The Crafter’s Box Subscription Review – September 2017
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!
September’s featured artist is Nova Scotian artist Katelyn Morse. Her Intuitive Phases of the Moon workshop shows how to use watercolor and acrylic paints to create a painting of three moon phases.
I love space-themed art, but I was surprised to see watercolors so soon after June’s watercolor workshop with Jenna Rainey. It covered the same wet-on-wet technique that was taught three months ago and used similar materials.
Instruction with Katelyn Morse – Value $25 (This is the ‘video only’ price during their twice-a-year pop-up sales.)
This 23-minute video thoroughly covered the artist’s technique for painting the moon phases. I did find it a little repetitive – the second and third moon phases are painted the same way as the first one. Towards the end, she mentioned that you can use salt to create an interesting effect, and I wish this had been covered in the video. I am sure there are other techniques for creating texture and it would have been nice if there had been more exploration of techniques that had not been covered in June.
Artist-grade 100% Cotton Watercolor Paper Assortment
The watercolor paper was nice quality and was already cut into squares and long rectangles suitable for painting moon phases. There was enough paper to make multiple paintings.
This is a fairly firm brush that worked well both for laying down washes of wet paint as well as adding smaller dabs of acrylic with the thin point.
Alder Frame for 4″ x 10″ art
This special frame was made just for The Crafter’s Box by San Diego craftsman David Ladisa. It included a hanger for the back, though I’m glad it was separate as I liked the option of using either side for display. This frame does not actually hold the artwork; I wish there had been some kind of slot for the paper. I ended up using tiny magnets to hold the artwork in. However, I really like the shape and size of this frame, and it was easy to trim paper to fit perfectly inside. Also, it’s thick enough to stand up on its own when displayed on a shelf.
Loew Cornell 1021095 Simply Art Watercolor Cakes – Value $4.55? (The linked version includes a brush.)
The colors of these paints are vibrant and beautiful. The label on the back explains that The Crafter’s Box partnered with Loew Cornell, but it’s covering the regular ‘Simply Art’ label. The product description online says these paints are for ‘beginning crafter painters, beginning fine artists’, but they are the same paints used by Katelyn Morse in her artwork.
I’ll admit I was surprised – I expect this box to have higher quality materials. Reservations aside, I thought these paints were pretty good. The colors were easy to layer, and the lid made a convenient palette. The paint did have a chalky consistency that I’m not used to, but it wasn’t hard to work with. Given the price though, I’m not sure how lightfast or archival these paints would be. However, I did enjoy the variety of colors.
Craft Smart Acrylic Paint in Silver – Value $1.49
Craft Smart Acrylic Paint in White – Value $0.76
This is just regular acrylic craft paint, but it worked fine. The silver added a nice sheen to the paintings that’s hard to capture in photographs but is quite pretty in person.
The first step was to lightly pencil in the three circles, one for each moon phase.
The next step is to fill in a darker edge and use water to soften the edge and fill in the shape of the full moon. The tutorial starts with black, but I liked using the silver paint for this.
Next, you dab in more color. Since the paper is already wet, the paint will bleed out and fade towards the edges.
From there you just keep dabbing on paint until you think it looks finished. The hardest part is keeping the round shape since it’s easy to go outside the line and sometimes the paint smudges.
The final step is to add highlights of silver and white paint. It certainly wasn’t a difficult process, though, by the time I was done, I didn’t particularly feel like it looked like anything. However, when I put it in the frame, it suddenly looked like all the moon paintings I’d been seeing on Instagram for this box.
Although I really like the alder wood, I decided to paint the shallow back side of the frame for a different look. I used the craft paint and while it took a couple of coats, it worked fine. I prefer paler moons, but this one shows what the darker ones look like when you start with black paint on the edge.
I was curious about the salt technique mentioned in the video, so I added salt to this painting.
Once the paint dried, it had a coarser speckled texture that worked well for this moon. Still, I think if I just randomly showed this to someone, I’m not sure if they’d be able to tell what it’s supposed to be.
Verdict: It’s hard to calculate the total retail value since the paper assortment and frame were put together just for this box. I don’t think my moon paintings are at all interesting, but the final display in the frame is surprisingly attractive nonetheless. This was a stress-free project that didn’t require advanced skills. While the paint quality isn’t as high as I’d expect, I did enjoy using the range of colors. However, I do hope that any future painting workshops will be more distinct from past ones.
What do you think of September’s The Crafter’s Box? Do you prefer the paler moons or the darker ones?