February 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 2
Arts and Crafts Push the Envelope — Remotely
Newer Companies Put Spin on Classics
The One and Only
The RC ART Color Bug is the “first toy of its kind that is radio-controlled art,” president Gwen Austin Yuffa told TDmonthly. “I think parents shopping at specialty toy stores are looking for something unusual and unique; they're not looking for an ordinary toy.”
Patent-pending Plastic Pasta Crafts (ToyDirectory) is also banking on uniqueness, as “the only product of its kind. Basically, it's within its own product category; [it’s]…innovative and new to the market,” CEO Christine Ondris said.
Dwelling on Design
Whether a product carries its own classification or joins an array of competitors, design is important. And for some, it takes place at home.
“Years of expertise in design and manufacturing” define The Beadery Craft Products (ToyShow), according to Oksana Allman in sales. “We have an in-house design team that develops all the products in our line,” she said.
“We design almost all of our items,” said vice president Glory P. Graham of Xonex, which devotes 60 percent of its business to design and development for other companies. “We're not going over to China and picking it off of somebody's shelf. We actually choose the colors for our art sets [and] spend the time and money to make it perfect.”
Making It Special
President Georges Gareau of Bojeux Inc. (ToyShow) noted that his company serves mass and specialty retail markets. Twelve to 15 of the 70 or so items currently in his line, for example, are available at major stores. The remaining items are distributed to specialty stores so that “they are unique with it.”
Bojeux offers project demonstration DVDs for in-store use. “Only specialists can show the finished product to the consumer,” Gareau noted.
Following are some of the latest arts and crafts:
Kids can make their own flipbooks with this kit that contains pages with pre-drawn frames for two dynamic books, and pages with empty frames for original artwork. Once the frames are colored with the six markers provided, children just separate the pages along their perforations, order and stack the pages, and clip them together. Degas Dancer & Mona Lisa and Rocket & Robot varieties are also available. Launch Date: November 2006.
— “I think what sets them apart is the artistry and creativity of the designs — using computer animation to create strong effects,” Barry Jacobson, director of sales and marketing at Fliptomania, said of his company’s product line. The flipbook kits, in particular, are “a great fit with the creativity that’s so much in specialty stores.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10016 (added 11/10/2006)
RC ART's first patented Radio-Controlled Art product is this ladybug-shaped toy that draws on art surfaces using markers, crayons or chalk that are snapped into it. Using the controller, kids create colorful art by steering the turns and spins of the motorized Color Bug — a fun, action-packed toy. Accessories include interchangeable shells and an inexpensive play pad with integrated walls. This product “introduces a new toy category to the market — Radio-Controlled Art. [It] fills the gap for girls in the radio-controlled toy genre,” President Gwen Austin Yuffa of RC ART told TDmonthly. Children can customize it with the pink bug or racing bug shells, she added. Launch date: Fall 2007.
— As of 05/13/2011 this product had 5 out of 5 stars from 1 review on Amazon.com.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10672 (added 12/14/2006)
This vintage "slide top" paint set features 1940s-inspired "bunny" print graphics. The solid wood case contains 20 rectangular “pressed" watercolor cakes, two porcelain mixing pots, two paint brushes, 15 color pencils and one eraser. It conforms to ASTM D4236 and is AP non-toxic. It comes shrink-wrapped with a colorful, descriptive slip sheet. Launch date: March 2007.
— “Art sets have been done a million times, and we’re trying to come up with things that are more innovative and make us feel more special,” Vice President Glory P. Graham told TDmonthly. “The items are really selling themselves.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10756 (added 12/19/2006)
Perfecto Plastic Pasta Art Jewelry Packs by PLASTIC PASTA CRAFTS INC.
Other products from PLASTIC PASTA CRAFTS INC.
These jewelry packs come with 30 plastic pasta shapes including “ziti,” “penne,” and “rigatoni” in several colors, plus 2 yards of craft lace for jewelry making fun. This low-cost, quality option fosters hands-on crafting fun. Launch date: October 2006.
— This growing line “takes away the work that someone would have to do [with a] regular food product,” Christine Ondris, owner and CEO of Plastic Pasta Crafts, told TDmonthly. “It greatly simplifies the always-popular craft of macaroni jewelry making.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9875 (added 11/2/2006)
Children can showcase their creativity and “natural” talent as they turn ordinary river rocks into colorful and decorative works of art. They can add rub-on transfers and create a series of unique themes for collectibles, enjoying the process as much as the end result. “I looked at different products a few years ago and I saw a big lack in instruction. We decided to go and put the best instruction; we go step by step. Children are very proud of what they realize ... it's very nice for the self-esteem,” president Georges Gareau of Bojeux told TDmonthly. Launch date: June 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10863 (added 1/3/2007)
Fish Bead a Picture Kit by THE BEADERY CRAFT PRODUCTS
Other products from THE BEADERY CRAFT PRODUCTS
This is a unique craft project where large holed beads are strung to create a work of beaded art. The kit includes bright colored beads, string, safe plastic needle and a patented snap lock frame. Simple instructions make this a fun project for all ages.
