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Smart Art Subscription Box Review + Coupon – April 2017


Smart Art is a fine arts subscription service that sends a new project every month and all the supplies needed to complete it. My husband and I are both artists, and we have been having a blast with our Smart Art subscription!


This box was sent to us at no cost to review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).


The Subscription Box: Smart Art

The Cost: $49.99 per month with free shipping. Save with 3, 6, and 12-month subscriptions.

COUPON: Use code MSA20 to save 20% off your first box

The Products: A fine arts project, complete with instructions and supplies

Ships to: U.S. only

Good to know: It’s a different project in a different media every month, using different techniques!

Check out all of our Smart Art reviews and the Craft Subscription Box Directory!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!


This month’s project was to create a Photogram! This is the booklet that Smart Art sends every month. It includes art history related to the project, a list of the included supplies, project pointers, and instructions.

Subscribers can upload a picture of their finished project to Smart Art’s Facebook page for a chance to win a free box! That’s really cool! On the other hand, our projects usually take forever, so we always seem to miss the boat on this contest.


This is the inside of the booklet. On the left are the art history and project pointers, and on the right, there’s some info on Solarfast plus the supply list.


The instructions are printed on the back of the booklet. They are pretty clear and easy to follow, but they still allow for as much creativity as you like.


Here are the supplies that were included for this month’s project.

Solarfast Purple Dye, 4 oz. – Value $10

Solarfast Wash, 2 oz – Value $4.07

Solarfast Film 8.5″ x 5.5″, 10 Sheets – Value $10.29

Jacquard Film Marker – Value $6.67

Ampersand Artist Panel Unprimed Basswood – Value $27.24

Royal Brush Wood Handle Foam Brush Set – Value $4.40


I started my design by cheating. I was supposed to draw something, but I decided I would take a design out of a coloring book that I liked instead of drawing my own. I then placed the film over the design and traced it with the film marker. I was instantly dubious as to how well this process would work. The marker did not draw very opaquely on the film.


My second step was to coat the wood panel with the purple dye.


The next step was to lay the film over the panel and then set it in the sun to develop for half an hour.


The final step was to wash the dye off the wooden panel using the wash and hot water.


This is my completed photogram! It’s kind of cool, but it didn’t turn out very good. I knew the marker was not opaque enough, and that turned out to be true. The design does not have enough contrast due to the sun being able to penetrate the marked areas of the film. I also have no idea why those areas on the sides came out a darker purple. So, this was a bit of a fail.

Verdict: My husband and I are both huge fans of Smart Art! Having said that, this project was pretty disappointing. I had high hopes, and the design would have been phenomenal if it had worked out, but it didn’t. The marker needs to be more opaque. The lines should also be thicker for better contrast, and the instructions should have been more clear about that. In terms of value, this was one of the higher value boxes for Smart Art at about $63, so that is great at least. I would say if you are considering subscribing to Smart Art, this box was an anomaly. The projects usually work out very well.

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Written by Anna Rodriguez

Anna Rodriguez

Anna has been a fan of subscription boxes since joining Birchbox in 2013, but didn’t become a true addict until discovering subscriptions she could share with her children. Her favorites include Kiwi Crate and Fab Kids.

Posted in Craft Subscription Boxes, Smart Art Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews| Tags: smart art | 3 comments

Comments (3)

  1. The price is for the larger canvas, but this is the 8×10 version which is $14.29 on Amazon.

    I don’t think this works well on wood because even if it came out perfectly, there wouldn’t be a lot of contrast. And purple over the warm wood tone seems off.

    $50 is a lot for what you get… I made a whole stack of cyanotypes (similar process) from the $65 April Crafter’s Box and that came with a wooden frame. It cost a bit more but is a lot nicer. However, I like that the Smart Art project is more about drawing.

  2. $50 seems CRAZY expensive for this one, no? Maybe the products are more expensive then I would think but I would have been very disappointed had I spent that much money on this. It’s definitely a unique craft and something I’ve never seen before, so there is some value in that, just still super over priced in my eyes. Darby smart this month sent 3 (very) small ceramic containers, real moss, 3 good quality artificial succulents and 3 different dyes for their project this month, and its only $20 a month. Love the picture you choose those, very cute.

  3. You might try again if you have some spare wood planks somewhere. When I tried to do mine I noticed it wasn’t working very well the ink would not set on the film. I guess I was drawing on the wrong side because I turned it over and tried again and it worked much better.

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