Being a bit of an artsy fartsy type craft supplies are a must in our house. Lots and lots of craft supplies. Everything from beeswax or soy crayons to clay and modeling beeswax to watercolors to origami paper to paint to pastels and every other kind of crafting supplies you can find we love to craft. On days when yucky weather keeps us inside one of our favorite things to do is pull out our supplies, pick a subject and all release our inner artist in creating our own piece. Sharing our little gallery of creations is so much fun. We tend towards mostly natural materials with our supplies, a desire to avoid synthetics and to enjoy the beauty the earth offers us. It doesn’t hurt too that if on the off chance a kid eats some of the art and crafts supplies I don’t have to freak out that it’s going to kill them. Not that my kids ever eat things like arts and crafts supplies.
“Each of our watercolors sets include hand-mixed food-grade paints, 2 basic paintbrushes, and a recipe for making more paint later! Our recipe has been extensively tested by our own children and we believe you will be exceptionally pleased with the vibrant colors in each set.”
Now, I have to confess something here: I thought these sounded great and I was really looking forward to trying them but I had quite the cocky moment when I first agreed. Sure, I thought, I can give these a try. The girls and I will have fun reviewing them together. However, I don’t need them, why would I need food-grade paints? It’s not like my kids have ever eaten paint before, no, not my girls. I’ve never really worried about my kids deciding to suck on their paint brush or something while painting. It just seemed like the color on the paper would be too entertaining. But there’s sure to be somebody with a kid that wants to suck on their paint brushes that will be relieved to discover these paints and know they are safe for their child with the long lasting oral stage. Even if don’t need them. No sir-ee, I don’t need food-grade paints.
The paint set was shipped quickly, unfortunately during a very hectic time for us so we had to wait a bit to use them since I needed to write a review about them. Eventually we found the time and set up to try out the new paints. We had a good time, all of us trying the paints and sharing our opinions on them. Squiggle Bug enthusiastically set to work, commenting about each color by exclaiming “Look mommy, it’s so pretty colors!” I made 2 of my own paintings deciding to start out with wet-on-wet, floating color onto an already wet piece of watercolor paper. The effect was very gentle color transitions and very pale hues. I liked it but found it difficult to add more colors for vibrancy. The next one I did was with the traditional dry paper and of course the colors and line definition were much stronger this way though still a nice transparent watercolor.
It was as I was happily painting my second piece (that may be a stretch, it wasn’t exactly a “piece” by most artistic standards) and sharing the paints with Squiggle Bug across the table that I looked up to see how she was enjoying the paints. She was enjoying them quite a bit, it appeared, her page full of color and her mouth full of… paint brush? Wouldn’t you know it, I looked up from my own painting to see Squiggle Bug sucking on a paintbrush loaded with paint. Never underestimate the timing of a 3 year old.
Can you believe I managed to not react but just pick up the camera? Oh yeah, I am that good. I’ve been doing this mom thing long enough to now how to snap a terrible, dark grainy picture of potentially embarrassing moments for future blackmail opportunities.
There was a moment where the big girls freaked that she was eating the paints. Of course. I hadn’t told the girls that these paints were safe to eat, the point wasn’t to eat them, the point was to paint with them. They did calm down though and after some tears and giggles we were all back to happily painting.
So now I’m going to let the experts weigh in. Because, really, who cares what I think, it’s the smallish people that really will be using them. According to…
Earth Baby, 12 years old: “My favorite part is that the paint dries quickly so you can put it away quickly. I also like the nice soft colors. The paint is nice, it lifts easily for more detail work or if you make a mistake. The colors are very pale and you have to do layers of paint to get a lot of color. I like the colors, they are cheery colors but I wish the colors were more vibrant because if you use even just a little too much water the colors get hard to see. It is easy to dip into the colors. I wish the box wasn’t plastic but it’s recyclable so it’s ok. (She’s called Earth Baby for a reason.) I had fun painting with them and I didn’t mind that I had to use layers of paint.”
The Storyteller, 9 years old: the paints are “Awesome! They’re very watercolory. I like them. They are very artistic. They make me feel like a professional artist. I just want more! They are very, very childproof. I don’t like that I can’t open the box.”
Lolie, 7 years old: “They’re cool! But too light, too pale and sometimes hard to tell what color it is going to be on the paper. I’d like more color. I still like them though.”
Squiggle Bug, 3 years old: “Good. I paint mommy and daddy pretty. Can I do another picture?”
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Because I swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
What I liked
Rae sent us the super cool boxed set, 7 colors in a nifty little set of boxes that allow you to unlock as many different compartments as you’d like at a time. Included were 2 paintbrushes and a tiny rolled up scroll with the recipe and directions for making your own set of paints. The locking mechanism on the box set is fantastic for preventing that nasty paint blending of all the colors getting mixed up. I LOVE this! I also love that she included the recipe and directions for making our own set of paints when we run out. Very unusual for a business to do that and risk not getting return customers as a result. Funny thing is, since I know I won’t probably make my own, it gave me confidence in what is in the paints and I do plan on returning to order more. The colors were very pretty and with the set of 7 enough to do a full rainbow. They blend well to mix and create other colors. I’ve been impressed with how long the paint lasts as well, we’ve been hard on them, 5 of us painting from them at one time but they hold up well and seem to last forever. I did discover that it’s best to let them air dry when you are finished so any water can evaporate.
What I didn’t like
The colors weren’t as vibrant as I would have liked. At first this disappointed me but as we painted the girls talked about how nice it was to have some paints with a different range of color. The paints are a little grainy, particularly at first but that seemed to improve as we used them. I also didn’t like that I only got one set of photos of us painting off the camera before it was stolen and lost forever. There were pictures of the paintings and everyone working that I had wanted to show you. But that obviously has nothing to do with the paints even though I didn’t like that it happened at all.
Pretty colors, a bit too pale compared to what I prefer but that’s not necessarily a bad thing and lent itself well to a sort of Waldorf-style of painting. I love that they are food-grade and safe as well as being handmade from a small business. The boxed set is a great way to keep the paints clean and true to their color, one of my favorite features. Originally at $12/box, $7.50/pallet I thought the price was rather steep but since they don’t seem to run out and she gives the recipe with directions on how to make your own it’s really a bargain. For the price they can’t be beat as safe, food-grade, handmade paints. We’ve been using them for 2 months now and they still look brand new.