For reasons that I will go into later, I was slightly disappointed with a craft set from Cool Create that I was sent to review. However, I can't deny how delighted my two little ones were with the finished product that they made. With great sincerity, Addy proudly exclaimed I never knew I was such a good art maker!
The Japanese inspired craft set is called Suteki.
It comes with a work station which I always think is a good idea to keep everything neat and organised. It has enough vibrantly coloured paint, white card and multi layered stencils to make three different Japanese style pictures and three frames to display each of your finished art works. The novelty of this set is that it also contains a golden Ninja stamper (which I thought looked rather like an Oscar). The golden Ninja has two detachable sponges with which to apply the paint to the stencils.
The first of my disappointment with this set is that the golden Ninja only has two detachable sponges. Each of the pictures requires three stencilled layers to complete it. Three different coloured paint and only two sponges meant that one sponge needed to be washed and dried before work could continue. It seemed an unnecessary aggravation for the sake of including one more sponge.
Addy chose the design that she wanted to do and I helped her sort out the three stencils that overlay each other to build the finished picture.
She placed the card in the work station and lay the first stencil on top. The card and stencil fit snuggly into the work station so they do not move around too much during the stamping. She squeezed the first colour of paint into one of the paint holes on the workstation and then put the golden Ninja to work stamping the paint onto the stencil. She really enjoyed this part.
She actually enjoyed the next step even more - lifting the stencil to reveal the design on the card. She was quite thrilled with what she had achieved. Of course, without the second and third layers, the picture did not yet look like anything recognisable!
The instructions do warn that each stencil has a front side. You can use them the right way or the reverse way but it is vital that you use the same orientation for each of the three layers to ensure that everything is correctly aligned. We knew this to be the case but still made a mistake with our middle layer. Addy didn't seem to mind at all that her picture was not quite right but it was another little annoyance for me. It would have been really useful to have the front side clearly marked.
Between layers, we needed to wait for the paint to dry. Waiting for anything when you are not quite six years old can be challenging! Addy took her work station outside and held it up to the sun to speed up the drying time.
The final layer turned out a bit smudgy because the sponge that I had washed and dried to reuse, wasn't as 'dried' as I'd thought but Addy was delighted when the finished picture was revealed.
Whatever Addy does, little brother Dylan thinks he can do too. We let him have a turn. Unfortunately, the sponge fell off the golden Ninja (another disappointment) so we had to resort to holding it which was a lot messier.
Dylan was even less patient about waiting for the paint to dry between layers which did result in some of the damp card sticking to the underside of the stencil and coming away when the stencil was lifted. He didn't seem to notice the imperfections and was very pleased with himself, especially when the artwork was framed.
Despite my reservations about this kit, the kids were definitely happy customers!