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Project | Sticky Sticks

You know a craft product is good when it sparks a whole new hobby for your child.

And the odd thing is that this product – Sticky Sticks (25 sticks for $3.50)- is probably one of the most basic craft items out there: the popsicle/tongue depressor stick. The genius thing about Sticky Sticks is that they added a square of adhesive to one end, and by doing that (and eliminating the liquid glue and drying time associated) they opened up a world of possibilities.

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I showed the Sticky Sticks to my daughter, Gracie, one evening before bed. I showed her how to use them by sticking them to a photo she had on her art desk – simply peel off the little square of wax paper covering the adhesive square on the end of the stick and adhere to whatever you like. She tucked the photo into her cup of pens and I immediately realized these would make a great tool to display small photos and works of art all over the house.

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I then asked her if she would help me use them and come up with some project ideas for them. She said she was happy to help and we all went to bed. I assumed we’d spend the following afternoon brainstorming something, and maybe I’d use one of my die-cut tools to cut some shapes for her to work with, etc.

When I woke up the next morning, Gracie had already created two puppets using the sticks. She couldn’t wait to show me (hence the pajamas in the photo!)

This was a happy surprise to me – usually Gracie’s first item of kid business on a weekend morning is to turn on the computer or the TV. But instead, she had come into the art studio, looked through her supplies, and thought about the project and completed it herself.

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Then she told me about her grand plans… for a puppet theater. She wanted to build one (with dad’s help) and populate it with a variety of characters, all handmade using Sticky Sticks.

Gracie is pretty crafty, but this was something else entirely. This was a “Grand Scale Project” and one she is determined to complete. It’s not about TV characters or me suggesting ideas for her or her using images from other sources – this is 100% coming from her imagination and her hands.

I think just having a simple tool at her disposal that was easy to use (no parental assistance or consent required) and giving instant results (no waiting for glues to try, no time in between steps) empowered her to really keep imagining what she could do with the package of 25 Sticky Sticks she had in her possession.

The thing is, next to her desk sits a giant box of 1000 “craft sticks” that I purchased for her when she was old enough to use them. It remains unopened. She’s never shown interest in them, or making anything with them. However, craft sticks with the adhesive already attached – the Sticky Sticks – changed everything.

So, I am very happy with Sticky Sticks. Even though you might think “well, I can add my own adhesive to craft sticks” (and for the record- I tried and I couldn’t get any of my adhesives to stick to the wood) sometimes eliminating a step, either for you or your child, will really open up the floodgates of creativity.

I also realized that these sticks would be great for home decor projects and paper crafting projects BEYOND the realm of kids. I loved the idea of sticking one to the back of a photo and then plopping it into a cup or a vase- instant photo display!

You can keep the sticks plain or you can decorate them. They are nicely porous and will accept paints and watercolors. Gracie plans to wrap decorative and washi tape around hers, which I think is a pretty great idea.

The possibilities are endless, for kids *and* adults. Sometimes the really simple things in life can have a lot of impact. Sticky Sticks is a great example of that.

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Chel Micheline is a mixed-‐‑media artist and writer living in Southwest Florida. After receiving her Master's Degree in Media Studies in 1999, Chel spent several years as a graphic artist before deciding to focus on both writing and mixed media art. In addition to writing regular columns for several online and print publications, Chel spends significant time in her art studio working on jewelry design and various mixed media projects. In 1995, Chel began to design and maintain the website Gingerblue. Originally intended to be a multimedia art experiment, Gingerblue soon evolved into one of the very first personal journals on the internet, and also hosted several collaborative projects for other writers and artists. Over fifteen years later, Chel is still writing regularly at Gingerblue, pondering everything from paintbrushes to philosophy to life with her husband, Tom, and her daughter, Gracie.

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