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KiwiCo Maker Crate “Hand-Lettered Travel Mugs” Review

Brandi D.
ByBrandi D.Aug 17, 2022 | 0 comments

Maker Crate by KiwiCo
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Maker Crate is a subscription box for kids ages 14+ from the parent company KiwiCo. Each box includes high-quality materials and instructions to explore new art techniques and complete hands-on arts and crafts projects.

This review is of KiwiCo's Maker Crate (for ages 14+), which costs $29.95 per month.

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)

First Impressions


This box came with a sleeve around it detailing the items inside and showing some great colored photos of our project this month. I have a friend who is amazing at lettering, in fact, I even took his Crayligraphy class once and it is definitely not as simple as it looks! I was hopeful the brushes they sent would be helpful!

What's Inside This Box


Inside your box, you will receive a Maker’s Guide which provides the QR code for accessing your instructions. The pages had some information about the history of hand lettering and some ideas for inspiration.


Since these projects are a bit more complicated than the boxes for their younger ages, they provide online video tutorials for you to watch. While I definitely appreciate this, I'm also a big fan of having the instructions laid out in front of me on paper so I do miss that aspect. However, the videos themselves are very helpful and include some great tips. 


The website also includes this guide to what is in your crate, so you can locate everything and ensure you have all the pieces you need. Now let's check out the materials we received:


We received this folder full of helpful guides and practice sheets. There was also what looked like a stencil, but was actually a composition ruler and an acetate sheet.


We received a set of dual-tip brush markers with a brush on one end and a super fine tip on the other as well as gel pens in gold and silver (my middle school dream!) and a water brush.


Lastly, we received two travel mugs with stainless steel inserts and a flip top lid, and our paper inserts for our design.

Now, let's get to our project!

Part 1: Learn Hand Lettering


The video was very helpful and taught some of the basics of hand lettering; thick downstrokes and thin upstrokes and the sheets they provided were very helpful. I practiced both upper and lowercase letters.

Part 2: Play with Color


The next part was fun since we played around with color a little bit. There were some fun embellishments to try and space to practice full phrases, too. One technique was to create a gradient effect by going over the top of one color again while the other was to use the acetate sheet to combine colors by adding color to the acetate and then picking it up with a different colored brush. It was so pretty and fun to experiment with!


Once I knew what I wanted to do for my design, I played around with a few different colors. The composition ruler was fun to use because it could help you put your words into a slant or a circular design, which isn't so easy to eyeball or do freehand!

Part 3: Hand Letter Your Travel Mugs


I decided to do a nice light wash for the background of my mug design. I added the colors I wanted to my acetate sheet and then filled up my water brush and added some to the colors and then painted my page. I could add more and more water with a simple squeeze to help spread the color around or get it lighter. Then it was time to let that dry before adding my final lettering design.

The finished project:

Here is my completed design! It was a bit intense because it's kind of a one-shot deal and I tried to keep it fairly simple by combining two colors for the lettering and then using the composition ruler to help add the outline of the sun. I was pleased with how it turned out!


Here is the finished mug. The bottom opened up and then it was just a matter of sliding it in and making sure it was positioned how I wanted it. Not too bad for what I would consider being some difficult letters to write!

Value - Was This Box Worth It?

The Cost: $29.95

I received two travel mugs, two gel pens, a set of brush markers, a water brush, a composition ruler, an acetate sheet, several templates and guides, and access to some detailed tutorials on the art of hand lettering. I think it was worth it for sure!

Key Takeaways

While Maker Crate does such a great job at setting you up to be successful with your projects, I felt like this was one where some actual skill is definitely required! You can see I am still very much an amateur, but the brushes were so easy to work with and I felt like there was plenty of practice and guidance given. I'm glad I have another mug to work on and if I really get good (not likely!) I can even swap out my first design easily since it's just a matter of slipping in a new sheet to the outer layer of my mug!

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

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? It is possible you might get this crate, but it is not a guarantee. From KiwiCo:

Crates are assigned each month based on availability and your crate history - not all subscribers receive the same theme each month.

What do you think of Maker Crate? Click below to write a review!

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Maker Crate is a monthly craft box dedicated to the discovery of new art and design tools to help turn artistic visions into design realities. Whether you're a new crafter or an experienced maker, each crate is designed to introduce fresh techniques, draw inspiration from real designs, and take p... read more.
Brandi D.
Brandi D.

I am a homeschooling mother of four. I am a former educator and have taught both elementary art and Special Education.

I have been reviewing boxes for MSA since January 2018 and have reviewed everything from activity and clothing boxes for kids to clothing, beauty, and pampering boxes for women. I have also reviewed boxes focused on home goods and even some men's boxes with the help of my husband! 

I love to discover new brands and try new things!

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