Sparkleberry Industries: Premium Wood Burning tips, Soldering tips and Stencil Kit Review

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Crafting is something I have been slowly trying to get back into and it has not been easy. Not having the energy or time can be a big obstacle, as can be having the wrong tools. I had to research long and hard to even find a dependable wood burning pen because many would not work correctly, to just give out after just a few uses. Finding tips I thought was the easy part, but later I found that it was not the type, size, or style that would become the problem, it was the tip actually lasting. I had one tip from another manufacture just bend out of shape from the medium heat setting on the pen. I literally watched it just warp slowly as the pen heated up. Not a great start!

When Sparkleberry Industries offered to have me try a kit, well I have the pen and even the nice plastic box to carry all my essentials in, so why not. The kit includes:

  • 15 Pyrography Tool Tips (Brass colored tips, plus silver colored “stamps”)
  • 10 Soldering Tips (Silver colored tips)
  • 2 hot knife tips
  • 2 Plastic Stencils and
  • 3 Metal Stencils

I know, that is a pretty comprehensive list and the perfect starter set or even one you can compliment your collection with!

 

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Retail Price Point: $13.97 via Amazon and if you are a Prime member, shipping is free.

 

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Verdict:
From the get-go, Sparkleberry Industries lists what each tip is used for and does not leave the consumer just guessing. Any of the silver toned pieces are softer, so less pressure is advised when using. I heated up the first tip, which was a heart shape and the tip warmed evenly and allowed me to stamp a perfect heart on the scrap of wood I was using. I then went down the list and tested both the Pyrography and some of the soldering tips. Again, none took a different shape or did I have issues when using them. I did not test the hot knife ones and it was mostly because I have no current need for them, but come Halloween, these knives are great at shaping tombstones for the holiday, which we make out of Styrofoam that is used for insulation/noise dampening. I tried pricing the kit and you add the stencils and I have a need for them not just for outlining but just for simple labeling, plus all the other accessories and it really is a great deal. Not complicated, as all tips twisted on and off with ease and they are true to their shape and remain that way during use. My wood burning box is now filled with so many tips that I just need to score a wood crate on sale and get crafting!

 

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Sparkleberry Industries. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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U.S. Art Supply’s 40″ Professional Quality Mat Cutter

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U.S. Art Supply has single-handedly re-awoken my crafty nature. From painting to framing, airbrushing and more, the only thing I needed to have done professionally was my matting. No more, because U.S. Art Supply has made a mat cutter that puts the one I saw being used at Joanne’s to shame.

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With solid, strong aluminum hinged guide rails and aluminum mat channels (with 2 production stops) mounted securely to a solid, heavy premium MDF backer, it’s build like a tank and designed for heavy-duty use for years and years and years. There’s also a fold-able 27″ 90 degree 27″ squaring arm to keep things even and straight, and you get both straight and beveled cutting heads that use a simple razor blade to cut, so keeping a fresh, sharp blade in there is a breeze and the cost is minimal. It’s so simple to use that I can’t imagine I ever having paid someone to do this for me. Quick, sharp, precise cuts every time, and perfectly square too. And I love that I can set the bevel I want and not just have flat edges. The unit comes mostly assembled, so the box is huge, and even though I saw that it’s a 40″ unit I was still in awe of the sheer size of the system. You’ll need an extremely long counter or table to operate it on, and thankfully it has non-marring feet on the bottom as well.

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Gone for me are the days of hoarding framing discount coupons for my art projects, because with U.S. Art Supply’s Professional-Quality 40″ Mat cutter, I’ll never need to rely on someone else to cut mats for me, or pay an exorbitant or ridiculous price for pre-cut mats. after a few projects, this mat cutter pays for itself, and with U.S. Art Supply you’re also getting top-notch customer service, soup to nuts. They only want 100% satisfied customers, and always go above and beyond to get you there. I recommend this product highly!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from US Art Supply. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Eunectes Watercolor Paint Set with Travel case, Palette & Brushes


I’ve been wanting to try a watercolor set of paints ever since I rediscovered my “crafty” side, and have been holding out for a decent set at a fair price that would meet my, admittedly limited right now, needs. Eunectes happened along and offered me a chance to try and review their set, so I saw it as kismet and said “You bet!”

