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Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Clever DIY Review

In the past I have bought the occasional little crafty kit - plaster mould fridge magnets and the like - but my kids always managed to sneak out at night, find the kits and use the goods inside, such as the paint pots, to "decorate" their bedroom walls.

Their bedroom walls are so beautiful and artsy they make me want to burn the house down.

Anyway, because of a few such incidents, I just stopped buying such kits.  I decided to not buy individual craft products, such as paints and glitters and sequins.  The thought of the kids decorating the rest of the house was just terrifying.  So awesome crafts, not a big thing in our house in the past.

This year is different.  At the end of last year I managed to get through to the Monster, for the most part, and get him to stop the sneaking and using of things he shouldn't be using.  The Wench, being the adoring little sister, follows his lead and is behaving better as well.

So in January, when I read a review of a monthly crafty subscription box, code for the first month free included, I decided to give it a go.  It's a month to month subscription, so if my trust in the kids was misplaced, or the crafts weren't any good, I could cancel it with ease.

I have not cancelled the subscription.

Clever DIY is an offshoot of Clever Patch.  Their main purpose is to provide a monthly subscription box full of crafts, they also sell previous boxes two weeks after subscribers receive their box.

Each box comes with three or more craft projects of a specific theme.  The box includes the pieces of the craft whether it be pre-cut wood to slot together, pre-cut card to fold together or other fun things like that.  Also included, each month, is a Mess Mat (a piece of card to protect your table), and everything you need.  So if a box requires paints, you get the paints - usually a set or two of 6 small paint tubs.  If it requires glue, glue pens are provided.  You may also get, glitter, sequins, stickers, foam stickers, permanent markers and, well, I don't know what else yet.  We only just got our second box!

There are two subscription options, I chose the Share Box Subscription which gives us two of everything in the one box.  Perfect for two kids.  Bonus: the package is delivered in their names!  My kids are extremely excited by that little fact, to see their names on the mail is just amazing to them.

In February we received the Gadgets box, which I totally forgot to take good photos of before we did all the projects.  In the box we received two Mess Mats, 4 sets of 6 mini-paint pots, 2 glue pens, 2 permanent markers, 2 paint brushes and the crafts themselves.  The crafts were the pieces to easily construct 2 tablet/book stands, 4 phone stands and 2 headphones holders.

We did one craft per week because I know how to make things last and use them to work well with our homeschooling I am a mean mummy who never lets anyone have any fun .

The first week we did the book stands.  The kids were so excited they drew on some designs, painted them, waited for them to dry.  Decided they needed more, so added more designs, painted, let dry.  And on like that for.... I am not kidding here.  Over SIX hours.

See the table between the two of them? It begins.
They were also so excited the inevitable happened.  The table, despite the mess mats (or perhaps in spite of them) was covered in paint and marker at the end of the day.  The Monster, in his capacity as Monster of the House, even used his marker to scribble all around the area the Wench works and then tried to make out that she did it.  When she wasn't even in the room.  Because she is, apparently, magical.

These are the people I work with on a daily basis.  Pity me.

Week two we did the phone stands.  The Monster, under threat of never ever doing a craft or touching paint again, managed to curb his enthusiasm for decorating the table, and only made a "minimal" mess.  All completely by "accident" of course.  There were 4 phone stands, I decided to steal one and paint it myself.  Maybe I could provide an example of how to not paint on the table?  I don't know.  I felt like doing something fun, and I needed a phone stand.  The 4th one hasn't been done yet so I was able to take some photos of it.

Because of their enthusiasm in week one, they were running low on paint during week two.  I had to use some rather unsatisfactory water paints for mine.  That's my excuse for the beauty that is my phone stand.

Week 3 we did the earphone holders.  I also bought some extra paint before week 3 so they had enough this time.  It isn't that the box didn't contain enough paint, it certainly did for the projects.  It's just, the enthusiasm of my children made the paint disappear faster than it should have.  So if you have enthusiastic children like mine, you may want to have some extra paint on hand.

In week 4, I bought a few plastic table cloths.  The table decorating may be minimal now, but it is still happening, so preventative action is needed.  I could follow through on the "No crafts ever" threat, but I find the projects are good for them and I look forward to seeing how their designs change and maybe improve over time, with practice.  Besides, you never know if they will get another extra project I find worthy of stealing haha.

Our March box arrived today (the 4th of March) and its theme is, inevitably, Easter!  The kids are impatiently waiting for Tuesday, which is now our crafts day, to get stuck into it. And this one includes, along with the usual paint, marker and glue, glitter, sequins and foam stickers!  They shouldn't be messy at all.

My Overall Review?

I love Clever DIY and more importantly the kids love it.  Maybe too much.  I will be continuing with the subscription for as long as I am able.

The boxes include everything you need, every month.  They don't assume you will still have things from last month, they treat it like you have never had these boxes before at all and have never had any craft or art supplies before.  So every month you get everything you need, even if you already got it last month.

Can you get the individual materials for cheaper elsewhere? Like a dollar store?  Perhaps.  It's certainly possible.  Of course, paints and glues from cheap shops aren't always the best quality (or paint brushes for that matter, another issue with my phone stand). And I am not sure I can get the pre-cut woods at a good price, or easily, where I live.  So even if I could potentially get it cheaper by shopping for everything piece by piece, the convenience of this subscription makes it worthwhile.

Tips and Hints:
The Mess Mat they provide is great under normal circumstances, but get a plastic table cloth if you have "enthusiastic" kids.
Again if you have "enthusiastic" kids, get a bit of extra paint for just in case.
Make sure you point out to your kids that the package is sent to them in their names.  Even small things can bring some kids great joy.

Where can you get it and how much does it cost?

The boxes are released at the beginning of every month.  Your credit card is charged on the 1st of the month and the box is shipped soon afterwards, you get an email letting you know (invoice included) before the end of the day.  The package, depending on where you live, takes under a week to arrive and you sign for it upon arrival.

As said above, there are two subscription options.
Single Subscription - $24.90.  For one child/person.
Share Box Subscription - $39.90.  For two children/people,

Shipping is free for subscribers.  There is no contract, you pay by the month and can opt out at any time.  So if you realise you can't afford the next month, you can just cancel before then, and, I assume, re-subscribe later if you want to.

There are other options beyond this.  You can also shop for previous boxes.  At the 15th of the month the box of the month is available for sale in the shop at Clever DIY and you can buy it.  They cost the same as a single subscription, $24.90, however you are charged for shipping.

There aren't a huge amount of projects available yet, but you can purchase the Gadgets Box as shown in this post.  There is also a Christmas box available, a bedroom box and a couple others.

You can also shop for individual materials in their materials shop.

If you still aren't sure if you are interested in Clever DIY you can read some more reviews on it at Every Bed of Roses and A Moment in Our World (where I first learned about Clever DIY).

I have not been paid in any way for this review.  Though I did receive the Gadgets Box in February for free, this was a code deal and I was in no way obligated to review the product, good or bad.  This post is entirely based on my and my childrens opinions and feelings of Clever DIY.


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