A Cool Aunt Reviews the Klutz Mini Eraser Aliens Kit
Here to spoil my sister’s kids with the most fun toys in the galaxy!
Sarah Burns · about 2 months ago
No one's exactly come out and said it, but it’s okay, I don’t need to be told: I’m the cool aunt of the family. As such, a big part of my responsibilities is to make sure my niblings (maybe the cutest nickname ever coined for "nieces and nephews") have the coolest stuff around to play with.
So when I went looking for something I could make with my favorite kids, this activity kit of DIY erasers from outer space jumped right out at me. I like making things, kids like making things, and I think we can all agree space stuff is awesome at any age.
The box recommends ages eight and up, and as an aunt who relies heavily on social media to remember dates and birthdays, I was super proud of myself for vaguely remembering that one of my niblings is eight-ish — until much later when I found out he’s actually six.
But that’s okay! Arts and crafts are about experimenting and having fun with art supplies, and as the cool aunt it’s my duty to vet the coolest arts and crafts, and this set is very cool. Just look at the box:
Lime green and black? Classic Disney villain color scheme — and as we all know, the villains are unquestionably the coolest characters in any given Disney film. There’s a little window that shows off the bright neon eraser clay colors used to make all the spacey critters shown on the box. The instructions to make all those spacey critters are provided in an easy to follow booklet that’ll guide you through making all the basic shapes you’ll need to create your new out-of-this-world-desk pets.
You might also be interested to know that the box is very rattly. If you like to encourage a good shaky-shaky when gift giving, this one will have them scratching their heads for sure.
Crack it open, and the rattling is revealed to be a clay shaping tool, the booklet, a bag of 30 eraser eyes, and a buildable display background for showing off your finished space friends in style.
Contents, minus the instruction booklet
Instead of reading the directions and figuring out where to start, I freed the clay from its plastic film wrapper, and tore into the bag of teeny, tiny eyes, sending them scattering across the desk, peppering the floor for me to find one by one over the next several days.
I do not recommend that approach. If your kids tend to be clumsy and impulsive like their cool aunt, maybe use a tray as a workspace to catch those eyes, and have a couple plastic-zip bags ready to go for the leftovers.
Recalibrating, I dove into the booklet, determined to follow the directions this time. First things first: soften the clay. The booklet explains how to knead the clay so it’s soft enough to mold and shape. When you first pick it up, the clay seems crumbly — almost dry — but when worked and rolled around in small bits, it warms quickly into a substance that reminded me of popular polymer clay brands.
Work clay with hands till it's soft enough to create spheres. Do not let spheres roll off table.
After practicing rolling little balls, snakes, oval, and cone bits, I was ready. I started off with the classic little green alien. At the start of each of the instructions, there’s a helpful size guide, and I found that rolling the clay into a ball that’s about the same size as the circle on the page was very helpful when trying to get the proportions right. Still, I couldn’t help but think I was using up a lot of green on the very first space critter. Was this little neon brick really going to be enough for me to populate the galaxy with all fifteen of these space dudes like the box promised? Only one way to find out.
All the designs are constructed with cleverly combined simple shapes. The building process is as follows:
Roll out balls of clay about the size of the circles on the instruction page.
Make the shapes.
Piece them together.
Pop in the eyes.
Yes, bake. You’ll need to bake your creations in the oven at a low temperature to turn your soft moldable clay into a usable eraser. More on that later.
Little alien bits, a.k.a. a soon-to-be alien.
For each design, I’d start off with my arsenal of colorful spheres all lined up, ready to be molded into the snakes, ovals, and cone bits I’d practiced. That part was easy. And putting those bits together, watching the little space thing I made become a completed space thing? That was pretty cool!
My only snag was trying to figure out how to make the pieces stick together, and not break apart as soon as I stopped holding them. The directions make no note of this, but my answer came in the form of the neon green sculpting tool that had been rattling so loudly in the box earlier.
The solution was in the box all along.
One end of this alien-looking tool is U-shaped — perfect for stamping a smiley face into your space creatures. The other end looks a little like a hammer, with a flat edge for making straight line marks in your clay (I used this for the details in the Space Ice Cream Cone’s cone), a pointed tip, and a flat end.
To help my pieces stick together, I used the pointed tip and the flat end of the tool to smoosh the clay together where it wouldn’t be so obvious it was smooshed. For designs where there’s a 360 view, I tried to just press the pieces of clay together, and hoped for the best when baking. For the most part it worked, but just getting them to stick just by pressing them together proved to be a challenge.
Front: cute. Back: smooshed.
For example, the Robot Alien I made by pressing the bits together and hoping for the best. Its little leg fell off, but it’s still all smiles.
You're the best, little one-legged robot buddy.
With each critter I made, I grew more and more concerned about adequately populating my own little solar system, and I admittedly grew a tad conservative in my starter-ball sizes. But I’m happy to report that not only did I have enough to finish all the designs, I actually had a little left over, and even extra eyes!
With my new space buds at my side, I set out to build them a place to live. I popped out the perforated pieces from the brightly colored cardstock background sheet, and for the most part, followed the directions — I used tape whereas the directions say to use glue, but I had a whole crew of space creatures ready to move in, and I didn’t want to keep them waiting.
The display is simple enough, but also more elaborate than I anticipated, with varying levels to ensure that every little space critter has good real estate. Here’s the whole crew in their new digs:
Settling in just fine.
Baking was easy too. I decided ahead of time that I was going to finish making them all before popping them in the oven as a group, but if I was to try to store them for longer than a day or two, I think they would have probably been destroyed. It’s best to bake them ASAP to avoid any tragic clay creature accidents. It’s pretty straightforward — just follow the directions exactly when baking, and there shouldn’t be any issues.
Let the erasers cool completely before handling. I know it’s eraser clay, but I was really surprised by how “erasery” they felt after cooling, and decided it was time for the ultimate test. I’ve been lured in by cute erasers before, only to be let down when I really needed them, left with a rubbery smear of color on a now-destroyed homework assignment. Will these things actually erase?
I’m so happy with this kit, and with how these space friends turned out, and can’t wait to try it again with the kids! They were fun and easy to make, with each one taking a crafty-but-not-at-all-a-perfectionist-auntie about fifteen minutes a pop to make, but an artsy kid that loves playing with clay could easily spend a half an hour crafting one at a time.
Set yourself up for a cosmically crafty afternoon; this kit is a blast!
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