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And I’m extremely glad I did. So far, this is a very high quality set with bright, rich, vivid colors that have extremely high pigments that absolutely ensure that whatever you paint is coated in a luscious wash of color. With 24 colors available in this set, there’s nary a color combination you can imagine that you cannot produce. These Eunectes watercolors come up off the block easily and spread evenly for uniform coverage and saturation of color. The color blocks are first ground to fine powder and are “made from the best available pigments and gums” and are non-toxic, with conformance to ASTM D-4236 and EN71-3 standards.  The included travel box ensures that you can store or transport your watercolors safely with no right of hihgly pigmented dust staining the floor or furniture, and the set even comes with a white mixing base paint, and plastic mixing palette, and a starter set of brushes so you’re good to go and start creating the moment your Eunectes Watercolor set arrives!

A quick note, Amazon did it’s usual atrocious packing job and a few of my watercolor blocks were cracked, as well as a rainbow of paint dust from jostling during shipping covered everything. Should you have the misfortune of getting Amazon’s ubiquitous “Stupid Shipping Gang” treatment of your set as well, be sure you thoroughly wipe everything down beforehand with a damp cloth, because these are extremely high pigments and will very vividly stain almost anything it comes in contact with, possibly permanently. Overall I’m thrilled with the quality of this Eunectes Watercolor set, and I highly recommend this set for beginners and experienced painters alike.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Eunectes. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

U.S. Art Supply’s Wooden Artist’s Brush & Tool Box

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To say that I’m a fan of U.S. Art Supply would be a gross understatement. Everything they make is quality, affordable, and they provide everything that a professional artist, or a weekend art warrior like me, could ever want or need. And it’s all just a click or two away. And then they go and offer me this amazing Wooden Artist Tool and Brush Box and make me fall in love with them all over again.

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Hubby, bless his heart, has fully embraced my rediscovered crafty-ness. He’s bought me brushes, pencils, pens, paints, and tools, and I was just about out of places to stash them all. He even donated his old plastic art supply box from high school, but it was woefully under-equipped to handle my supplies. And you could probably imagine the “decorations” a bored 13-year old might doodle on there in art class. So it didn’t exactly look stunning in my little craft closet. Thankfully, U.S. Art Supply’s Wooden Artist’s Tool & Brush box looks so spiffy, I don’t think I want to hide it away in the closet anymore! With 4 separate easily-accessible sections, 3 of which are accessible from right outside the box, you have plenty of room to store all your supplies but also keep them within easy reach! The top hatches slide open, the bottom drawer is generous, and the compartments that are under the top hatches are deep enough to hold just about anything! Made of 100% solid wood, no particle board or verneers, and with wonderful craftsmanship, it’s built to last for years and look awesome doing it. The leather-wrapped handle on top is really a gorgeous accent as well, and the brass fittings and hardware are a nice touch.

My first box was slightly damaged from shipping and the bottom drawer was permanently, hopelessly stuck. Not to worry, U.S. Art Supply’s staff is so courteous and helpful they had a new one out and in my hands in a matter of days. No muss, no fuss. I love U.S. Art Supply’s products and service, and this Artist’s Brush and Tool Storage Box is a winner!

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Connect with U.S. Art Supply at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from U.S. Art Supply. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

U.S. Art Supply: Chalkmaster® Liquid Chalk Markers 18 piece set #Review #UsArtSupply

 

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When the craze of chalk markers hit, I was so happy that they finally came to be. I even bought chalkboard paint and made my own boards, tags, place cards, and you name it. I then go to open my $7 dollar pen and I was disappointed. Let’s say the pen could barely write and when it did, it would ooze marker paint all over than where I wanted to write, that it made my writing look like I was in kindergarten. I tried everything from shaking the marker really well to trying to write in the only goofy angle the pen would allow marker fluid to flow…..but still I was unhappy with the results. Then came the clean up and everything I had attempted to write on was left with a green colored film, the same hue as the marker! Talk about having high hopes and just being left with black boards and going back to crumbly chalk sticks.

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U.S. Art Supply, is a company I have reviewed in the past and you know from reading my reviews, I love them. I enjoy many make-up brands and U.S. Art supply is the what I call the make-up for my crafts! Every product I have tried from them works and performs as designed. When crafting a project is sometimes only as good as the product you are using, and not always can talents or imagination save it if the core product just does not deliver. These like others from U.S. Art Supply, delivered!

