Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review & Giveaway: Creativity Week Part 2: eeBoo Scratch Paper - Good Art Sets are Simple Yet Fine

Pictured is eeBoo's Patterns Scratch Paper Set

WHAT: Scratch Paper Sets (Foil, Fluorescent & Patterns) by eeBoo
is a treasure chest of hidden designs in each paper; you won't know what you have until you scratch and create your effect.
INVEST:  $11.95 to $12.95 for each set that contains 4 sets of 5 different papers  (20 8x8 sheets with bamboo scratch stick... that price is awesome!)
5+  (could go lower for kids who just want to draw)
TOOLS: Express Yourself, Think Like a Scientist or Engineer (pattern thinking)
EXPERT OPINION: Petra Pankow,  Manager of Tours and Gallery Interpretation, Montclair Art Museum and independent museum arts educator at various institutions (MoMA, Guggenheim)
GIVEAWAY:   Win all three sets (value $35 approximately) of Scratch Papers!!!  You are set for the summer!

I haven't had much luck with scratch papers.  Actually, I should say instead that scratch papers haven't had much luck with me.  Once we bought a set where you ran a magic marker to uncover what was underneath a black surface   My son must have been four or so.  He was bored by the first day but I kept it for years hoping he'd do it again but he never did (I lost the special marker too) so finally, I threw it away.  I hate when that happens.

Another person who has not done much with scratch papers (at least commercial versions) is Petra Pankow, a truly great teacher and interpreter of the arts. She is old school and so she's most familiar with the classic way of rubbing oil pastel on a sheet and then another color and another color and another...  but she definitely felt that the eeBoo Scratch Papers (Foil, Fluorescent, and Pattern) were very fun.

Fluorescent Colors Scratch Paper Set
Foil Designs Scratch Paper Set -MY FAVORITE!

Tester #6 out on the left coast and her pals thought so too.  Despite wanting these really badly for my own kids, I know that #6 is quite talented in drawing and I thought that she might make something spectacular with it.  And she did, in fact she did, several times.  While I can't say that with the Scratch Papers you'll end up with prize-winning works, if your child has an interest or a knack for drawing then I think he/she will really dig these.

Discover Your Picture As You Are Drawing It?

One thing that I really like about eeBoo's products is how they encourage you to learn by looking. You learn by looking really hard at what is going on, soaking in those details... with Scratch Papers, your child will be looking so that she can try to anticipate the pattern that she is about to uncover.  There is so much thinking that must be involved and yet, it's relaxing. It's not a test. She is just scratching some paper with a bamboo stick.

Number 6 is nine-years old and she's taken art classes before.   However, if your child is on the younger side, remember that it might take a while to get the results that you or even he might want to see.  It's not easy to really purposefully scratch these papers in a way that will make your overall drawing stand out the way you want it to..You can benefit on your child's maturity here.

Of course someone who lives near the water on the west coast is going to draw tule grass.  I would be envious but look how beautiful this is.  It's very hard to take photos of dark images but still, I think this photo shows how magical the paper is.

Here is a closeup of the same picture above.  She made two lizards and two crabs but inverted the colors.  On plain paper, this might not have been a big deal but she used HER CREATIVITY to make do with what what she has.  That's the goal #6!  You scored!!!!

Different Kids Produce Different Things
I loved the story of Petra's daughter, now in kindergarten, who was determined to uncover the patterns by literally scratching everything away.  I think that is awesome but Petra knows that kids who may do that will likely stop because it can get old and then they will likely start concentrating on scratching as a way of creating an effect.  

The patterns are quite beautiful but you'll be surprised to see that it is hard to predict which patterns will be underneath.  If you get two different packages and you mix them up, you won't know if you have fluorescent or foil until you start scratching.  That's cool too.

All the papers are perfect 8 x 8 squares. I think this unusual size makes it special.  Ready to hang without a frame and it will still stand out.

I love the simplicity and confidence he has in his lines and shapes.  Very cool!

Great Way to Get Little Ones Drawing
"It is also great for little kids who are too tiny for figurative drawing," Petra commented.  "It’s just such a magical look that you can achieve."  Oh now I have to get this for #2!  "If you were to teach about lines and shapes which are sort of basic art education units to teach," she said, "I think it would be nice for that.,"

"There is this negative aspect," added Petra as in negative space, not negative as in "don't-like." "You’re starting out with a black surface and then you are creating contrast by adding light."  Gosh, she's so right! Now I'm thinking that if I wanted my kid to work on his graphomotor skills (not naming names...), a bamboo stick that uncovers light from a dark surface... well, I don't think I can find a better motivator! Petra said that with this, kids can draw a beautiful night sky- it's a natural theme for this product.

