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February 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 2
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Top-10 Most-Wanted Arts and Crafts

Sticky Mosaics Rise to the Top


With additional reporting by Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Julie L. Jones, Chris Lundy, Claudia Newcorn and Brenda Ruggiero

In late fall 2008, TDmonthly Magazine polled 44 specialty retailers on their sales of arts and crafts items. In this staple category, sales underscored the wild popularity of Orb Factory's Sticky Mosaics. “It came from nowhere and is doing great,” Michael Ziegenhagen, owner of five Playmatters stores in Ohio, told TDmonthly. Last year, the product was mentioned by only a few retailers polled about top arts and crafts.

Other top-selling lines included Creativity for Kids and Alex, with simple activities for younger children and more elaborate, design-oriented sets for older ones. Here are the top-10 best-selling craft items.

No manufacturer paid to be included in this article. All products listed were chosen by editorial staff based on research, without regard to the company's relationship with ToyDirectory.com/TDmonthly Magazine.




MSRP: $10.99
Age Range: 5 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



Just the cozy cottage backyard birds are looking for, the Home Tweet Home bird-house has a real thatched roof and unique décor as provided by the child. The wooden house has various windows for the residents, pegs for perches on the outside, and attached twine to hang from. It includes weatherproof paint in six colors, a paintbrush and instructions.
— “Alex is strong in the arts and crafts area,” said Randy Horn, owner of Learning Express in Glen Ellyn, Ill.
— “We've done well with the Alex craft kits this year,” said Richard Belanger, owner of Scalliwag Toys in Belleville, Ontario.
— Sixteen percent of 44 retailers listed Alex as their top-selling craft kit supplier in fall 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22016      (added 1/7/2009)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $29.99
Age Range: 9 and up
SKU or Item #: 1252
Launch Date: May 2007
Gender: Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Kits
Tween



This designer-set features a mannequin, sewing materials, a sketch book, yards of fabric, a swatch booklet, trims, a satin dress form, a garment bag and a design manual. Kids can decorate the dress included or create their own dream designs. “This product taps into the energy generated by television shows, such as ‘Project Runway,’ and excites tweens to try out their fashion design skills. The thoughtfulness that went into the selection of materials in the kit makes it ideal for the specialty market,” Lisa Ritchey of Faber-Castell told TDmonthly. Launch date: May 2007.
— Terry Meyers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas, told TDmonthly that her store “sells several dozen” of this item each month.
— “They're all inclusive and that's attractive to customers because they don't need to go out and buy a whole bunch of other supplies,” said John Goehring, owner of The Toyworks in Santa Rosa, Calif., of his top-selling Creativity for Kids crafts in late 2008.
— Thirteen percent of 44 retailers listed fashion-related kits as top-selling crafts in fall 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15519      (added 9/28/2007)
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MSRP: $14.99
Age Range: 5 and up
Launch Date: January 2005
Gender: Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Hobby Goods



Kids can decorate this trio of wooden race cars with paint and stickers. When finished, they simply pull the cars back and watch them go. Launch date: 2005.
— “Creativity for Kids Fast Car Race Cars and similarly styled items sell around 20 per month,” said Kathy Mabry, owner of The Village Toy Shop in North Easton, Mass.
— Of 44 retailers surveyed in fall 2008, seven percent named Fast Car Race Cars as a best seller.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15851      (added 10/22/2007)
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MSRP: $25.99
Age Range: 5 and up
Gender: Boys
Category: Arts & Crafts



This kit includes four big, chunky pull-back monster trucks, ready to take a custom paint job and adhesive decals dreamed up by a young designer. On their giant wheels, these lifted pickups are fit to race, roll, and smash their way around. The early auto enthusiast is provided with the four assembled trucks, acrylic paints, a paintbrush and two sheets of stickers.
— “From Creativity for Kids, the [Monster Trucks] have been great,” John Naisbitt, owner of Thinker Things in Del Mar, Calif., told TDmonthly.
— “Monster Trucks … sell well,” said Jeanette Lauture, owner of Aunt Jean's Toys and Treats in Montclair, N.J.
— “It's a great line; we sell tons,” said Jake Thomas, co-owner of Applause Toy Store in Bracebridge, Ontario, of Creativity for Kids, which 20 percent of 44 retailers listed as their best-selling craft line in fall 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22017      (added 1/7/2009)
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MSRP: $16.95
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



This pop art kit comes with bottle caps, charms, glitter and gooey glaze so that kids can make colorful, retro creations. The goo dries into a hard, shiny coating overnight. The caps feature safety-coated edges.
— “Klutz books are our main focus regarding arts and crafts for both boys and girls,” said owner Kevin Pohle of his Denver, Colo., toy store, The Wizard's Chest.
— “We sell a lot of Klutz books,” said Lesa Smith, owner of Whiz Kids in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
— Eighteen percent of 44 specialty retailers named Klutz as a best-selling product line in fall 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22018      (added 1/7/2009)
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MSRP: $16.99
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Creative Activities



Hours of creative entertainment for the young jeweler are packed into this boxed learning-activity-turned-craft. Kids can use the bright laces, various shapes and alphabet beads to create keepsake jewelry for themselves or parents, or use the kit as a reusable lacing set to practice spelling and patterning. 
— “The Melissa & Doug bead stringing kits” are the best-selling craft item at Let's Play in Hillsboro, Ore., Owner Shirley Reilly told TDmonthly in fall 2008. Reilly said she sells around 20 kits per month.
— Fifteen percent of 44 retailers said Melissa & Doug supply their best-selling craft kits.
— Kim Emigh, VP of E-commerce at Growing Tree Toys in State College, Penn., told TDmonthly in a Fall 2012 survey that this was a top-2 best selling jewelry item at their store.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22019      (added 1/7/2009)
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MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



Tactile, colorful PlayFoam never dries out, can be molded and sculpted, leaves no residue, and sticks best to itself rather than the many surfaces of a home. Whether constructed into elaborate art projects or simply enjoyed for its unique texture, this double pack of PlayFoam in 12 colors contains enough to share.
— “PlayFoam is still strong,” said Janet Gregory, owner of Over the Rainbow Toys in Anchorage, Alaska.
— Of 44 retailers surveyed in late fall 2008, seven percent said PlayFoam is one of their top-selling items.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22020      (added 1/7/2009)
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Marie RavenWriter's Bio: Marie Raven has a long history with the specialty toy industry as a family business. In addition to freelancing for TDmonthly Magazine, she writes creative and technical material for various other businesses. Read more articles by this author

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