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Retail Price Point: $19.96 for a set of 18 markers. Each pen comes with a chisel point on one side and a bullet point tip on the other end (just flip the ends) and it comes with free replacement tips. Double duty and performance to make sure every writer can deliver their messages in beautiful print and colors!

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Verdict:
Get the chalk board paint out because these guys are just what you need if you are seeking out chalk liquid markers. Don’t have chalkboards? Well, these markers go beyond writing on other surfaces from glass to metal, to plastic and even paper. The colors are vibrant and beautiful, but most importantly, they work! You can write flawlessly and not one of the pens was temperamental when using. Every time I picked a picked a pen up, it performed and glided smoothly over any non-porous surface. Clean up was easy and if you want your writing to stay, you can opt to seal the project with a light spray from a varnish can. I wanted chalk markers to use to write on all the boards I created and also to decorate all the mirrors I have up around the house. It’s a great way to decorate for a party and easy to clean up, plus I don’t waste ink and paper from a printer. I have written menus on mirrors for guests to know what will be served to celebration messages. The ideas are endless, to decorating for the holidays to even having guests write messages for the guest of honor. You then can then take a picture of the creations to save for memories, clean the mirror off, and it’s ready to make new mirrors again. The ink leaves no film or residue, easy to wipe off because it’s water based and also non-toxic. You have electric neon colors that pop to vibrant primary colors that are deep with color. The cost for an 18 set of markers is economical and because you saved some money, it does not mean you don’t get quality because with U.S. Art Supply products, they stand behind what they make with a 100% Money Back guarantee. Not that you need it because when they placed such a guarantee, it was with the intent that the products aim to please the consumer and I am always pleased with everything I have tried!

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Connect with U.S. Art Supplies and Satisfy your Creative Hunger at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from U.S. Art Supply. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

U.S. Art Supply’s Stretched Square Canvas Multi-Pack

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I’m a huge fan of U.S. Art Supply and the products they provide, and that should come as no surprise to any regular reader of this blog. And they’ve been so generous in providing multiple products for me to review and try out, I’m almost out of superlatives to describe their awesome supplies. And then they go and do it again with their Professional Quality SQUARES Freedom Series Stretched Canvas Multi-pack. Honestly, I’m in heaven.

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These are professional primed cotton canvas stretched over real hardwood frames (no MDF or particle board here!), stapled and glued on the reverse for clean, smooth finished edges. They are strong and sturdy with no flex and no twist. They are also double-primed with acid-free acrylic gesso so that either oil paints of acrylics are good to go. You get 2 each of 5 different sizes in this pack, 4″x 4″, 6″x 6″, 8″ x 8″ , 10″ x 10″, and 12″ x 12″. They’re also about 1″ thick all around. Great for kids, crafty adults (like me), artists, novices, dabblers, or even folks like me that loved painting, and just got out of the habit, until U.S. Art Supply eased me back in and unleashed the little creative monster inside. They are suitable for immediate hanging framed or unframed, I loved these, as the possibilities are endless what you can create. And the best part is they’re competitively priced with you local brick-and-mortar art supply store, and usually much, much more affordable (with many, many products having free shipping)!

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U.S. Art Supply is a great company to boot, with tremendous after-sales service, and a real personal touch in their communications. Their website is vast, comprehensive, and has everything one would ever need to create their next masterpiece. It’s a company I’m proud to support and happy to be buying from in the future. Like this package, and every single one they’ve ever sent me, it’s packed well and arrives in perfect condition. I’d say the only limit to what you can create is your own imagination, because, like this Canvas Squares Multi-pack, it’s no going to be for lack of supplies.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from US Art Supply.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

US Art Supply: 3″ x 3″ Mini Professional Primed Stretched Canvas (1-Pack of 12-Mini Canvases) #Review #UsArtSupply

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I again welcome US Art Supply to the blog and this time they sent the most adorable little canvases for me to review. I have been on an art and craft kick that seems to have no end to it, so you can see why my love for US Art Supply runs so strong.

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The miniature canvases measure 3 inches by 3 inches, with a 3/8 of an inch profile. These canvases are made using acid free gesso and are triple primed, so you have a nice thick platform to create on. The canvas material is stretched by hand and over wooden “stretcher bars” that are made with kiln dried wood, which tends to not lose it’s shape. Your art remains beautifull for year to come without worry of sag or destruction to the image. If you put the work in to make something, it should reward you with years of lasting so you can enjoy it!

