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My son received quite a few monetary gifts for his birthday this year and because he always saves his pocket money and we regularly put money in to his bank we agreed that he could spend the money on some new toys. One of the items he chose to buy was the Toy Story shaker maker set.
== What is it? ==
Shaker maker sets are basically kits which allow you to make plaster of paris models using a mould which is provided in the kit. There was something similar around when I was a child but the moulds were a flexible rubber and there was nothing fancy to mix the plaster of paris mixture up in like there is in these kits.
In this kit we received the following items:
-Shaker maker base cup
-Shaker maker lid
-Four halves of solid plastic moulds which fit together to create two full moulds which are in this case the alien and Buzz Lightyear
-Two bags of plaster of paris powder
-Paint pots to paint the models
All of the contents are housed in a cardboard box which shows pictures of the Toy Story Characters which you can make. There is a clear panel on the front of the box so that you can some of the contents of the box through it.
== Using the set ==
My son decided that he would like to make both of the figures at once and so we first made sure that we had fitted the alien and Buzz moulds together properly and that there were no spaces for the mixture to leak out of through the moulds.
Following the instructions we filled the base to the fill line with warm to the touch but not hot water and then emptied a packet of the plaster of paris powder in to the water. We then attached the shaker maker lid to the base and shook the mixture vigorously for around thirty seconds to make sure it was mixed up properly.
After we mixed the water and powder we removed the lid and poured the mixture in to the moulds where we allowed it to set for around ninety minutes before removing the moulds and painting them.
== What we thought ==
My son was quite involved in pouring the powder in to the water and fixing the moulds together but when it came to shaking the mixture it was quite tricky for him to do as it felt quite heavy inside the shaker maker and I needed to use quite a lot of force to actually feel the mixture sloshing around inside. I was also quite worried that my son may try to shake it too hard and drop it or something and that the lid would fall off and my kitchen would be quite literally covered in plaster of paris.
When we were putting the plaster of paris mixture in to the moulds it did seem very thick-to the point where we had to scoop some of it out with a spoon rather than pour it all in and it did feel like it was drying very quickly in the shaker maker. This was perhaps down to our own error but we did follow the instructions and made sure we used the right amount of water. It made making the models quite tricky with it becoming so thick so quickly which was a shame really.
Removing the models from the moulds was very easy but the alien mould hadn't filled properly and so it looked quite strange with around three quarters of a face! The Buzz figure was perfect though and my son was pleased with both his creations regardless.
The brush that comes with the set is very thin but to be honest some of the details on the models are minute and very tricky for a child to paint accurately even with the thin brush-there are tiny buttons on Buzz Lightyears outfit for example and these were really small and hard to paint even for me! My son had a good go at painting the figures though and I have to say that considering his age he did an excellent job. He is very proud of his finished products and that is the main thing really.
Despite a few faults with this product it does make an ok activity to do with your child on a rainy day when you are perhaps stuck for something to do with them. I can't say that we would buy another set though after using this one.
== Price and availability ==
We bought this set from argos where it was around ten pounds or on a two items for fifteen pounds offer. We bought it on the offer and so it proved slightly better value at £7.50. I think it is an ok buy for £7.50 but I am glad we didn't pay more that this for it. The set is available on amazon too for just over eleven pounds but I would say get it from argos if you are really interested.
Thank you for reading my review!