The Crafter’s Box Subscription Review – June 2017
Note from Liz: I’m so happy to introduce our newest reviewer to the MSA team! Welcome, Désirée!
The Crafter’s Box is a monthly DIY subscription “for people who love to make, build, shape, design, and create.” Each box includes supplies for one craft as well as access to online instruction by the featured maker of the month.
My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).
The Subscription Box: The Crafter’s Box
The Cost: $65 a month + free shipping, or $60 a month with a 3-month subscription. An optional add-on kit is also available; its price varies each month.
The Products: A curated box of craft materials and specialty tools assembled in collaboration with an artist/maker.
Ships to: US (for free), $10 to Canada and $20 everywhere else.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
This month’s project was ‘Wet-on-wet Watercolored Botanical Leaves’ with instructor Jenna Rainey. Jenna is the artist behind Mon Voir; her book Everyday Watercolor: Learn to Paint Watercolor in 30 Days will be released in October. The Crafter’s Box includes more information about Jenna and her inspiration for curating this workshop in this free podcast interview.
The box includes supplies to create twelve botanical watercolor paintings, along with copper clips to display your favorite ones.
The information cards give a list of included supplies, information about the artist and a closer look at one of the featured brands this month, Winsor & Newton.
This is a nice quality of paper. The size is actually closer to 8 x 11, but I couldn’t find sheets of it online. Cold press paper has a toothy texture that helps hold the pigment.
I know several professional illustrators who use Winsor & Newton paints. They are highly pigmented and are a joy to paint with. According to the information cards, these paints have a permanency rating of A, which means that the paintings will not fade over time.
This brush works very well and is something I’ll use even after the project is finished. (I’m happy to see a vegan brush in this box, but vegans should be aware that some projects do include non-vegan supplies.)
Palette – Value $3.99
Dixon #2 HB pencil – Value $0.11
Pentel Hi-polymer Block Eraser – Value $0.89
These basic art supplies round out the kit. The palette is much larger than needed for two colors, but it was useful to have. The eraser saw lots of use.
Copper bulldog clips (four) – Value $4.80? (based on the original price for a similar set)
These have a great shiny finish and the warm copper goes well with the green and yellow leaves.
Instruction – Value $25 (This is the ‘video only’ price during their twice-a-year pop-up sales.)
June’s instructional video from Jenna Rainey is 32 minutes long and covers the process of painting a monstera leaf. I liked that the class focused specifically on one subject and one technique – it’s pretty easy to do even if you don’t have much experience with watercolors. Jenna is an experienced instructor and explained everything well. My one complaint was the distracting music that ebbed and swelled to crescendos at random points. It might be the speakers I use, but at times I found it a little difficult to follow the thread of what she was saying.
The workshop also includes a Q&A group session with the artist at the end of the month. This is an opportunity to ask questions and get more specific information. The Q&A sessions are archived on the website for subscribers who can’t attend. There is also a members-only forum where you can ask questions, though only a few subscribers use it.
The first step was to make a drawing of the monstera leaf. Jenna explains the drawing process step by step – I could draw a monstera leaf in my sleep by now. It’s nice to be able to do the drawing yourself because it makes each painting unique. This subscription is as much about learning and practicing a craft as it is about completing the finished product, so I’m glad they didn’t just have us tracing a leaf template.
The next step is to paint the leaf. It goes so fast! On my first leaf, I freaked out trying to do everything at once. It can be tricky to blend the paint before it dries, but with practice it all became easier.
The clips can be used to hold the wet painting to the stack of paper. This helps it dry flatter.
There is paper enough for twelve watercolors, so there is a lot of opportunity to practice. If you tire of monstera leaves, there are some rough templates for other types of leaves, however there is no specific instruction to go with them.
I’ve finished five paintings, so I have several more hours of watercolors ahead. The Crafter’s Box emphasizes slow crafting, so this box would not be a good fit for anyone in a hurry. But if you like taking your time and getting a lot of entertainment value from a box, it’s perfect!
This is one of my paintings. It’s not perfect, but I get a little better each time.
Verdict: I enjoyed this month’s project. The instructions were clear and there were plenty of supplies to thoroughly explore the botanical theme. I like that I’m able to complete twelve paintings instead of feeling pressure to make one perfect masterpiece.
For DIY boxes, I consider two kinds of value: the retail value of the supplies and the value of the final piece. The value of the supplies alone is around $49; the value of the instruction would bring it up to $74. Each painting comes out to about $5, not including the value of the clips or reusable supplies. I think that’s a very fair value.
What do you think of June’s The Crafter’s Box?