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Retail Price Point: $11.97 for 12 mini canvases in each pack and they measure 3 x 3 in size. This is also a product that qualifies for free shipping with an Amazon Prime account.

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Verdict:
I figure it was time to make something for a bare wall that has been in our library/office. I have geodes and the such on the book shelves along with books but I wanted something that represents nature, but had a unique appearance. Something educational but also contained beauty and because I love to garden, I figured an homage to bees. These little guys not only help my citrus trees produce fruit, keep my berry bushes producing boysenberries, but they love everything from the rose garden to the hibiscus bushes we have along the wall. Always busy and buzzing, plus with the amount of bees lowering in count, I figured it was time to show appreciation for the little workers. I went with a green background to keep within nature’s colors and sketched a bee (of course with a US Art Supply pencil). I went with metal flowers to add contrast to the piece and again a different element of texture. I gathered some worker bees that seemed to have worked too hard and perished (in the pool) and put them under a glass dome and in a bottle using copper wire. I even took US Art Supply’s 3 x 4 inch canvas and used it backwards to create a honey store. These canvases can be used more than just the front-side and that is what I love about them! The material is smooth even on the backside and because US Art Supply takes care in production, the back portion is made nice enough to be usable. I fixed everything to a floral fabric and redid a vintage frame into a shadowbox frame, to provide more depth. This also allows me to use large items like glass bottles and domes. I collected everything I had on bees from charms to even earrings (bee wings) that I used for the honey bottles and the bumble bee earrings to be featured flying around the black colored rose on the fabric, just like they fly around the flowers. Simple and really just re-purposing what I had around the home because I figured a bee uses all it can in nature to keep working (or for me crafting)!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from U.S. Art Supply. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Ink Print Art: Contemporary Flower Print Set; Size 8×10, Unframed Art Set #InkPrintArt

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Like most of us, I am really picky about what I put up on my walls. I have been living at our current home for over 20 years and we still have walls that I prefer leaving plain, versus regretting hanging something that will be regarded as settling later. I have done this where a picture is just wrong for a room and if it stays up for a week, it will be lucky and it usually then gets returned or designated for later use. Most times I make what we put up because I want a unique item for that wall that has been left blank for years.  There are also times I use ready made art and incorporate it to project design I have in mind.

When Ink Print Art offered to send me a duo set of prints, I was excited because the pictures were pretty and unique. The image is of flowers and has a contemporary style and one picture is of the whole flower, while the second picture is of the stigma/stamen of the bloom. Think of it as taking a picture of the entire piece and then a secondary one as a closer look.  The floral art has hues of purple and grey, almost like how a flower would appear in shaded lighting. I was thrilled when on I saw the images on-line and read the description.

Retail Price Point: $9.99 via Amazon and the product qualifies for free shipping if you have a Prime account.

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Verdict:
The flower prints arrived and the stock of the paper is pretty much like the stock you find in most pictures you see when you purchase a frame. The image of the print is suppose to be soft hues, however it is not vivid or true in color. My images were also not printed well because the pixels were visible and it looked more like a printer was running low on ink when the artwork was printed. I love the image and could see how neat it would look if it were just printed with a higher quality printer that had enough ink to make you appreciate how the colors in the print graduate. My pictures looked washed out and even had what I could describe as looking sun bleached, even though they were not but this is how poor the image looked in person. There is no gloss or pop to the picture and I tried seeing it as maybe a satin finish, but it really has none of those finishing touches. There is also no information about the flower and to me it appears to be a Magnolia Wilsonii flower but who really knows and you should at least know what you are hanging on your walls even for just curiosity purposes. I can see if the picture came with a frame, but the price point is just for two pictures that would have been amazing if the print and quality of both the ink and paper did not leave you desiring for more.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Ink Print Art.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

U.S. Art Supply: Wood Table Box Easel Painting Set; Paints, Canvas, HB Pencil, Brushes, and Plastic Palette and Knives #USArtSupply

U.S. Art Supply did it again in sending out a starter kit that is welcoming sight for new artists of all ages, or nicely supplements what an established artist may have. Paints, is something that I always run low on, so I always welcome a set whenever possible. The acrylics supplied in this kit are fabulous and have a smooth texture that is not too thin or thick. The colors can be moderated from bright to mute, depending on how you mix the media. What I love most is the pigments are rich in color, so I don’t have to keep squeezing out product to get the color I want (i.e. intensity) but end up with too much material and/or layers applied.

