Tag Archives: homeschool art

Zirrly Super Beads Mega Pack Review

We have a fun arts and crafts project to tell you about today.

We have been trying to find ways to involve the whole family, the older kids and the younger kids, in arts and crafts projects more often.  Sometimes you just want a break from the usual school studies.  We were thrilled when our family was offered to try Super Beads by Zirrly for some fun arts and crafts projects and write an honest review of our experience.

Zirrly is a craft supply company that has been providing fun engaging arts and crafts projects for families to create since 1956.  Their craft kits and supplies are both creative and educational.  They have many different kinds of craft kits and supplies.  These can be used for enjoyment and used in a variety of ways in various settings that help develop fine motor skills and creativity for kids and adults, rehabilitation, special needs, and the elderly too.

Super Beads are:

  • Fun, Educational and Creative Fun For All Ages
  • Portable
  • No Mess
  • Safe and Non-Toxic
  • Flexible and Won’t Crack
  • No Ironing
  • No Gluing
  • Super Beads Fit Snugly Onto Board so They Won’t Move Around While You’re Working
  • Simply Spray With Water and the Super Beads Fuse Together

The Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to review a Super Beads project of their choosing.  There were several great options to choose from:

Jungle Animals

3D Animals

Birds Set

3D Car and Truck

Spinning Tops

Jewelry Set

Mega Pack

Super Beads: Mega Pack

For the past few weeks, we were able to incorporate using Super Beads Mega Pack for arts and craft projects in our homeschool, and each of our six kids have been able to spend time creating something affordable and fun.

Super Beads: Mega Pack

  • 4500 Super Beads in large bag
  • 2 Spray Bottles
  • 1 Design Tool
  • Instructions
  • 4 Different Design Templates: Apple, Turtle, Elephant, Cupcake
  • 5 Copies of each Design Template (if you have multiple students working on same design)
  • 4 Design Boards

The kids were so excited when our package of Super Beads arrived.

We received a large bag of beads with several colors (white, yellow, brown, red, blue, green, pink) and two small packs of beads with colors (black and orange) that were not part of the larger pack.

Everything you need to complete each design is included.

I put the kit into a dishpan to contain everything until we were ready to begin.

I had a feeling it wouldn’t be a good idea for 4500 plastic beads to spill.

When it was time to work on our crafts, we took some time to sort the colors into an ice cube tray that had 10 dividers.

I dumped about half the bag of beads into a pie plate for sorting.

This step was tedious and took a lot longer than we expected.  Thankfully we had lots of hands helping out.

It was quite a pretty sight when they had the beads sorted and the tray filled.  However, our tray wasn’t nearly large enough to hold very many at one time.

Four of our kids could work with the beads at the same time.  They each received a design tray.  The trays can be used one at a time, or they can be combined to make larger projects.

Next they inserted their design of choice onto the back of the tray.

The tray is see through so you can see the design from the top side.

Next they got busy adding beads to their design tray.

Here is what their designs looked like once they had added all of the beads onto their design trays.

Once they had their designs complete.  It was time to spray them with water.  The kit comes with two spray bottles to share.   Just fill them with water and they are ready to use.  One of our bottles leaked slightly, so that reinforced the idea that we should empty out the water and dry the spray bottles before storing them away, especially if you plan to store them with your extra beads.

On the back of the design instructions, is a “Tips and Tricks” helpsheet to help you understand the best method for spraying the design.

You want to be sure to get just enough water to make the beads fuse together, but not to much water and not too little either.

We set our designs out to dry.  It takes as little as 60 minutes for them to be removable from the design tray.  We removed one design after an hour and let the other designs alone to dry overnight.

Completed designs are supposed to be flexible and won’t crack.  If they do come apart, it is likely because they didn’t receive enough water in that spot to fuse to the next bead, so just simply place them back on the design board and spray with water again and let it dry.  We had no trouble with removing ours from the boards and they held together very well.

You can find additional designs online or “think outside the box” and create your own designs.   Besides doing the regular designs, my kids enjoyed making their own creations.

Final Thoughts:

We really enjoyed making crafts with Super Beads: Mega Pack.  We would also like to try out the 3D Car and Truck set.  My kids are very interested in making cars and trucks.  My daughter and oldest son would like to try out the Jewelry Set.

