The Paint with Wool kit includes four 4X4 inch wool felt squares that are off-white, lots of strips of colorful wool roving, and 3 needle felting needles, and a basic instruction sheet. This kit is geared for ages 8 and up, but I tried it out on both my 9 year old son and my 5 year old daughter.
So, first a bit about needle felting. It’s the process of working together wool material using a long, thin barbed needle. (The point is…um, pointy, but you really can’t feel the barbs on the side.) By poking the needle up and down through the roving and the felt, the two are rather magically woven together to create a new fabric.
As an adult, I’ve been intrigued by both wet and needle felting, and was delighted by the prospect of children being able to take part, too!
I sat my kiddos down, explained the basic concept (which is outlined in the instruction sheet) and told them to have at it. Like the other ArtTerro kits I’ve reviewed so far (the Bead and Wire Kit and the Bubble Wand Kit,) the instructions basically give you a technique to try- not a project to complete. The idea of an “open-ended” kit is that your participants will use their own imagination and focus on enjoying the process of making, rather than focusing on getting a finished project “right.”
While I’m in LOVE with this idea, my son had some trouble. We went through 10 minutes of “Well, what do I MAKE?” before I suggested making something for his sister that got him started. My little one, however, knew just what she wanted to make and got right to work.
Now, part of needle felting is that the needle actually has to go through the roving and down into the felt to be successful. The directions state that you can place your work on an old mousepad or piece of carpet so that the needle can move freely through the material. However, all three of us were a little frustrated with how slowly the process was taking. Since we couldn’t poke the needle down far enough for the barbs to do their job efficiently, it was taking a lot of poking! I finally broke down and pulled out an old synthetic-bristle hairbrush and placed the felting on top of that. OH! It made a huge difference and the process went a lot more smoothly after that.
Here is a picture of my little one, working away:
Again, the kit states ages 8 and up- but with close supervision, I found it perfectly safe for my 5 year old. She did poke herself once, but it wasn’t even sharp enough to draw blood.She loved the idea of painting with wool and since our initial playtime with the kit, she’s made 2 more pieces!
Like the other ArtTerro kits I’ve reviewed, at $16.95 MSRP this one’s a great value. You get 3 needles, so you’ve got spares on hand or you can have multiple crafters working simultaneously. And you get 4 squares of felt, which translates into 4 projects for under $5.00 each. As a plus, you can always use these mini-masterpieces in other ways: coasters, stitch or felt them into a wall-hanging, or make doll house rugs. My little one has been playing with hers for weeks!
Also, while these kits are marketed for children, there really isn’t anything juvenile about them. I would gladly have purchased these kits when I worked at the camp for teens, the home for developmentally delayed adults, or the nursing home where I was the activity director. And if you’ve never read up on this company, you should- I love that they are committed to green practices, sustainability, and contributing to the planet. (It makes you just about as warm and fuzzy as the felting kit!)
- great quality materials
- made in the USA
- open-ended for maximum creativity
- appropriate for folks 5 to 95
- abundance of materials in package
- nice, “green” packaging
- makes 4 projects for $16.95 USD- good value
- can be slow-going with one needle (goodÂ opportunity to coach kids to be patient)
- you really need a brush or foam underneath, which is not included in the kit. (I’d love to see the a foam block included in the kit, and then maybe offer a “refills” pack with one extra needle and more squares/roving/yarn.)
- might be a challenge to “kick-start” ideas for what to make…
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