The Crafter’s Box “Painting the Sky” July 2021 Review
The Crafter’s Box is an artisan craft subscription box that features a different, unique craft each month that is designed with the crafty adult in mind. The boxes are thoughtfully curated with high-end materials so that your finished products are modern and sophisticated. There’s also an accompanying video workshop led by the featured artist that introduces you to the craft and provides you with detailed instructions to complete the project.
Subscribers get first access to new workshops for $65 per month, and the remaining workshops are later available to purchase in The Crafter’s Box marketplace for $75. So, members save $10 and are guaranteed to receive the newest workshop.
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
This Month’s Box – “Painting the Sky“
This month’s box is perfect for anyone who’s ever wished they could do one of those wine and paint workshops in the comfort of their own home. We’ll be attempting to recreate a sky and seascape painting by artist Stefanie Bales. While coming up with my own ideas for drawings or paintings is a skill I seem to have left behind in elementary school, I do enjoy the act of putting brush to canvas and trying to imitate an artist’s technique. I also love a good sunset, so overall, this project looked like it was going to be right up my alley. Let’s see what materials they gave us.
Materials Included for this Project
For this project, we’ll be working with acrylic paints on canvas to recreate (or reinterpret) Stefanie’s painting of the sun setting over the ocean. As always, The Crafter’s Box provided high-quality materials that make you feel like a pro. One thing I especially liked about this month’s box is that the only extra items needed to complete the project were a cup of water, a few paper towels, and a ruler. In the past, I’ve found myself having to order extra items to get the most out of the project, which can get frustrating and expensive. But the only items you need to paint a picture are some paint, paintbrushes, a pallet, and a canvas – all of which were included.
Painting the Sky Project Pamphlet
The Crafter’s Box always includes a folded card with information on the project, a list of the materials you’re receiving, and a bio on the workshop’s featured artist, but this month it looks like there was a printing error. The list of materials was misaligned and didn’t include any information on the palette, which is one of the more interesting items in the box. Luckily, the full information can be found on the workshop page of their website.
11 x 14 Cotton Studio Depth Canvas
Using a canvas is what makes this project feel like “real art” as opposed to an arts and crafts project I’d do with my daughter on computer paper. The canvas arrived in good condition and stayed snug and clean as I painted.
Filbert Brushes in sizes 2 and 4
These brushes were sturdy to hold and easy to clean (as long as you didn’t get a lot of paint on the tips). In the video tutorial, Stefanie provides a lot of information on why the shape and size of these brushes are perfect for her style of painting. It’s useful knowledge to have if you’re interested in continuing on with acrylic painting after the project.
Isn’t it amazing to think that all the many different shades in Stefanie’s painting came from these eight basic colors? The light blue and light pink shades are 14.75ml each and are made by the brand Liquitex. The rest of the colors come from the brand Winston Newton Galeria and come in 15ml jars. I didn’t notice any difference in the quality or consistency of the paints and was surprised when I took a closer look at the pamphlet and realized they weren’t all from the same brand.
Sta-Wet Handy Palette
Stefanie explains in the video that acrylic paints dry out quickly, so she recommends using this palette, which you soak in hot tap water for 15 minutes before adding paint. The coolest feature of this palette is the snap-on cover, which will keep the paint wet for you if you have to step away from your project for a while. I tried this out when I had to take a 30-minute call during my painting session. When I got back, the paint looked just as fresh as it had when I’d left it.
Spray Bottle and Popsicle Sticks
You’ll use the popsicle sticks to get the paint out of the jars and onto the palette. I believe the spray bottle is intended to mist your paints if they start to dry out, but Stefanie did not demonstrate how to use it in the video.
Fine Tip Round Brush
Hold onto this brush! You won’t need to use it until the very end of the project, and since it’s so small, it’s easy to lose while you’re working with the rest of your materials.
With The Crafter’s Box, a huge part of the value comes from the skills you pick up in the video tutorial. This workshop includes two videos, both of which run just under an hour each. Stephanie goes into great detail over almost every stroke on the canvas. This is a project you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of time set aside to complete.
Once the palette has had a chance to soak, our first step is to add a small amount of each color of paint (about the size of a nickel) to the palette. Make sure you leave plenty of room on the palette for mixing the colors together. Mixing paint colors to create new shades is a major part of this project.
Now we’re ready to paint! Draw a straight line about 3.5 inches up from the bottom of the canvas using light pink paint. This is your horizon line. Then, you’ll start mixing blues and pinks to create a lovely violet shade and cover the bottom third of the canvas with it. This is the ocean. If it seems odd to have a violet ocean, don’t worry. You’ll be layering more colors on top of it later on.
This was the part of the project I found the most challenging. The top 2/3 of the canvas is where you’ll paint your sky. Stefanie walks us through the process of layering colors to create the look of clouds floating by at sunset. She says there’s no such thing as a “wrong cloud” but my clouds looked wrong to me! You’ll also want to be careful when adding the blue paint around your clouds to create the rest of the sky. If it touches the yellow, you can end up with green on your canvas, which is not a color you see in a sunset. Luckily, the paint is pretty forgiving and you can just layer more colors to make it work.
I started to feel a little better about my clouds when I followed Stefanie’s advice to add some white to the canvas to soften the edges. While I think I may have had a bit of a heavy hand while initially painting my clouds, this step did help to make them look more cloud-like.
The Finished Project
By the time we got to the final step, layering colors to the water, I’d learned to be a bit gentler with my brush strokes. My painting doesn’t look much like the original, but I had a lot of fun learning this process and will proudly display it in my home office.
Was the Box Worth It?
While I was not able to confirm the retail value of the items in the box, my guess is the materials came close to the $65 cost of the box. Acrylic paints can be expensive. Plus, the real value comes from the skills you acquire in completing the project. A 2-hour painting class with Stefanie Bales with materials included would probably run for a lot more than $65!
This may have been my favorite Crafter’s Box yet. I loved my finished product and might pick up another canvas to practice with my leftover paint. This project is at the very least an enjoyable way to pass a quiet afternoon at home.
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