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Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY – Creativity for Kids Kits

Reported by Christina Hammond

Summer is officially upon us, and that means bored kids.  Lots of bored kids.  Even though my own Chaos Twins are still little, preschool is over and I have already heard “Moooommmmmy!  I’m soooooooooooooo bored!:  The first time I heard this, I panicked and knew then and there why my parents hated summer vacation.
 

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Images from Creativityforkids.com

Enter the solution:  Faber-Castell’s Creativity for Kids kits.  Everything you need to keep the kids entertained, all in one box!  

We were given two kits to try out and we had a blast with them.  The Sparkling 3D Paint Activity Kit (MSRP $21.99) and The Complete Tie Dye Kit (MSRP $24.99) kept us busy for hours.  Granted, these kits are for kids a bit older than mine, but they loved helping Mommy “get crafty.”

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These kits are two of the larger ones you can get, and have plenty to keep the kids entertained.  The Sparkly Paint kit can be used to make window clings, sun catchers, little 3D sculptures and jewelry.  We made window clings, sun catchers and a fun little pennant banner for the bedroom mirror. 
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To begin, you need to snip the ends of each bottle of paint and open them to remove a little paper plug.  Some of the plugs in our bottles had folded onto themselves and were floating down in the paint.  A toothpick remedied the situation.  After you’ve chosen your design and put it in the clear sleeve, you need to paint the outline in, with either the black or silver outliner.  After you do this you have to wait until it’s dry.  The kids kind of lost interest after this because waiting is hard for toddlers, but older kids will understand.IMG_0276IMG_0274
Here we ran into a couple of problems with the paint.  About half of the bottles of paint had an issue of some kind.  A couple of the bottles had splits in them and the darker colors (for some reason I couldn’t remedy) would not squeeze out of the bottles through the tip, but rather through the screw lid.  While I was able to deal with this, kids might get a bit frustrated.IMG_0282
Allow your design to dry and watch as the colors become clear and sparkly!  Peel off of the sheet protector carefully.  If you didn’t make sure your color was touching the outline while painting, your design will fall apart.  IMG_0283
Stick them to the window, and enjoy the sparkles!IMG_0284
We did a little freehand work next.  I drew out the sun catchers on the provided acetate pieces.  We like these the best because the colors seem much more vibrant for some reason.  IMG_0475
After a particularly grumpy day from my daughter, I made up a little banner to stick to her mirror that says “SMILE” on it.  A gentle reminder to start the day on a good foot. IMG_0474
We really like this kit and have plans to really use it up.  Even given the issues with the bottles, it was so fun!

Another fun “rainy day” project was The Complete Tie Dye kit.  This kit contains everything you need to make a tie dyed XL TShirt that you can cut up and turn into so many different things.  The awesome part of this kit is that everything is premeasured, no soda-ash soaking (dangerous for kids) and everything you need to keep the work clean (smock, table cloth,  gloves).  YAY!

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The gloves are good and stretchy.  The table cloth could have been a bit bigger, but I was glad for it.  The little smock/apron was nice to have on hand as well.

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Here you can see the shirt already soaked and little dishes where I used the primary colors provided to mix up some custom colors (orange, green and purple).  I was trying to get as many colors in this as possible, knowing we’d be cutting up the shirt to make other things.


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After soaking in the dye out in the sun for a few hours, the shirt was vibrant and ummm… ugly.
IMG_0540But that was my fault, and I’m cutting it up, remember?  I let it dry out in the sun after rinsing and then threw it in the dryer on high heat to really try to set the dye.  We have tie-dyed clothes before and always have trouble getting the dye stay on the shirt and not our other laundry.   I decided to make a little necklace and bracelet set for my little girl, and then used the rest of the shirt to make a little skirt for her.  Instructions are included for all of these projects (and many more!) and the best part is that if there is any sewing involved at all, it’s minimal and can be done by hand.  YAY!  I can just imagine all the fun accessories an older girl could come up with.

I think my favorite par of this project is the little lettuce edge I was able to give the skirt by just running my fingernail around the edge.  The little lady heartily approves of it as well, and won’t let me take it off of her for better shots!
IMG_0543We had alot of (MESSY) fun with this kit.  Be sure to keep the gloves on at all times, even when rinsing the shirt.  I came out with a nice pair of green hands after rinsing!


Pros:

  • everything you need in one box!
  • entertainment for those summer “Mom!  I’M BORED!”
  • endless, open creativity.
  • great for slumber parties

Cons:

  • the 3D paint can be used to make jewelry, but instructions say it’ll stain skin and clothes.  Be aware of this
  • they are a bit pricey
  • quite a few bottles in the Sparkly Paint kit were defective in some way, easily remedied/dealt with, but younger kids might not handle it well.
  • both kits require “wait time” and that can hold kids back a little.              
GIVEAWAY
The folks over at Creativity for Kids are giving away kits to two lucky readers. To enter simply answer any of the questions below in the Comments section of this article on our website. One comment per person, please.

