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Just when I thought that my five year old had worked her way through every craft set known to the pre-teen market, along came her birthday, and as she had an "arty party" she got a number of new crafty gifts from her guests, this starter pack for paperoni being one of them.
Paperoni is billed as "paper and fun rolled into one" by the manufacturer. Basically they are little paper sticks in different colours that look a bit like the pretend cigarette sweets you used to be able to buy when I was a lot younger. The sticks can be stuck onto 2-D and 3-D bases, to make models, you stick the end of the stick onto whatever you are working with, rather than laying it flat.
This particular set contains sticks and all you need to make about 4 models with the paperoni. The exact contents were; one 3-D model template, one 2-d template (fish), jewels, eyes and feet to stick on the 3-D model, a pair of tweezers to pick up the paperoni sticks and full instructions.
This toy is nicely presented, but when you open it the 900 paperoni sticks (manufactures's figure, I haven't counted but there is quite a lot), in varying colours from white, yellow, black, brown, green and two shades of blue, come in a rather cheap looking container. The pot looks like something you would buy ready made salad in, and as the lid is on a hinge it is a little hard, if not impossible, to open without the sticks flying everywhere. In all honesty they could have spent a bit more and provided a proper container, and once open, my abiding impression was that the whole kit probably cost very little to manufacture.
Still, there are some well laid out instructions and a number of projects, so it does appeal to an arty type, and my daughter was keen to get going. The first thing she made was the dog as pictured on the front of the box which you can see above.
Basically in the pack there was the template for the dog, which consisted of two round brown sticky balls on a stick with a pedestal, with a protective plastic cover to keep it sticky I assume. Once the cover was removed, according to the instructions you were supposed to pick up sticks with the tweezers and press them onto the body, following the colour the body was printed with. I say "supposed" to, as it soon became clear that using the tweezers was very fiddly and neither I or my daughter could manage it, so we soon resorted to sticking them on with our fingers. The model sort of looked like a slightly strange hedgehog with the different sticks on it.
We were then supposed to press the sticks down so they stuck. We did do this and followed the overlong instructions to the letter (they were overlong as they are printed in 3 languages), and we added the sticky feet and eyes and ears. It then looked like the illustration more or less, but along the way was rather frustrating to make. The sticks kept falling off, and once finished don't actually dry into place. I assume this is so A + E departments throughout the land aren't filled with children with their hands stuck to hedgehog-dogs, but the end result was that we had made a strange looking dog which you can look at but not touch unless you want bits to fall off. We've had more fun.
We did work our way through the 2-D project (a fish), basically the same idea only this time the template was flat. There were also two clear sticky sheets for freestyle creations that we used to make some mosaics.
Paperoni is an original idea, and the adverts that have been regularly shown on commercial TV have made it appealing to children if my daughter is to be believed, but the reality was rather less fun than we had thought it would be. Having used all the sticky sheets provided we have been left with quite a few paperoni sticks left that I suppose we could use for some other craft endeavour, but the reality is they seem to have languished in the craft cupboard for a while.
The kit is available for £9.99, at that price I, personally, wouldn't buy it; though it is much better value as part of the 2 for £15 argos deal which has been running for a while. You can buy a paperoni "studio", which contains more projects and a cutting machine, which may be more creative, but I must admit we are not really tempted.
This was a nice gift to receive but I am not sure that the appeal of paperoni is really universal as the projects seem to me to be a bit pointless and lacking in creative potential. Also the actual making part is rather frustrating. Paperoni may appeal to slightly older girls but I would say there are better craft toys and I'm not sure that I would really recommend this one, and would say HAMA or even Aquabeads may be a more longlasting and satisying choice.
http://www.paperoni.com/ for more details, that advert, and views of hedgehog dog.