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The Kit does not end there and this is all you get from U.S. Art Supply:

  • 1 Wood Table Box Easel with a slide out drawer for storage. The case also has a handle for easy carrying
  • A 12 Acrylic Paint set and these are actual size tubes to use, no sample sizes! Each tube contains 12 ml of paint.
  • 3 canvas panels for the artist to start creating with. They measure 9″ x 12 ” in size.
  • An HB Pencil to outline and sketch with.
  • A Palette Knife made of Plastic for easy cleaning.
  • A Plastic Palette that makes it easy to wash and clean after use because the paints peel off if they dried onto the surface. The palette has 16 wells that are circles and square in shape.  The amount of space was wonderful because I did not run out of room and was able to makes custom color washes all in one sitting.
  • Also, 4 Brushes of various sizes and made with wooden handles (#2,#4,#6,#8).

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Retail Price Point: A ultra fair price of $24.96 and ships free with an Amazon Prime Account.  You can choose from an Acrylic set (the one I received), A Watercolor set or an Oil Painting set for the same price point.

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Verdict:
I can’t say enough and absolutely love this kit. It has everything you need and/or want, that I was overwhelmed with the amount of content. I looked at the price point and kept trying to find where I was shorted but could not find one thing wrong. The drawer that pulls out slides with ease and even has two metal hinges that lock it in place. The carrying case serves as a stand, so this is perfect for an artist on the move and if you want to visit a park and feel inspired to paint, all you need is to bring a bottle of water for you and your paints and you are set.

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I was able to create a painting and all I used was the paints provided by U.S. Art Supply and a cracking media. I wanted to create background for pocket watches I will be making and framing, they will have a vintage look, so I went with an antique crackle finish that you add to paints to create the look. Once the paint set and dry, I was ably to apply the second step that actually creates the crackle. I sealed the work with polyurethane once I was finished. My Husband liked the painting so much, that he wants me to frame it as-is and make another background for the pocket watch project! This kit is great for kids to adults because the products that U.S. Art Supply gives you, come with zero frustrations! I had brushes that worked and no loss of bristles while painting. An easel that stayed in place and paints that allowed me enough time to work while I painted but dry beautifully with no crackle………..well, except where I wanted it!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from U.S. Art Supply.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

US Art Supply: 24 count Assortment Panel Pack Liberty Series #Review #USArtSupply

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Being able to get a panel set like this for this price, well it’s not anything I can find in stores. I covered earlier on the great products you get from U.S Art Supply and I am always floored by the quality and price points. U.S Art Supply makes crafting and creating art affordable and that tends to stimulate creativity because there is nothing to stop you. I get ideas just like everyone and the worse part is wanting to do, but not being able to afford to.

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The U.S Art Panel Assortment Includes:

  • Six 5″x7″ panels
  • Six 8″x10″ panels
  • Six 9″x12″ panels
  • Six 11″x14″ panels

Retail Price Point- $34.96 for a total of 24 panels in 4 different sizes. Ships free with Amazon Prime membership too.  The panels have a weight of almost 10 pounds, so there is no skimping on materials and quality here!  Each panel has on the back a label that the artist can complete, reflecting the title of the piece, artist name, medium used and date with signature.  How neat is that!

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Verdict:

This is a great starter kit because you have panels in all sizes and a wonderful kit for an established artist. Great for crafting and even for a family activity. Everyone can create anything for any wall size and what I like about panels versus canvases that have the wooden frame, they are super easy to frame because of being flat. The panels are made with acid free materials and are more of a hardboard versus the give a stretched out canvas may have. You can draw, sketch and paint with any media from oils, acrylics to pastels. No limitations! The edges of the panels are wrapped over neatly, so no “raw-edge” to have to cover or worry about. The acid free mention is worth noting because it means your creation from art-work and/or memories will not deteriorate or age, due to the panel’s materials. These panels are also great for more than painting with the plethora of metal crafting materials available from metal flowers to even magnified glasses. You can create a real masterpiece without even having to wait because this panel assortment from U.S. Art supply ships free from Amazon with Prime membership.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from US Art Supply.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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