and I guess the magnet is strong enough for them because luckily they stay and don't slide around. I haven't tried depotting any other shadows yet simply because I wasn't sure how to. Glad you mentioned that there are a ton of tutorials out there on this subject. I agree, though, you do tend to use your singles more when they are all in one place so I will probably buy a few more of these since I have a lot of eyeshadow singles. Thanks for your review and tips, G.

  8. I picked up 2 cases last weekend after seeing your original post recently. They were also 50% off + 20% coupon, so I grabbed two. This was my first time at depotting. I depotted the Benefit cheeky sweet spot blush palette, which was just glued to foam so it was easy to pry off the pans with a knife (found instructions on YouTube). The metal pans magnetized nicely to the magnet in the case. I love it, less bulky than the original packaging and room to spare. Thanks for the post!

  9. Yeah the WnW pans aren't magnetic at all. I bought some magnet strips, but the sticky stuff on those isn't as strong as I'd like. It works though.

    I also de-potted some Revlon quads. Those are really easy because they have holes under the sticker where you can push a pin in and they come out easily. The Revlon pans are magnetic.

  10. Thank you so much for reviewing this! Do you think this will do alright stored in a drawer? I'm thinking about putting my Makeup Geek stuff in this.

  11. I stuck some morphe shadows in an old Mac pro pallets. I used quake wax. Works amazingly well. It's also called museum wax. Great for those of us in Cali.

  12. I've successfully be deported several of my Wet n Wild 3-pans using alcohol. Just pour it around the metal edge of the pans, maybe use a pin to get the liquid to run beneath a little more, and that softens the glue so you can pry out the pans without mangling them. Good luck!

  13. Echoing others who suggest using a flat iron. You won't get that burning plastic smell you get when using an open flame. It might still be a little stinky, though. I've depotted a lot of things at this point - I must have about two dozen Z-Palettes now - and I've rarely found pans for which a no-heat method works well.

    I highly recommend an actual depotting tool. They're the best for prying and scraping glue off. I have Z-Palette's official tool, which works great, of course (and is very pretty). But I also have a mixing/palette spatula from Crown Brush that has a similar shape and was much cheaper. I think I got it for $3 on HauteLook. You could also try a metal cuticle pusher if you've got one lying around or can get one cheaply. I also used one of those pointy metal nail files to pry pans out before I had any other tools.

    Major yes to the steel stickers mentioned above. I always get mine from, once again, Z-Palette. I don't know if anyone else sells them, or if you can get crafty and make your own. But the adhesive is very strong and you can write on them.

    One last tip - this is something I do that I don't see mentioned often in depotting discussions, although I'm sure there are plenty of others who do it. I like to soak my pans (not fully submerged - just enough to cover the bottom) in a shallow dish of rubbing alcohol for a few minutes so I can more easily scrape all the glue off. It'll give you a much better surface to write on the pan of it's already magnetized or put a sticker on if it's not.

    This wall of text has been brought to you by obsessive depotting. I find it strangely addictive.

  14. I bought one of these and I didn't like it at all. I had depotted a few NYX shadows & Palladio blushes and it did not stay, even after I bought magnetic strips they did not stay well. I used acetone to remove the name & it was horrible it some how makes it blurry that you can't see through it big fail I ended up throwing it out. I do use the flat iron process of depotting & I LOVE it!! It's so easy no labels burn or melt.

  15. I had gotten this lil pink case too and finally made the leap of depotting the other day. I broke a few shadows that I mushed back together with rubbing alcohol. Nyx, and coastal scents do not stick; however the Almay softies did. Those popped out super easy with no heat. I agree with the closure of this case, mine doesn't snap closed at all. I use a rubber band to keep it closed.

  16. Thank you, always, for writing such articulate, detailed, fair and precise reviews. You. Are. Brilliant.

    As for me, one time is all it took for me to decide that doing the depot (do the hustle!!) was not for me. One positive out of all the work was that I did use new shadow combos.