"I think it's very much a drawing toy - a very open-ended drawing toy."  I love how Petra refers to this as a toy.  I totally agree.  I love eeBoo metallics!  They have a whole line including pencils, sketchpads, and an awesome boy-friendly diary that I found in a neighborhood toy store in New York City. Thank Goodness! I had been looking forever for a journal with a lock- (BTW, Boys don't like to call them "diaries"  What-ev)

I'm totally speechless.  Number 6 rocks!
Many thanks to Petra and her daughters and to Number 6 and her buddies who helped us uncover the magic of Scratch Paper! 

Good Art- Simple Yet Fine

"It was definitely fun," Petra told me.  Number 6's mom said the same as she used it on a very lovely playdate on afternoon. "It was a nice thing to just have around because I think it is something that even though it's a lot of fun, it's also a low-key art product," Petra said.  "Because at the end of the day it is just about drawing."  eeBoo, thanks for continuing to make affordable and yet classical products that we absolutely love.  I'm shopping this weekend at a store because I know how much you support neighborhood stores and so many sell your products at the your suggested retail price even though it's New York City.  Bravo! 

Update as of 6/17/13 :  One day after I published this review, I decided to go capture the magic with Number #1 and #2.  I was so surprised how much of a hit it was and the different ways they made art was enlightening.  I went crazy with it too.  We bought ours at State News in NYC- thanks for finding if for us in under a minute! Here's some of our photos.

Okay, somebody is in love with her website.. Sorry.. can't resist.  I used Kaleidograph here as stencils. 
Writing "Welcome Home" Cards to Dad who had gone away last week.   These make awesome personalized greeting cards.  On the back is a plain white surface onto which you can write a message. BRILLIANT!

A fight scene that actually looks cheerful! 

Like the scratch effect.  Don't have to rub it all out unless you want to.  Again, used Kaleidograph!

My first attempt and creating illusions with scratch papers... must. try. harder....

This is the fluorescent one.  I used Kaleidograph stencils here again!  WOW.  Maybe this can be my next logo!

Drawing small has its rewards.  Train tracks could never look more magical---- so easy!
Number 1 used part of Kaleidograph to make a jellyfish.  It all kind of happened by accident. 

I love the seahorse!!!!!  And that electric-light-fish... forgot the name. 

And now try out to win your own set of Scratch Papers- all three of them!
 Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to get it on Amazon?  Remember the M$RP!  Even though my commission from Amazon comes at no cost to you, if you can enjoy this at a good price and support your local store then I am sending you my super-cyber-high-five.

Disclosure:  Toys are Tools was not compensated by the manufacturer for the publication of this review.  The reviewed items were provided to Toys are Tools and the expert to facilitate a review.  Reviews are never promised.  The giveaway prize is being offered by the manufacturer.


  1. Most of the old school art projects I can think of are still on shelves in some form or fashion: Spirograph, Etch-a-sketch, loop looms. Even Lite Brite. Those were some of my very very favorite things to play with!

  2. One art project I loved was shaving crayons (using the crayon eraser on the back of the box of 64 Crayolas). You take the shavings and put them in a wax paper bag or between two pieces of was paper along with a brightly colored fall leaf. Then you iron it. It was fun and was really pretty after.

    Have to say I try to hold back from entering all the contests, but Dylan LOVES scratch pads like this. Even at 11, he doesn't quite get the whole concept - he will ultimately scratch out the whole page. But he feels good about it and enjoys it immensely, so who am I to say it's the wrong thing (even though it drives be pretty insane inside!).

  3. Maybe his hand getting tired might change his mind. Or maybe it is telling you that he needs a book of a collection or M.C. Escher's work? And why are you holding back from entering all the contests? There are plenty of people who win way more than once. We are now pounding crayons to make Lego crayons. I want my kid to sell them but he'll probably get a ticket if he tries to sell them in the park.

  4. I have to get Spirograph. Can't Etch a Sketch if my life depended on it. Have Lite Brite and kids have no patience for it but I saved it so that we can try again when they are older. Maybe it should be now! Until then, they have been using lite brite as currency. I have weird children. Enter all the contests if you have time. The designers and manufacturers are happy when you do. But thanks for reading the reviews, just to read.

  5. A nail art kit aimed at the tween/teen market would be cool. Pinterest is chock full of the most intricately-painted manicures, and I could see a budding artist being lured into the fine tradition of miniature painting through fashion. Also supports ambidexterity!

  6. Sparkle chalk. (Gianna)

  7. Pottery sounds fun. I've always wanted to try it. (Gianna)

  8. sorry for this late reply. have you tried Michaels? also, this looks like a very good deal. If the material is not frosted, you must use permanent marker, like sharpies.