These beads and templates would be a lot of fun to take the nursing home and do as a project with some of the residents the next time we go.  I would like to take them the Jungle Animals, Birds, and the Mega Pack.  It might remind them of fond memories from their visits to see animals at a zoo, and with the mega pack they could get creative with their own designs too.  It would make a nice keepsake of the time they spent with the kids creating a project.

In our homeschool, as the three big boys get older, and their school work gets harder and takes more time to complete, we noticed there is less time for them to enjoy doing fun crafts, especially if they are complicated or have expensive ingredients.  We still have three younger kids in the house too, so less complicated arts and crafts such as coloring, gluing, and painting are still important part in their learning.  Now we can add Super Beads as an affordable craft they can all enjoy designing and creating.

Arts and crafts are an important part of learning to be creative, learning to follow directions, and learning how to think and create outside the box.  These skills are important and enjoyable and they will benefit the person who learned them most likely through out their life.

Social Media

Be sure to check out Zirrly on their social media links for all the latest news, products, and great tips on using arts and crafts.

Facebook

Pinterest

Instagram

YouTube

Blog (with lots of crafts ideas)

Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using these products in their homes.

Please share.

Creating a Masterpiece Review

Creating A Masterpiece is an online Fine Arts Masterpiece program for students of all ages.  They offer affordable and easy to follow step by step instructions by master artist Sharon Hofer.

We were given a 6 month subscription to the Monthly Plan for our whole family to use in exchange for trying it out and writing an honest review.  I was so inspired by the instructor that I am doing these art project lessons right along with my kids.  It is a lot of fun!

Creating A Masterpiece Monthly Plan

Online Fine Art Instruction

All Ages

Video Lesson (online)

Supply List (online and PDF)

144 Lessons

18 Media

58+ Fine Art Projects

Retail: $39 month.

This is an online fine arts program with 144 lessons covering 58+ projects. The projects are divided into 5 skill levels plus an Art History section.  The projects cover 18 different media types. This program is flexible and you can choose to work on a specific skill level or with a particular media.  It is recommended to complete at least one lesson a week. How you choose to progress through the program is up to you.  You can also move around in the program however it best suits your needs.

Levels:

Beginner
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
Art History

ART MEDIUM:

18 different media are covered in the lessons and you can choose work with specific media rather than work on a specific level:

Acrylic
Batik
Block Printing
Carving
Conte’ Crayon
Copper Tooling
Glass Mosaic
Gouache
Ink
Mixed Media
Oil Painting
Oil Pastel
Pencil/Charcoal
Sculpture
Silk Painting
Soft Pastel
Watercolor
Wood Burning

Projects:

There are 58+ different projects.  You will need to decide on the project (choose either by level or by media) you wish to work on. Click on that lesson and go over the supply list as well as watch the video(s) to begin the project.

Each beginner lessons take about 1 hour or so to complete.  Most upper level projects have 3 to 5 lessons, and a few projects have as many as 7 lessons built in, so those projects will take longer to complete.

Check out this short 11 minute video of a young girl completing an online lesson and you will see how easy this program is for kids of all ages.

Supplies:

Each project has it’s own list of supplies needed.  Supply costs vary depending on the project you choose, and you may have some items currently on hand in your home, or you may need to purchase supplies in the craft section of your local store or online.  The program does not dictate how you buy the supplies, you are free to pick up your supplies however it works best for you to acquire them.

Sample:

If you would like to “try before you buy”, then check out the “Lessons in Soft Pastel” FREE Sample Lesson.  This is an excellent way to see how this program works.  You can also get the complete supply list of all the projects when you are given access for the sample lesson.

Art Teacher Sharon Hofer:

Sharon is dedicated and passionate that every student young and old regardless of skill level has the opportunity to create beautiful artwork and she is confident every student will excel with her program.

Sharon Hofer, has learned, mastered, and taught almost all forms of art media.  She began her love of art as a young child, and began her career teaching art while she was still a student in highschool.  She helped as a teaching assistant for the elementary grade art classes.  She went on to college and learned every media of art she could so that she could be the best teacher she could be.  She became a pastor’s wife.  She then homeschooled her own kids and taught them art.  She then taught other homeschool art classes in larger settings and her home art studio grew to over 180+ students a week.

