Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A consumer report from the front lines...

I remember reading somewhere that big companies are getting consumer research from all those mom bloggers out there, so I am going to take a minute to review a couple of products and hope that my voice is heard.

I bought my two children (ages 6 and 3) some different arts and craft supplies a few weeks ago in an attempt to stave off the summer boredom blues. Among them were watercolor paint sets, have you ever met a child who doesn't like to paint? Since my 3 year old's preferred method of creating is to pick one color and cover every square inch of her paper with it, I was spending quite a bit of time scrubbing soggy black water and paper off my counter. *Light bulb moment!* I will get stronger (heavier?) paper that will stand up to her creative process. Off I go to the store where I come across a product by Crayola called a Marker and Watercolor Pad. Aha! The very thing.

A few days later while my youngest are napping I tell the 6 year old to entertain himself by drawing some Father's Day cards for his dad and grandpas. He would like to use markers. "No problem!" I beam and hand him several sheet of the aforementioned paper. I feel wonderful knowing that I am fostering his creative nature while simultaneously not worrying about my furniture.... Duh-duh-dum! A half hour later one tearful child comes to show me his masterpiece and confess that the marker has bled through the paper onto my light oak kitchen table. What! How is this possible?! I go into the kitchen to find that my table and his hands look, as my husband put it, like they have developed a multi-colored leprosy. I console my son that it is in no way his fault, after all I was the one to purchase and give him the paper to use. Later that day I was telling my family about this mystery, how could paper marketed for use with markers have caused such a mess? Well, as my brother who is an artist informed me, Marker and Watercolor paper is designed to draw the pigments into the paper to create stronger, more vibrant colors. I went home and read every teeny tiny piece of print on the pad, and nowhere does it say that this paper will bleed or is to create stronger colors. So if the good people at Crayola are reading this please consider adding such a warning to your product, as the average lay person such as myself will make the mistake of thinking such a product was designed to prevent the dreaded bleed through that often happens with markers and watercolors.

The multi-colored leprosy took about three days and repeated washing but has finally started to fade from my son's hands and arms, the kitchen table I thought was going to be a loss. These were permanent markers, and my son favored dark blue, green and red in the color schemes for his cards. I was resigning myself to eating on his artwork until we could afford to replace the table. This morning I stumbled across a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser in my cleaning supplies, and though I didn't hold out much hope I thought it couldn't hurt to try. Magic! My table is good as new. Where soap and water, ammonia and water, and good old-fashioned elbow grease failed, this nifty product stepped in and triumphed! (With almost no effort on my part too.) I was giddy with relief and amazement. I have used the Magic Eraser before to take crayon and pencil off my walls, but to have it erase permanent marker was downright incredible!

So there you have it, if this story helps even one parent out there avoid the sad lesson I learned the hard way I will be well satisfied. My final report would be that Crayola makes wonderful creative products for children, but it would be helpful to know exactly what to expect from what we are buying. And Mr. Clean Magic Erasers get 5 stars from me! An excellent product, and I think every home should have a least one on hand because you never know when you are going to have a coloring emergency.


Amanda said...

Love those Magic Erasers! I also discovered that they remove permanent marker one day when one of the kids took a Sharpie to the hardwood floor and a dresser! They are the best cleaning invention ever!

JD said...

I am glad the fates have smiled upon you. I love Mr. Clean erasers as well. But as for crayola products...I think maybe a pad and an easel from an art store will make your life can go wild and nothing is in the target zone of destruction lol!