Chirped by Tina and Cass
Cass and I have been bombarded with ads for Mixtiles for a while now on our various feeds. I guess all the advertising worked – we were curious! So for Christmas, we decided to give our kids some personalized photo art for their dorm rooms and apartments. Key selling points for us were ease of hanging and the minimization of wall damage. With those in mind, we tried out three different photo tile companies to see which we liked the best. (No, we don’t get any kickbacks!) If you’ve ever been in the market for some inexpensive wall art, and wondered how different manufacturers measure up, read on for our review!
For the purpose of our informal comparison, we ordered 8”x8” unframed tiles with adhesive hanging mechanisms from all three companies. Odd numbers are aesthetically pleasing, and nine seems like a good starting point for an impactful arrangement. Our price analysis is therefore based on a hypothetical order of nine tiles.
Mixtiles got our first order. I’m guessing you’ve seen their ads, too – with happy people sticking and resticking the same tiles on a wall until they get the look they want. (Image courtesy of Tina’s Galapagos Getaway: a zoom-in on a land iguana’s spiked head!)
Snapfish has traditionally been our go-to website for photo gifts, so they got the second slot out of sheer brand loyalty. (Image courtesy of Cass’s youngest son, gifted to her oldest son.)
After Tina placed the Mixtiles order, ads for CanvasDiscount started popping up, featuring a competing product called “MixPix”. A cheaper alternative? Sure, let’s try it! (Image? Let’s just say it was part of a joke series… Guess you had to be there!)
Print resolution was not noticeably different between the three companies.
All three products were mounted on foam board, which is super light weight and feels a bit chintzy. It looks fine on the wall, and is probably the reason the tiles can be repeatedly repositioned. Mixtiles mounts their photos on inch-thick dark grey foam board. Snapfish prints on a thin black beveled board. CanvasDiscount uses a thinner white foam board with light gray edges. In our opinion, the darker sides of the Mixtiles and Snapfish pieces look more finished than those of CanvasDiscount.
Our first order from CanvasDiscount didn’t arrive with any adhesives at all, so they got disqualified for this category. Mixtiles have an adhesive strip pre-installed along the top edge – just peel off the protective plastic and press to the wall. On Tina’s son’s painted cement block dorm room walls, they stay up great. (He did pull one off and stick it back on – so far so good.) In contrast, each Snapfish tile comes with two self-adhesive magnetic disks to use for adjustable hanging. Stick one disk to the wall, the other to the tile, and adjust as needed. Unfortunately Cass’s son’s bumpy painted dry wall does not mix well with the disks – they keep falling down. Maybe a nail through the pre-drilled hole on the wall-side disk would solve that problem, but then that’s a hole in the wall… While it’s a little unfair to compare the two because of the different wall surfaces they were applied to, we’re going to do it anyway. Point to Mixtiles!
Mixtiles had the most protective packaging, arriving in a perfectly-sized box with layered trays to prevent corner-mushing in transit. Snapfish packed their tiles effectively with bubble wrap in a box. The CanvasDiscount tiles arrived bubble-wrapped in a plastic envelope. Some corners got a little bent. Another demerit for them…
Production & Delivery Time
Mixtiles delivered our order in roughly a week. Snapfish estimated a delivery time of about 11 days if you didn’t want to pay extra for expedited handling. And CanvasDiscount? Well, they claimed 4-8 business days, but our first order, placed on 12/7, arrived sometime after 12/27 from Germany. (Yet the website says “Made with <3 in the USA”?) Definitely not before Christmas, as was promised. A follow-up order, placed 12/17, still hasn’t arrived as of February 14th! I contacted the company multiple times, and most recently they have promised to send the order again, along with the missing adhesives from my first order. We’ll see…
Mixtiles list price rings up at $11 each, but that includes shipping. An order of nine tiles would add up to $99 (plus tax). It’s important, however, to consider promotional discounts. Currently you can get 15% off your order, which would bring our order down to about $84 plus tax.
CanvasDiscount at first seems like the best bargain, at only $8, including tax! Shipping is extra, fixed at $7.90 until you hit $70 worth of merchandise, at which point it’s free. That means our hypothetical order comes to $72 even. Once you’ve placed an order, you can get credits for free tiles (plus shipping) on future orders, depending on how many you buy. My “free tile” cost $7.90 in shipping and still hasn’t arrived almost two months later…
Snapfish tiles list at $8.99 each. Lowest priced shipping is almost $7 for the first tile, going up about $2 for each additional. Our full price order would cost around $104 plus tax. BUT, they often have great coupon selections, like free shipping on orders over $29 in February. That alone brings their price down to around $81 plus tax. Just this month I’ve seen a sitewide 50% off code, and photo tile promotions ranging from $1 to $4.05 each. You usually can’t use multiple codes together, but depending on which you try, the price drops to as low as $32 plus tax! If you’re smart about checking for promotions, the price differential can really swing dramatically.
And The Winner Is…
Based on our rather unscientific evaluation, Mixtiles seems to make the superior product at a pretty good price. Snapfish is a close second, and has the potential to be easily the best value, if you find the right coupon. CanvasDiscount loses in terms of quality control, aesthetic, false advertising and completely unreliable and disorganized shipping process. These foam board tiles are great for a temporary living space like a dorm, but are by no means fine decor for the long term. Given that context, our ratings are as follows, on a scale of 1 to 5 “Crows’ Feet”, with 5 being the highest:
Have you tried other companies, or had different experiences with any of these three? They all print variations on these – some with frames, borders, other sizes, or higher quality materials. Some are even less expensive than the foam boards, but without the easy hanging options. And CanvasDiscount has much better customer reviews online than our headaches would suggest it should. Leave us a Peep in the Comments section and share your thoughts on this, our first official “Bird’s Eye Review”!
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