She loves teaching art!

A quote from her website: “…you will be amazed at what they can do. As you will see, children as young as 4 – 5 can make masterpieces using media usually reserved for the high school student and beyond.” Sharon

Sharon is the owner and teacher of Creating A Masterpiece online fine art program, and the Hidden Acres Art School.  She has taught art classes professionally for over 16+ years.  She includes many forms of art media in her lessons so that each student has fine art instruction and exposure to a variety of learning opportunities.

Using this program with my family:

I love this teacher!!!  Before I did any research about Sharon’s background, that she was a homeschool mom, loved kids and teaching, or that she was a pastor’s wife, I felt a deep love for her.  I can’t explain it.  There was something so special about the way she presented herself and encouraged me right through the computer screen.  I knew she cared about me and my kids even though I had not met her in person.

I really like this program.  Sharon is so easy to follow and very encouraging. I have never heard an art teacher so easy to follow and interesting to listen to.  She is so encouraging that I want to, I desire to, make these projects. I am sure that sounds weird to someone who has not heard her speak, but trust me when I tell you that you will want to work on the project after you hear her teach the lesson.  You feel like you can do it!

This program is flexible in choosing what projects you want to do and when you want to do your lessons. We can log into our account from any computer, any time of day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and fit these lessons into our life where they fit best.

To do a lesson, my kids log into our account.  Then the kids gather the listed materials.  Next they begin implementing the steps they learned in the lesson.

You can listen to the lesson over and over again as you work and pause it whenever it is needed.  For example, you may want to let your masterpiece dry before moving onto another step, so pausing at a specific step is a good idea.  Also some of the lessons are broken down into short videos so you naturally pause between one video and the next.

We did improvise some of the materials where we needed too.  For example, for the lessons in watercolors, we didn’t have sponges on hand, so we used paper towels or just got extra water on our brushes to achieve similar (but not quite as nice) affects.  We also didn’t have the “nicer” paper for painting, so we used the paper we had on hand.  Sharon says in the water color lessons the lesser grade paper will wrinkle a little more as it gets wet and she gives instructions to iron the paper when completed to reduce wrinkles in the final product.  It still worked out great!  No worries!

Lessons in watercolors:

The first lesson we chose to do was a beginner level watercolor lesson with flowers. The lesson was divided into three short videos about 4 minutes, 5 minutes, and 6 minutes in duration.  After we watched the videos, we sat down to do the lesson and paused the video as needed and complete the steps as you let the project dry for a bit then watch the next section and complete it. Overall, the video and art project took about 45 minutes to 1 hour for each of my kids to complete.   This was very easy to do and motivated us to do more.

Floral Medley Project:

Lessons in Watercolor: Floral Medley

There are 3 videos in this project comprising one lesson for beginners.  The goal is to simply explore colors of flowers using water color paints and try to keep the main focus in the middle third of the page while placing various faded flower colors throughout the page.  Sharon teaches you the basics of watercolor and you can put your own ideas with it and use your imagination. 

The kids spread out throughout the house and got busy with their first project.  Some followed the steps closely and some improvised their projects.

Field of Wheat in watercolors:

More random flowers with watercolors:

Landscape Projects:

African Sunset

Another lesson in watercolors is painting landcapes.  This lesson shows how to paint an African landscape that includes a blazing sun.  Sharon has traveled to Africa many times and shares her first hand experience in creating this masterpeice.  This beginner lesson is made up of 2 videos and was a little more complicated than the floral medley lesson.

My son was working on a landscape picture here.  You need to let projects with watercolors dry in between stages so he was working on different ones giving him something to do while one was drying.  I took these pictures before he was through creating them.  

Other landscape projects:

Another son wanted to paint from his experience and enjoys the flowers (lupines) in bloom in the front yard. He wanted to make his landscape picture look like them. The front yard is an open space surrounded by pine trees with a sky above and the grass in front of the trees is filled with lupines in bloom.

Painting a yard landscape of lupines:

A younger sibling went out and picked a few to compare his picture to and he did a beautiful job expressing his idea of a field of lupines.

