When I was pregnant with Piglet I had all sorts of visions of the kind of mum I would be. 3 years on some of those things have come true, others not so much. But one area of parenting I never even dreamed of was being a crafty mum. I just can’t handle the mess that comes with gluing and painting etc. It just wasn’t my forte, and I had concluded that nursery could handle that aspect!
What I didn’t bank on is how much Piglet would love painting. He enjoys it at nursery but I knew I was going to have to bite the bullet and give it a try at home. We were sent some Little Brian Paint Sticks to try out and see if they can convert this paint hating mum with promises of mess free fun.
First up was the Paint Sticks Classic Art Station. I was immediately drawn to it as I thought it looked like a great compact set up where we could also store the paint sticks. It is a double sided art station, with 1 side for chalk and one for paint, and includes 6 Classic Paint Sticks, 6 Chalk Sticks, 10 sheets of paper, and a duster.
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I found it quite hard to get the art station open at first. It doesn’t come with any instructions and I was wary of breaking it as I worked out how to open it up. I thought the chalk side was really cute and I liked the 6 little chalk sticks to use on it. There are slots on the outside of the art station to put the chalks in and keep them accessible when you are busy creating your masterpiece. The duster didn’t initially work at clearly the chalk, but a used a little water to make it a bit damp and it soon wiped the chalkboard clean.
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If I’m being totally honest, I didn’t find it the most secure and the art station tended to slip when drawing on the chalk side. It would benefit from a way of clipping it open, as Piglet did really struggle. However, it is designed for children aged 3 and over and he is only 3 and a half so it is possible that older kids may find it easier to use.
Once I changed it round to the painting side things really got going! The clip holds paper, but there does seem to be a “perfect” number of sheets to put in – only 1 makes it fall down but so does too many! I found 4 sheets was perfect. I gave it a go first while Piglet was having an impromptu nap, but once he was awake he was desperate to get started.
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I was amazed that painting with the paint stick is genuinely mess free (assuming they are only used on the easel/paper…… they’re not complete miracle workers!). The sticks are similar to glue sticks and you just wind them up and down. Piglet found getting the lids off and winding them up a bit difficult, but that suited me fine as it stopped him having hundreds open all at once. As he gets older I’m sure he’ll be strong enough to get them off, or that they will loosen with regular use to make it a bit easier.
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The paints are super smooth, silky almost. No water is needed for washing brushes or anything like that and the paint dries in less than a minute. It has meant that Piglet’s paintings are no longer just big splodges of brown on ripped paper as the paint colours have mixed and the wet brush has torn through the soggy paper. They are actually usable pieces of errrr abstract art!
Packing up the art station was really easy. There is a section on the front which I have used to store the chalk sticks. When you fold back the easel there is loads of storage space to keep the paint sticks that come with the set…….. and also lots more! We have lots of paint sticks so I tossed them all in and closed it down, all tided neatly for using another day.
As well as the art station we were sent a 24 pack of assorted paint sticks. There are 12 classic colours, which to be honest is all that you would really need. It covers all the basics and is a fab little selection.
However, you also get 6 metallic colours and 6 day glow colours too. This is really where the paint sticks come in to their own in my opinion. The day glow colours are my favourite, offering bright and vibrant colours to make their paintings stand out. The metallic colours remind me of Christmas and sparkles and I’m sure I’ll be pulling them out for use on this years Christmas cards.
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If you don’t fancy a full art station then there is also the option of a bucket of 20 paint sticks. Perfect for transporting your sticks around, the bucket has a handle for storing the paint sticks on the go. The bucket contains 12 Classic Colours, 6 Day Glow Colours and 2 of the Metallic Colours – Silver & Gold.
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I had my doubts when I agreed to try out the paint sticks, slightly regretting the fact that I was allowing dreaded paint in to the house. But I am a convert! Paint is now on the cards whenever Piglet wants it, knowing that there is no set up required and no fear of mess.
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