Have you tried any of the Creativity for Kids kits?  Which would would you like to try?  Be sure to come back and show us what you created, we’d love to see it!

Winners are chosen at random. Contest closes Sunday, June 12th at 6pm CST. Good Luck!

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY- I Love to Create: Tulip Fashion Kits

Reported by Christina Hammond

So, it’s summer.  Have your kids shouted from the other room “Hey Mom!  I’m bored!  I am sooooooooooo bored!” ?   Or do you have a group of girls coming over for a slumber party and you’re at a loss for entertaining them?

To help combat the summer “boredom blues,” we were sent I Love to Create by Tulip’s Tie Dye Kit in Moody Blues, Body-Art Glitter Stencil Set, Bright Fabric Markers and 3D Color Changing Paint.
We had a blast using all of these kits.  Of course, the first kit the wanted to try was the Glitter Body Tattoos.    IMG_0480The kit has everything you need to get started.  9 stencils, glue, brushes and tons of glitter.   IMG_0482

The glue comes in a bottle with a nice soft applicator.  There is a slight odor to the glue, but it dissipates quickly as it dries.  My kids have a ton of allergies, and it didn’t bother them at all. 

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Check out that bling!  It’s fine, super shiny and pretty! 
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The stencils are easy to use, and stick well.  Be careful with the more detailed designs because you can tear them while removing them with the paper backing.   Voila!  Butterflies!
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We mixed colors with great results.  The LittleLady won’t let us wash it off, but it does come off pretty easily with soap and water.  If you want to make sure it really comes off fast, use a wipe with rubbing alcohol in it – swipes it right off!  I can see using this kit at camp or for Halloween.  A Glitter Fairy!  How cool!
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“Hey Mom!  Daddy keeps calling me David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust.  I don’t get it!”

Next we used the Tie-Dye Kit in “Moody Blues” to create some shirts.  The box says that the kit includes enough dye to make 8 shirts, but we only got one toddler shirt and some of an adult XL shirt.  Probably not a big deal, because I am known for overdoing these things!
IMG_0496Everything you need is in the kit.  Rubberbands, gloves and premeasured dyes.  When added water to the bottles of dye, be sure they are closed all the way before shaking.  Ask my counters how we know this!  🙂
 IMG_0497I would maybe pick up better gloves next time.  The kits are meant for the younger set, but they were too big even for my big hands. IMG_0498The instructions didn’t say to presoak the shirt, so we gave it a spiral spin and secured it with rubberbands.  IMG_0499
After applying the dye in alternating colors, I simply wrapped the garbage bag we dyed on around it and tossed it out in the yard in the sun for the day.  Once ready, I rinsed it and laid it back out in the sun to dry.  Once dry, I gave it a run in the dryer on HOT to really try to set the colors.
We have a Buzz LightYear freak in our house, so I used my YUDU to silk screen an image of his hero on the shirt.IMG_0547 I think it came out really well and can’t wait to make more!
Next we tried out the 3D Color Change Paint.  Being a child of the Eighties, I have memories of Hyper-color t-shirts.  The color change paint is similar, but it changes with UV exposure, not heat.   IMG_0501Before UV exposure

IMG_0502Can you see that?  It’s subtle, but the colors have changed!
Admittedly, I only made a handful of t-shirts with this paint because it was so cool. 
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First up I drew out the name of a certain little Blue-Eyed Blondie named Haley.  I used Tulip’s 3D Puffy Paint to outline and then filled in each letter with a different design.  IMG_0507
Next I drew out my favorite cartoon character, LittleMiss Sunshine.  UV paint, sunshine…  Get it?  I kill me! IMG_0538 IMG_0539Can you see the difference?  It’s there – subtle in the case of LitteMiss Sunshine because we painted it on with a brush rather than in “3D”
Here’s a silly little video I shot this morning showing the Chaos Twins wearing the shirts, going from indoors to out and just how quickly they change.  There’s no sound because… well… we live in the WindyCity and it was windy.  Go figure.

Finally, we tried out the Fabric Markers in “Bright” colors.
IMG_0549 IMG_0286This sweet little tote was created completely by the 4 year old for her preschool teacher, Miss Mary.  As you can see, the colors show up really well (even on the taupe fabric) and are easy enough for the little ones to use.  Just remember, they are permanent!

