Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Pencil Grip, Inc: Kwik Stix (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

Solid Tempera Paint Sticks; Paint with bright colors, no brush, no mess

We've done close to two hundred of reviews over the last few years.  Some have been well-loved while others have had a countdown clock until we could put them away.  However, before now I've never had a review product disappear from my hands before the delivery truck had even left the driveway!  As I picked up the box from the doorstep and waved to the "Package Man," I saw it was from The Pencil Grip, Inc. and knew it contained our Kwik Stix 12 pk.  I had the carton mostly open when the little boys elbowed their way in to see what was in the box. Before I could finish saying, "They're painting crayons!" they had run off to the basement with them.  By the time I tossed the outer box in the recycling bin and caught up to them, Jude and Damien already had put them in action!

Kwik Stix are solid tempera paint sticks -- think "poster paint meets glue stick."  They are chunky enough for small hands but easily manipulated to create thinner lines with the edges of the stick.  (After 15 years of slogging to occupational and speech therapy appointments, my first thought was, "Wow, I wonder if they have these at duPont!")  As you use what's at the end, just "turn up" the bottom to expose more paint.

Suggested media for painting with these includes poster- or cardboard, wood, and canvas.  The paint applied with the same feel as watercolor crayons, so I offered to let the boys use the "good" art paper (Canson Cold Press 140 lb for watercolors) for their drawings.  (Usually, we just use basic copy paper for "just feel like drawing" artwork.)

The colors are brilliant and intense, just like traditional tempera/poster paints, and Kwik Stix dry in an astoundingly fast 90 seconds!  If you're impatient but like to layer colors, this helps speed things along. Fast drying also means that the chance for smearing across sleeve cuffs and shirt fronts is significantly reduced. (These have a distinct advantage over the watercolor crayons here!)

The 12 pack comes with primary, secondary, and neutral colors, so there's plenty of variety.  There are also six-stick packages of primary/neutrals, neon colors, and metallic colors; for classroom or big family use, there is a 96 pack that includes eight each of twelve colors. Normally when I buy paint, I stick to primary colors, because we can usually make secondary and tertiary colors with them.  However, because these are sticks, you can only blend the layered paint, not pre-mix them to create a uniform second color.  You also need to work very quickly, because they dry so quickly.  I found that sometimes it helped to go over the blending with the white stick, to help "re-wet" and smudge the paint, but generally, you can't mix colors - only gently smooth sharp edges.

I can't say how excited I am that these are not messy like regular paint. Even purposely smudging the paint, my fingers stayed relatively clean.  The little bit of paint that did transfer onto my hand washed off easily with generic hand soap and water. No technicolor fingers!

Generally speaking, except for Celia's acrylic paints for Art Club and a few random Sharpies,  I don't buy art supplies that are not labeled "Washable."  Damien has even tried to pick out a new box of crayons at the store, and turned around and put them back -- without being told -- because he realized the box didn't say they were washable.  These paints technically aren't "washable," but I was willing to give them a chance because they dry so quickly.  I figured with pushed up or short sleeves and quick drying time, they might not be so bad.

As I passed by the craft supplies in the basement, I spied a piece of muslin and had an idea.  Now, I would hope that the boys wouldn't be purposely wiping paint on their shirts.  However, with these boys, you never really know!  So, in the name of laundry science, I smeared and I scrubbed.

Not bad.  With dish detergent (Dawn, to be precise) and some scrubbing, most of the color came out. Some of the more intense colors had remnants, though. I'm comfortable letting the boys use these with indirect supervision (me in the room, but not hovering), and if they happen to get a little on them accidentally, immediately washing the garment.  I can't guarantee it will come out, but I don't think they're like Celia's paints where once the paint is on the shirt, it's done for.

We are thrilled with Kwik Stix from The Pencil Grip, Inc.  Even after several uses by artists with heavy hands, there is still plenty of paint left in the tube.  While they are not the same as a traditional pot-and-brush painting style, they're a less-messy way to work on fine motor skills. I'm not surprised that these are a great occupational therapy tool -- after all, The Pencil Grip, Inc. is known for their ergonomic pencil grips that have been a OT staple for nearly 25 years! These paint sticks are going to become a permanent addition to our art supply box!

To find out more about Kwik Stix, follow the Pencil Grip, Inc. on social media, or click the banner below to read more Crew reviews!

Facebook: https://facebook.com/thepencilgrip
Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/KwikStixPaint/
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Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review

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