    Thank you, G., for taking the time to do your reviews. I know I, and others, appreciate it! :)

  17. When you first told us about these I thought to get it but reviews said the magnet wasn't strong enough and even for $5 I did not want to have to purchase separate magnets and add another step. I do love the idea of having everything together. I am doing a lot of traveling soon and I suppose a rubber band slipped over it would do the trick for travel. Going to rethink purchasing these. Has anyone depotted the L'Oreal Nude palette? If so, how did it go?

  18. So, I don't own a flat iron. Is there a cheap one that works well for depotting?

  19. I almost went this route a few months ago but decided to spend $8 on a MAC Pro Palette Large, which is double sided, with free shipping. I was surprised that MAC offered such a low budget option but it's been my highest recommendation for depotting eyeshadows into, ever since!

    1. Thanks for the tip! Only $8? I just ordered one!

    2. Also, shipping was free!

    3. I received my Mac Pro Palette. For only $8, it's so much nicer than the ArtBin! It's very clean and the magnet holds well. I highly recommend.

  20. I have de-potted MAC, e.l.f., NYC shadows, MAC blushes, and Anastasia brow powders to put into a Z-palette. I used a heat method (actual matches instead of lighters, followed by gently removing with needle nose pliers or prying out with tiny, two-pronged forks). The good thing about my experience with the heat method is that there was no black smoke or heinous fumes because I didn't keep the flame under plastic very long. Every few seconds I would check to see if the heated plastic was soft enough. At "taffy consistency" I knew the glue had melted. The trickiest part was making sure my hand holding the palette (not the match) didn't get burned, so I would use the pliers to hold the palette to create some distance between my skin and the heat source.

  21. With all the shadows in there it looks like its own cool art project.

  22. The holy grail of depotting queens can be found at: maquillageobscura dot blogspot dot com /2014/12/ depot-with-floss
    Her methods are well illustrated, and I like to give her credit for all references and methods I have learned from her sites.

  23. I went with the clear cd cases and purchased magnet sheets from Michaels. I followed Goss's technique, which was baking sheet in the oven at 200F for three minutes and it worked beautifully. Before that, I'd attempted the rubbing alcohol and floss and made a huge mess, gouged my pans and even broke some. My husband did have to crazy glue some very thin washers on some of my deported shadows, but it wasn't a big deal or time consuming and is well worth it. No more buying repeats or nearly identical shades because I can pull out my cases and check before buying. This is one of my most favorite DIY and I have many... :-)

  24. I feel like a lot of people don't realize how affordable MAC palettes are. I have a double sided palette that only cost me $8 and MAC always has free shipping.

  25. This palette holds coastal scents hot pots like a dream. On one of mine I added a magnetic sheet to the inside of the lid. It now holds 36 hot pots (or similarly sized shadow pots) and it is so compact. Love it!

  26. The other week I bought 3 of these cases for like $4.50, but haven't done a thing to them except put I needle in one. I'm always loosing my needles.

    Bummed out to hear they won't work with wet wild. What about NYC? These are the 2 I will depot this summer outside using candle flame method. Guess I'll get some washers or extraI magneric sheets and double sided tape.

    G, thanks for this very informative post, and all your others... I may not post a lot, but I am still here every day or so. Luv ya!

  27. These cases work fantastically with mug shadows and blushes, and inglot pans. Fits I think 15 or 18 mug shadows. I imagine it'd work with anastasia bh singles or other brands that are intended for use in palettes

  28. I love mine! It fits baked/domed products too! And it works with zpalette magnets too!

  29. Just a tip, I attached small nickel washers in the leftover glue. It cost me 97 cents for like 48 of them at Walmart and they magnetize really well to the z-palettes. I had to use them on some Smashbox shadows from a palette I depotted using one of the no heat methods.

  30. Just thought I'd mention that one could use magnet paint. A little goes a long way and that way the depth stays the same. One can buy it at all the big box hardware stores.


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