Here are my creations- I had a couple of silk screened totebags on hand that I use for groceries.  They needed a little more…something.  So I added a “Peace, Man!” to them.  The colors set really well.IMG_0550 Remember to put something between layers because the colors will bleed.  I can see myself using these to label our pool towels, gym bags and backpacks for school.  Oh, and plain white canvas sneakers!  How cool would that be?

Pros:

  • everything you need in one kit or set
  • easy to use
  • well written instructions
  • fairly affordable

Cons:

  • the stencils in the tattoo kit are a bit fragile, so be careful
  • the tie-dye kit didn’t dye as many shirts as it said it would
  • they can be messy, but that’s the fun part, right?

Head to the nearest craft store and pick up one or all of these kits by Tulip.  The kits are all reasonably priced so you can pick up a few of each and have enough for everybody.  Best of all, I can totally see the Bright Fabric Markers and Body Tattoos being used at Vacation Bible School, Cheerleading Camp or even Scouts gatherings.


GIVEAWAY
The folks over at I Love To Create are giving away a Tulip kit to one lucky reader. To enter simply answer any of the questions below in the Comments section of this article on our website. One comment per person, please.

Have you tried any of the I Love to Create by Tulip kits?  Which ones would you like to try?  Be sure to come back and show us what you make with them, we love to see it!

Winners are chosen at random. Contest closes Sunday, June 12th at 6pm CST. Good Luck!


Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Simply Screen by Plaid (article 2 of 2)

Reported by Erika Martin

I’ve always loved the concept of screen printing, and it’s something I’ve wanted to try for a while, but the set up really intimidated me, so it’s something I’ve never done. When the opportunity came along to review the Simply Screen system by Plaid, I was all over it! This system doesn’t take much space or any high-priced equipment. You don’t have to worry about making a screen and expensive squeegies. Plaid has thought of everything and made it really easy to create screen printed projects with just two simple purchases. Seriously, you won’t believe how easy it is to do this until you see it and fortunately for you, I’ve had lots of fun playing and experimenting with the Simply Screen products; I’ll show you how easy it is!
Plaid was so generous to send along two stencils, glitter, paint brushes and paint. They couldn’t have picked more perfect stencils for me, too! The peace sign and the tree are just my style and my daughter loves them, too.
When Craft Critique reporters went to CHA (Craft and Hobby Association), they took a great video demo of the Plaid booth showing how to use the new Simply Screen products.
Each stencil package comes with an 8.5″ x 11″ inch screen stencil, a squeegee applicator, and complete instructions on the inside of the stencil packaging. I created a bunch of projects and tried different fabrics to see what worked best. The packaging states, “Print on tees, tanks, hoodies, andbags, tote bags and most other fabric items.”

First, I started out with a canvas child’s apron that I picked up at the local dollar store. I pulled the screen stencil away from its backing and then put the backing aside to be able to put the stencil back on after it was used and cleaned.

The canvas was a bit bumpy so the stencil didn’t stick down as well as I wanted it to and I used the dry squeegee to try to press down the stencil to the canvas fabric as best as I could.

You can see in this photo here that the stencil had trouble sticking to the canvas.

I applied a line of paint at the top of the stencil, above the design.

I then used the squeegee to pull the paint down and over the stencil. I needed to add a little more paint to fully cover my stencil, but that was really easy to do. Each fabric holds and absorbs paint differently so you might find that something like a raw canvas will need more paint due to its absorbancy, while something like a t-shirt will take less.
Because the stencil didn’t stick completely to the canvas fabric, the stencil slipped and moved a little while I was pulling the paint across it with the squeegee. I resolved to use some masking tape along the edges of the stencil for the next project.
After I was done with the paint application, I pulled the stencil away to reveal the image. The peace sign stencil has a bit of a rough look and grunge to it to begin with so the paint that seeped under the stencil during the slippage wasn’t a big deal and just added to the grunge look. However, if I had used a stencil with a more intricate design, this would have been a problem. Our kitty, Ozzy, always has to check everything out, especially when I’m working on the floor at his level.

I found that the same problem of slippage and not sticking happened on this tidy-up basket that I got at a home-decor shop.

I put masking tape around the edges of the stencil but because the stencil had trouble adhereing, there was a lot of paint leakage under the design.

Next, I screen printed on a t-shirt and used the tree stencil. Because there’s so many fun designs on this stencil, I wanted to try painting the designs with different colors. Due to the paint bleeding through on the apron, I decided to use a piece of the packaging to put inside the t-shirt to keep from any paint bleeding through the back of the shirt.