 

Lessons in Pencils:

Sunflower Project

Lessons in Pencil: Sunflower

The Sunflower project is comprised of 6 lessons divided into 14 videos.  “The students will start by drawing basic shapes and finish with a beautiful masterpiece. You will understand the importance of value as you learn how to shade. In creating this masterpiece you will be using tools such as kneading erasers, stiff-bristled brush, and tortillons.” (from the website).

My son age 12, not yet finished working on his sunflower:

Other sketches:

Using these lessons and the art work listed in the references, he sketched a sailboat

 

and also sketched a dog:

And he sketched a bird too:

Planning The Next Project:

There are so many options for wonderful projects with this program.  The next lesson I am looking forward to learning is working with clay (and I would like to work with concrete too).  My kids don’t have any experience with clay.  I have very little experience when I did ceramics in 4H as a child and made a few free hand projects.  That was over 30+ years ago.  I think I would enjoy creating projects with clay.  We are not really interested in making sculptures per se. but we are interested in making useful items with clay.  Sharon has a Level 1 Lesson working with self hardening clay and make’s a turtle in that lesson.  I think the techniques she teaches will be helpful as we work towards our goals.

Personally I want to make things that are practical and useful that I can put in the garden.  I would like them to serve a function such as to hold compost to feed worms, or collect water, or keep the birds from eating my seeds and fruits or interesting pots for plants to climb and drape from.  I am not sure yet what kind of clay will work for that or if I will need to consider a different type of media to use outdoors.  Some other future projects with clay or concrete I would like my family to do are earthen vessels that can hold water, vessels that can hold or cook food, beautiful flower pots, stepping stones and stone mosaics to walk out to the garden on and decorate some flower beds, and a bird bath for another area in the front of the house along the sidewalk.  I would like to make an outdoor oven that is beautiful and functional so I can bake bread and pizza but yet it is a work of art too.

Final thoughts:

The instructions for each lesson and clear and easy to follow and you can make improvisations where you want.  It is flexible and so simple to do. Everyone can create a masterpiece!

There are lots of art programs out there.  Some are in book form, and some are classes you attend.  Some are also in video format and you can use them right from the comfort, convenience, and freedom in your schedule right in your home.

If you are looking for an art program you can do from home, 27/7 at anytime day or night, with a competent art teacher and benefit from the most savings to your wallet,  then I would encourage you to buy a subscription to Creating A Masterpiece monthly plan or yearly plan.  I believe these lessons are more affordable and flexible and better instruction than other programs I have seen.

Low Cost divided into monthly, yearly, or various skill levels subscription plan.  An entire family (we have 8 people in our family) can use this program learning multiple kinds of media, for less than half of what it normally cost for 1 student to receive art instruction using only one form of media.

Choose a plan that meets the needs of your family:

If you bought the monthly plan for $39 a month, and you have 1 kid and he did one project a week, then each lesson would cost you about $10 plus your supplies.  This is very reasonable for professional instruction and convenience.

However, if you know you need more than just a few months worth of lessons, then consider the yearly plan subscription for $349 a year.   1 kid using the yearly plan completing only 1 project a week, your lesson costs would be about $6.71 ($349 / 52 = 6.71).  You are already saving money!   If your 1 child did two lessons a week, your cost would be $3.49 (349 / 52 / 2 = 3.49) for each lesson.  See where I am going with this?  The more lessons your child completes, the less each lesson costs.

But lets change up this a bit and look at it from my point of view.  I have six kids and using this program for art lessons is a huge savings for us.  Both the monthly and yearly plans are much more affordable than buying individual lessons in town for my kids.

In my case, our family will see a huge savings!  If you are in the same boat as me and you have 6 kids and each kid completes 1 lesson per week, then on the monthly plan would cost $1.62 (39 subscription / 4 weeks / 6 kids = 1.62) per child per week each month.  WOW!  The year subscription would cost even less at $1.12 (349 subscription / 52 weeks / 6 kids = 1.12) per child per lesson plus art supplies.  I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere for art lessons for my children for this price.  I am truly thankful this high quality and affordable art program is available to us.

Social Media Links:

Facebook Creating a Masterpiece

Youtube Sharon Hofer

Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out what other Homeschool Review Crew members had to say about using Creating a Masterpiece with their families.

Please share.