Tuesday, 21 February 2012


I am a big fan of Ravensburger Jigsaw Puzzles so I was very interested to take a look at their new watercolour painting sets, Aquarelle, that won Best New Toy in the creative category at the 2012 London Toy Fair.

Aquarelle is an innovative variation of traditional painting by numbers. The sets come in three sizes; mini, midi and maxi and in a variety of different designs including animals, flowers and city scenes. I was sent a mini set to review with a rose design.

The set was nicely presented in a box without wasteful excess packaging and included a mixing palette, fine paintbrush and the three primary colours that can be mixed dropwise to create the full range of shades required to complete the project. The instructions give advice on how to add water to make the colours lighter and more opaque to create colour graduation effects and how to mix the different shades.

There is an example of a finished picture for guidance but the project is fairly open to creativity within the constraints of the image to give the potential for a limitless range of results.

Unlike oils and acrylics that are used on traditional painting by numbers sets, watercolours dry quickly and should be applied quickly to maintain a wet working edge and avoid unwanted dried dark edges. This means that beautiful results can be achieved relatively quickly.

The images are printed onto the card with colour repellent lines which guarantees that the finished piece will be crisp with no loss of detail.

Our watercolour masterpiece

As a general rule, I tend to encourage my children towards crafts that are messy and spontaneous rather than the prescribed versions. However, for children that are more results driven, this is a perfect way to be creative yet be sure of a high standard of finished product. I did find the little bit that I was permitted to do (small blue flowers top centre!) was very relaxing and I can imagine an adult market for Aquarelle as stress relief.

This particular rose design has the potential for a perfect home made mother's day gift. (If you're reading this mum, on March 18th,  just remember whose hand it was that painted the little blue flowers top centre!)

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