I had no problems sticking the stencil down onto the t-shirt. There were no gaps between the stencil and the t-shirt. I used different sized Plaid paint brushes and various Simply Screen paint colors to fill in the designs on the stencil.
Here’s a view of the finished paint job before removing the stencil.
And here’s a view of the design after removing the stencil. There were a few spots that needed to be filled in with a paint brush and some of the intricate letter designs didn’t come through as well as I would have hoped, but my friend and I were able to tweak them with a paint brush.

Here’s the completed t-shirt.

And here’s my friend, Angel, modeling the finished shirt for me. The first washing of this shirt turned out just fine. The color stayed bright and vivid and nothing came off of the shirt. Same as with the second go through the washer.

Next up was a shirt for my 11-year-old daughter. Peace signs are the in-thing right now at school and she loves sparkles so we used the Simply Screen Foil & Glitter Adhesive and the Simply Screen Glitter.

I adhered the stencil to the t-shirt and then applied a line of Simply Screen Foil & Glitter Adhesive along the top of the stencil.

Using the squeegee, I pulled the adhesive down the stencil, just like I did with the paint on the previous t-shirt.

I pulled the stencil off the t-shirt and applied the glitter.
My daughter and I liked the look of the four colors of glitter mixed together so we moved the shirt around to mix them.

We shook off the excess glitter and let the design cure for 24 hours. It’s important to let any designs cure for 24 hours, whether they’re done with glitter, foil or paint; this is also listed in the instructions.
As per the instructions, I heat set all of the designs after letting the paint cure for 24 hours. I used my iron on the cotton setting (no steam) and used a cloth in between the iron and the design.

To get any stray pieces of glitter off of the t-shirt, I hand washed it and let it line dry. And here she is, wearing her new glitter t-shirt. She loves it, even though she looks scared in the photo.

Oooooh, look at the sparkles!

My daughter and I did a couple more t-shirts. This t-shirt was done using three colors and pulling them down over the stencil with the squeegee.

The next one was done completely by my daughter. She chose 5 different colors to use and applied them with a paint brush (we added a 5th color after this photo was taken.)


She got a little bit off the edge of the stencil so we fixed it by turning it into a painted heart. Like I always tell her, “There are no mistakes; only changes in design.”


I’m always looking for something fun to make my daughter when it comes to clothing or accessories. I made an orange t-shirt for her and used the three colors she wanted but instead of squeegeeing them straight down, I used a wave action as I pulled the squeegee down for a cool effect.


She recently asked me to make a skirt for her upcoming choral concert at school this month and she told me she wanted it to be springy and it needed purple, green and yellow in it. I cut some fabric from my stash and decided to turn them into pockets to put on her skirt (which is the Insa skirt from the Sewing Clothes Kids Love book that I reviewed last spring).

Notice how her t-shirt matches her skirt?


She’s so stylin’!

I also created a pillow case for my daughter by grabbing one of the plain cases from the linen closet and dressed it up with a quick screen printing.

My last project is a wall hanging that I did for my daughter’s bedroom. She enjoys color, design and she especially likes it when it’s up on her bedroom wall.
I started out with a piece of Roc-Lon multipurpose fabric (which I reviewed for Craft Critique last summer) and cut it to fit the size of the tree stencil and then pressed the stencil in place.

I used paint brushes to color in the designs on the stencil.

I added some fabric backing and a few embellishments to finish it off. I sewed a sleeve to add a dowel and voila!

So, what’s my take on Simply Screen by Plaid? I had a blast using it, even though a couple of projects didn’t turn out quite like I wanted them to, but that was likely due to the type of fabric I was working with. My stencils got quite a work out but they’re still sticky on the backside and have plenty more uses in them. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more stencils and I’m looking forward to creating more screen printed art. Simply Screen is really easy to use and great for a fun family project.

Pros:
  • Great price points for stencils and paints (MSRP for paints: $3.00, MSRP for stencils: $6.00).
  • Stencils are self-adhesive and reusable up to 20 times. That’s just 30 cents per use!
  • Lots of paint choices.
  • Paint, glitter and foil effects are all possible with the Simply Screen system.
  • No need for expensive set up. You can make a fabulous screen printing under $10. All you need is a stencil (which comes with the squeegee applicator) and a bottle of Simply Screen paint.
  • You can use paintbrushes for more detailed painting effects.
Cons:
  • Stencils don’t stick to all fabrics (stencil didn’t stick well to raw/textured canvas and pressed fiber fabrics) and this caused the stencil to slip around while applying paint and the paint seeped under the stencil.
Giveaway!
Our friends at Plaid have provided us with $50 prize packs for 2 of our lucky readers. Just leave a comment answering the following question to be entered to win!

Would you try this product? What kind of event would you screen print t-shirts for?

One comment per person, per article, please. Winner will be selected on Saturday, June 4, 2011.

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!