— “Our manufacturing process ensures high quality of all the products we offer. Our products … make great gifts for any occasion, as well as wonderful activity toys for many children,” Oksana Allman of The Beadery Craft Products told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10446 (added 12/6/2006)
Art Pods are colorful high gloss, enamel coated tin cases that hold art contents and have a black zipper closure. The various colors may hold paint tubes, markers, crayons, pastels, and colored pencils. The company’s “use of bright colors, innovative design and excellent pricing,” keeps Art Pods fresh and relevant in the marketplace, Glory P. Graham, vice president of Xonex, told TDmonthly. Launch date: August 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10014 (added 11/10/2006)
Shrinky Dinks for Computer Ink Jet Printer by SHRINKY DINKS ® (K & B INNOVATIONS, INC.)
Other products from SHRINKY DINKS ® (K & B INNOVATIONS, INC.)
NEW AND IMPROVED! This redesigned pack of Shrinky Dink Ink Jet plastic has many new features that our customers have been requesting. This SHRINKY DINKS shrinkable plastic can be run through your computers ink jet or bubble jet printer. Choose any photo, lighten it by at least 50% and run the sheet of plastic through your printer to produce the image of your choice. You can create any number of wonderfully creative projects using your photos, computer graphics, or your own artwork. Choose pictures from your digital camera or scan in pictures from your photo albums. These new white sheets are larger, 8 1/2 x 11 inches so that printer adjustments are no longer necessary. Our improved sheets are also water resistant, so that sealing is no longer necessary. The newest version of Shrinky Dinks for Ink Jet printers is designed to be printed on BOTH sides. You can now print your image on one or both sides for added creativity. Each pack contains 6 sheets . Complete instructions are contained in every package of plastic. Recommended printers HP, Lexmark, Canon.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8000 (added 5/25/2006)
Become a pottery pro with a real pottery wheel and a variety of included tools to position and sculpt your clay. The pottery wheel includes six distinctive carving attachments with an adjustable tool arm, carving blades, outline shaping tools, shaping tube and excavator, 2 lbs. grey and terra cotta clay, six colors of paint, sponge, paint palette, two brushes, clay cutting cord, 80 mosaic tiles, eight glass jewels, glue, AC -adapter, and instructions.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10248 (added 11/27/2006)
Children can create two hardcover books with this set. The smaller book includes a die-cut frame and room for a story, which makes a great family activity. The kit includes story ideas, markers, clip art and sticker sheets. “Create Your Own Books encourages children to use their imagination to write and illustrate stories that reflect their interests and personality. The activity is both enriching and fun, and allows children an opportunity for open-ended self-expression,” Lisa Ritchey of Faber-Castell told TDmonthly. This item was named one of the 100 Best Children’s Products of 2006 by Dr. Toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9969 (added 11/9/2006)
Breyer - My Dream Horse Customizing Kit by REEVES INTL. INC.
Other products from REEVES INTL. INC.
This is a unique alternative to the various lines of horse models Breyer offers to customers. Instead of getting a completely finished product, users of all ages can add their own finishing details, including adding mohair for the mane and the tail. It comes with paints, brushes and a detailed instruction booklet.
— "The Breyer models, especially My Dream Horse Customizing Kit," was the specific thumbs-up given by Linda Meyer, manager of Timbuk Toys in Denver.
— "That’s been a good seller," noted Gayle Grabish, of Unique Toy and Game in Grover, Mo.
— Breyer bases its model horses on the real thing.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9060 (added 8/21/2006)
Children can embellish these three fancy felines with cool 3-D cat eyes, markers, glitter, rhinestones, ribbons, charms and a mini boa. The cats are about 4" tall.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10327 (added 11/30/2006)
Portraits and personalities are made easy. Trace and carbon-copy photos of friends and family. Use Color Grip watercolor pencils to paint portraits on sand-textured paper and velvet. Try realistic, cartoon and Picasso styles. The finished products can be framed and displayed on a wooden easel. Katie Culotta, owner of Victoria’s Toy Station in Baton Rouge, is a fan: “So many kids love to draw.This gives kids an in-depth idea of how to do it.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10246 (added 11/27/2006)
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Writer's Bio: Julie L. Jones has written articles for both newspapers and magazines. Before joining the staff of TDmonthly Magazine, she worked as a communications writer and provided editorial support for a market research company. Read more articles by this author
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