So, there are some mums who absolutely love an afternoon of crafts with their children. Who have a natural ability to see the various uses for a cereal box and always have the recipe for paper mache in their mind – filed under ‘rainy day fun’. I am not one of those parents.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll get stuck in if homework demands it or the mood grabs my children but generally it’s not an activity you’ll see in my kitchen. Not just because I am creatively challenged and haven’t got a clue where to start but because the aftermath of an hour of painting leaves me needing a lie down in a dark room and don’t even get me started on glitter!
I hate the mess that comes with letting creativity loose and so when Little Brian (it’s a company not a person!) asked if I would like to try their no mess paint sticks I was keen to give them a go.
The sticks make some pretty pig promises – instant fun and less mess, suitable for all surfaces, convenient and easy to use. If anyone was going to give an honest review of these sticks of wonder it was my children so I agreed to receive some to try. Here’s the verdict.
All the fun. Less mess
Yes, I totally agree. I have never known my gang (my two sons, step son and step daughter) be so quiet. They were engrossed in their paintings and making recommendations on which colour to use next. They loved applying the paint sticks to damp sponges and adding the stamps to their free hand paintings. (Fear not creative virgins – home bargains sell sets of premade sponges for around 69p. No need to spend hours carving the potatoes!)
There were no water pots full of rapidly grey sludgy water trailing across the table from the paint brush (can you tell I’m not a fan?). The sticks simply roll up like a glue stick and glide effortlessly across the page. I would compare the texture of the paint to drawing with a lipstick – smooth and silky. (Please don’t try that at home. Lipsticks are expensive and not as easy to remove as paint sticks)
While the children enjoyed the sponge stamps, I released my inner Monet and tried smudging the paint with damp cotton wool. I really liked the resulting bleeding sunset on my page.
Easy and quick to set up and pack away
The paint sticks were out of the pack before the children were sitting around the table and they were packed away just as quickly as soon as we had finished. I just popped the lids on and replaced the sticks into the pack. No cleaning up and scrubbing dried paint off the table. Brilliant.
Compact portable and quick drying
The sticks are definitely something we will take with us on our travels. We often find ourselves in a caravan in Wales playing card games because of the unpredictable British weather so we all agreed that these would make a fantastic addition to the indoor play box without taking up much room at all.
The paints dried really quickly – so quick in fact that we were unable to blend some colours because we got distracted chatting so a top tip would be to blend it as soon as you can if you’re going for that effect. It really does look lovely. The metallic paints in particular revealed their shimmer more as they dried adding a little something extra to our art work.
Use on paper, board and even glass
We used the paint sticks on sketching paper and with sponges as I have mentioned. When I told the children that they were apparently suitable for drawing on windows, they all loved the idea of being graffiti artists for a few minutes on my patio doors. One child stood outside while the other drew an interpretation of their portrait on the inside. The images aren’t really clear because of the lighting but they all loved that they could draw on the glass and the paints were really easy to clean off afterwards!
My son Harry is autistic and can get frustrated at times. A couple of times, he banged the paint sticks onto his paper and ‘scribbled’ across the page. With paints, this would have resulted in splattered paint everywhere and a pot or two being knocked over but actually the effect he got from applying pressure with the paint sticks looked pretty cool. It was lovely to see him enjoying himself without having to be at his side constantly which meant I could paint with the others too. It also meant that I got to have a go at painting a picture myself which I found really relaxing.
I asked the children what their favourite aspect of the paint sticks were.
Bea (12) “I enjoyed using the sponges”
Harrison (9) “I like that you can use them on your windows and it just rubs off”
Oliver (12) “I like the way the paint is really smooth”
My gang are a tough crowd when it comes to reviews but they really enjoyed using the paint sticks and we would all highly recommend them for no mess – high fun entertainment! Thanks Little Brian.
I was sent the Little Brian paint sticks in exchange for my honest review.