Top critical review
132 people found this helpful
Clever toy with one very stupid flaw
on December 26, 2008
The Crayola Glow Station possesses a very high coolness factor that will appeal to kids. I mean, who doesn't enjoy stuff that glows in the dark? That you can create the glow-in-the-dark fun yourself only adds to the allure. Run the light wand over the Glow Station's surface and voila! A glowing masterpiece.
The Glow Station itself is a sheet of light-sensitive plastic material of approximately 21" by 15" framed at the top and bottom by two plastic bars that can hold some of the pieces that come with the set. There is no solid back on the Glow Station, so it can be rolled up for storage.
The light wand has an LED at one end and comes with a crystal-like attachment for making stars. The light wand takes 3 AAA batteries.
The set includes 14 positive/negative stencils and two printed acetate texture sheets with a dozen textures that can be combined with the stencils to make intriguing designs.
Included is a dry erase marker and a blank acetate sheet for creating your own artwork. Rub the light wand over your design and the glow-in-the dark negative will form on the Glow Station surface.
The quality of the components is good, though the glow-in-the-dark surface is a little flimsier than one might hope.
Use the light wand with or without the crystal attachment to form glowing designs through freehand, stenciled, and textured drawing.
*Glows in the dark--always fun
*The stencils and textures add thoughtful variety
*The components are well designed
*Contains hooks to hold the acetate sheets and positive stencils, and a small bin to hold the negative stencils
*Will keep kids focused on an activity for a good while
*To reach its maximum effectiveness, the Glow Station needs to be in the dark for several minutes before using, making an antsy wait for some kids
*Needs a dark room, so if you don't have one, you're out of luck
*Contains an opening at top for holding the Glow Station, so you need a nail or other kind of hook to support it upright (as the Station does not have a solid backing to support itself)
*The dry erase marker is not for use directly on the glow-in-the-dark surface--and we all know what happens when you mix kids and "don't do this" (though I am unsure whether the marker can be removed from the surface or not, as I was unwilling to test it)
*The designs may fade faster than kids like
THE BIG CON:
* This is one of those "the manufacturer didn't try the final product" errors that drives parents batty. The glow-in-the dark surface has a large sticker on its front side that gives some final warnings and instructions. Rather than make this sticker easily removable, Crayola made it out of paper. It readily tore in tiny pieces or had the paper come away from the adhesive, leaving a mess that took a half hour of scraping and cajoling with a fingernail to remove. As I was unsure whether the surface would hold up under the kinds of solvents that might remove the adhesive, I was left with a real chore--while my kid was dying to use the toy. A plastic sticker could have been removed in one piece, so why did Crayola opt for this cursed paper sticker that left behind a mess and a scarred surface (as the scraping with my fingernail left scratches in the Glow Station's surface)? How I would love for the Crayola management team to suffer through that same inane sticker-removing process.
Cons aside, this is a fine toy that will delight (pun intended) children, and even a few "big kids." The price--around $25--is good, too. Even those kids who may not be into drawing will be drawn in by the glow-in-the-dark fun.
A few people have commented that I failed to remove the clear, protective film from the Glow Station's surface, and that doing so avoids the struggle with the paper label. That's absolutely true. I checked and the film was still on ours. The nearly invisible film does peel away from the surface with a solid pull.
In my defense, it's impossible from looking at the unit to see that it has a protective film, nor did I immediately notice any reference to removing that film in either the instructions or the paper label. That's not to say they aren't there, only that they weren't quickly apparent, especially when a very eager child is wanting to play right away.Crayola could make this more apparent.
So bump up the stars by one.