Are You An Art Supply Snob?

The first time I heard about Crayola’s “Color Wonder” products I was very skeptical. Yep, my little art teacher nose turned up so fast and morphed into full fledged snob-mode. If you haven’t heard of it, Color Wonder products include color-less paint that only shows up on special paper that makes it appear. I’m guessing that the product was designed for those skittish parents that hate messes and don’t want paint everywhere, but still want to provide their kids with art experiences at home. Noble goal.

I didn’t like the idea because the entire POINT of using paint is to see the colors you are going to use and intentionally create something with them. Painting is a well-rounded sensory experience that shouldn’t me messed with. Right?

Low and behold, I ended up eating my words, as my daughter (age 2) received a Color Wonder Light-Up Paint Palette for Christmas this year from her Grandma. (Yes, it lights up and of course, I refuse to put batteries in the thing).

After several experiences with using it though, I have to admit, it’s not half bad. My daughter enjoyed seeing the colors appear after they were put on the paper, and the colors ended up being quite bold. She didn’t have a problem understanding what color she was using and, I will admit, the lack of mess was kind of nice.

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Would a teacher actually use this product in the art room? Probably not, since it’s quite spendy and I don’t think the paints would last all that long for classes of 30 students. However, I know parents are always asking art teachers for recommendations on what to purchase for their kids at home, and in this case, I would probably give this product the ‘nod’ if asked.

Hey, anything to get the art in the hands of kids, right!?

I guess this story goes to show, we can’t always judge an art supply at first glance. As you flip through the catalog to order your next round of supplies, you might consider giving something new a chance. Even something that doesn’t seem as ‘open ended’ as we would like, can still have a place in the art room if used in a sensible way.

So tell us, what strange art supplies have you tried that seem to ‘break the mold’ ?

Any snobbish arty moments where you ended up eating your words, like me? 

Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • Honestly I liked the product. I have my early childhood minor and masters, curriculum instruction Masters as well as my bachelors in art. During my classes in early childhood it was one product that the professor brought in for us to rate and come up with why to use it and why not. Most of the students in the class not being from art, but education only background was fascinated by it. they could use it with out disrupting the school day on a regular basis. Where most teachers do not drag paint out daily, this many would get out as a free choice. I wouldn’t use it in my art room because of expense.

    • The idea of reviewing new products in your classes is a great idea! Ordering is such a difficult part of the teaching process for new teachers.

      • We do this every year at our once a year art teacher meeting each of us bring in 1-2 supplies we love and 1-2 lessons around it.

  • Ha! I love this a lot. I’m such an art supply snob, but I have to admit to liking the Crayola magic goop as well. We can just think of it as a new art medium, surely to be embraced by professional artists very soon… or not :)