* Prices may differ from that shown
My 3 year old son needed some new art supplies and so for his Christmas last year I decided to pick up small bits and pieces to pad out his stocking, one of the items I came across were these Mister Maker paintbrushes. As my son is a huge fan of the show I thought we would give these a try as some of the others we have used have been rubbish.
The brushes are available from Early Learning Centre and Mothercare outlets that sell ELC products as well as online. I also seen them available on Amazon for a while and when I purchased they cost just 50p for the pack although the regular selling price of £1 is not going to break the bank!
The brushes come packaged in a plastic wallet which I personally prefer as it means I don't have to find a tin or tub to house them after they have been washed and dried as they fit easily and securely into this wallet. It is easy to open with a flap held down for storage with another plastic strip. The bottom of the plastic wallet has a picture of Mister Maker and some cartoon brushed with the name of the product and '3 assorted brushes'.
The brushes themselves are chunky plastic handles with a ridge around 2 inches from the bristles, I'm not sure of the purpose of this but I find that my son doesn't hold the brush below this point perhaps as it's less comfortable but I'm not entirely sure if this is the case or not. Each brush is a different size, the largest is around a centimetre in diameter and is good for painting large area's or as I find children who are impatient and don't want to colour in small spaces at a time. The handle is the largest around the size of a marker pen, it is easy to hold I find that my son used this one most when he was younger as it was easier for him to grip and wasn't too fiddly.
The second brush is around 1/2 a centimetre thick and the handle is around the thickness of an average pen, perhaps a little thicker. Now that my son is older I find that this is the brush he reaches for more often than not. He is almost 4 and seems to find this the most comfortable to use in terms of thickness and the area the brush can cover.
The third brush is the one that is least used in this house, it is the regular skinny brush that is fiddly to hold and generally uncomfortable, also the brush head is very small at just 3 millimetres diameter, this generally covers a very small area and from having many of these going without use I am perplexed as to why children's craft makers continue to include a brush so small, it seems that this brush is much more suited to someone who is interested in art as an adult. I would much have preferred to see another chunkier brush within the pack.
Each brush has black bristles that are around an inch and a half long so they are sufficient in length that paint is not dripping up the brush and onto hands and sleeves while dipping in the paint tub which is a definite bonus for me. I have yet to find any stray black bristles within a picture that can often happen with cheaper brushes and it's one feature that I like about this set. It also means that these brushes last longer as they have bristles left on the brush unlike some others we have experimented with. Another thing I like about these brushes is that there a lot packed into the head, when painting it doesn't leave big voids in the picture which is another pro point. I also like that the brushes are not wirey and hard feeling but they are soft and pliable meaning that all manner of strokes can be used. Even when making 'spots' on the paper by dabbing the paper rather ferociously I found that the bristles retain their shape and don't flick outwards and become useless after just one painting.
Onto my least favourite part of the painting process which is the cleaning of the various brushes and pots! I found that the brushes were the easier to clean than many others we have had, the dark colour of the bristles meant that I was easily able to see the colour of the brightly coloured paint and effectively get rid of it all. I did find that the thickness of the largest brush meant it took a little longer to clean but it wasn't a huge problem.
Although the brushes are said to be suitable from age 3 I think that all but the smallest brush would be suitable for children much younger with the strength of the handle and the chunkiness of them I would be more than happy to let a child younger than 3 use these.
Overall I really like these brushes, they are very durable and excellent value for money they have lasted many paintings and are still in excellent condition. At just £1 these are a bargain and are definitely better than any other brushes I have used. I would definitely recommend these.
My twin boys love any "creative" activity and messy play activities and painting is top of that list. When we go to toddler groups and nursery is when my boys tend to paint which works out well for me as I'm not left with the mess that two toddlers plus paintbrushes and paint cause however for Christmas 2011 I was aware that paintbrushes and paints were probably items that would be good gifts to use for the year ahead. I decided to visit ELC ; the place I tend to go for all our craft supplies and bought 2 packs of paintbrushes which were called the Mister Maker Brush Set.
***Mister Maker Brush Set***
The Mister Maker Brush set is a pack of three paintbrushes. They come in 3 sizes a large brush (around 10mm thick), a medium brush (around 5mm thick) and a small paintbrush (around 2mm thick). Each of the paintbrushes has black bristles and has a brightly coloured plastic handle. The paintbrushes come in small plastic clear wallet for storage.
ELC state that the Mister Maker Brush Set is suitable for children over 3 years old.
The Mister Maker Brush Set is available from ELC stores and online. The set includes 3 paintbrushes and usual selling price is £1.00. This is excellent value considering paintbrushes sets in Wilkinson's cost a similar price. I purchased these brushes in November 2011 during a sale and the pack was reduced to 50p.
As I've mentioned my boys love to paint and I really enjoy when we do creative activities together. However one thing I noticed when I first started browsing for "creative" items and craft supplies was that ELC and in fact most stores state that their items are suitable for children over aged 3 years. My boys are two years old and have been painting, drawing and doing other activities since around 14 month old at various toddler groups and at nursery. As a new parent I must admit I was a little confused yet very keen for my boys to play with creative toys so when I spoke to other parents I came to the conclusion that providing my boys are supervised (which they are as leaving two toddlers alone with paint only has one ending!) I am more than happy for my boys to play with craft items suitable from aged 3. Therefore my review is based on an item which my boys are technically "too young for" but my judgement as a parent means I am happy for them to play with paint and paintbrushes (the Mister Maker Brush Set).
The Mister Maker Brush Set is a set of three paintbrushes and each of the brushes have a hard bright plastic handle. The brushes are different sizes (width wise) but after looking at the three brushes I decided to remove the small 2mm sized brush from the pack as I felt for my boys who were 23 months old that the brush might be a little dangerous as they easily could have snapped the handle of the brush with it being so thin and secondly I felt the brush may have been difficult for them to hold because of it being so thin. The 10mm brush and the 5mm brush looked perfectly suitable for children of 2 years and younger to paint with.
I gave the brushes to my boys and let them paint as they usually would do in their very enthusiastic way. Because they have painted regularly from being around 15 months old they have no problem with holding the paintbrush and applying paint to paper and hold a paintbrush very confidently. I do feel even for a child that has not painted before or regularly the Mister Maker paintbrushes are very easy to hold. The plastic handle is very easy to grip and has a very slight groove for little hands to hold. Secondly the actual brush is not to long therefore a child; especially a young one does not look awkward when holding the brush. With all the three paintbrushes the brush including bristles is around 18cm long so a child has a lot of control when painting.
The brush has black bristles which are of a good quality as they do not drop out into the paint when your child is painting. My mum bought some paintbrushes for my boys to use from Wilkinsons and my boys became very frustrated at all of the loose bristles falling into their paint and onto their masterpieces. In fact after around 8 uses I have not noticed any bristles that have fallen out. The bristles are also firm enough so that they keep their shape but also not too firm and rigid that they flick paint everywhere. At two years old my boys paint very enthusiastically and often stab the paper with the paintbrush. With the Mister Maker brushes this does not cause the paint to flick up and splash but the brushes have also retained their shape and not spread or split after around 8 painting sessions. I have found with poorer quality softer brushes the bristles on the paintbrush often separate because of the stabbing type painting style.
Not only do my boys have a lot of fun painting I feel the Mister Maker Brush Set has real development benefits. By painting with the brushes my boys are developing a real sense of creativity and using their imagination. As they paint they love to tell me what they are painting and I'm impressed at such a young age what they tell me they are attempting to create (although often the blobs on the paper do not resemble what they tell me but I of course agree anyway that they do). On a very basic level and especially for younger toddlers holding the Mister Maker Paintbrushes is a great way to develop their motor skills and hand to eye coordination.
I am not only impressed with the quality of the paintbrushes but I have also found that they are very easy to clean. The black bristles make it easy to see remaining paint that is left in the brush when you run it under the tap and after 8 uses I feel the Mister Maker Brush Set paintbrushes will get used a number of times before we need to throw away or buy new brushes. Once dry the plastic wallet is also a great way to store the brushes rather than have them rattling around in our craft box.
I would definitely recommend the Mister Maker Brush Set to other parents as the paintbrushes are easy to hold and paint with even for young toddlers, the bristles are a good quality and do not fall out and the brushes are very easy to clean and use another day. I also feel that these brushes are excellent value for money at 50p per pack and worth stocking up on to encourage the creative side in your child.
Although ELC state these brushes are not suitable for children under 3 years due to small parts I still feel the two larger brushes were suitable for younger toddlers. Personally I took the decision to take out of the pack the very small brush as I did feel it was a little too thin but feel the two larger brushes were perfect for my boys to paint with and presented no danger to my boys. Most ELC art materials state from 3 years but providing you supervise your child there is no danger.
An essential item for any child's arts and craft box at such a low price.
Each pack contains: 3 plastic paintbrushes in assorted bright colours. Large, medium and small sizes.Not suitable for children under 36 months due to small parts Age range: From 3 years.