Monday, 6 June 2016

A Monday post which is less a blog post more a review post

Hey there, I KNOW you don't usually expect a post from me on a Monday but ... I've been comparing products for a review and I felt it just might get a little too photo heavy to include in a regular post ..... so, onwards and downwards - arm yourself with coffee and see whether you think one or more of these might be for you. Please be advised that this review is simply MY OPINION based solely on MY EXPERIENCE with the products below and should be viewed as such, it's aimed at providing a comparison for those of you contemplating purchase; though different people will undoubtedly find different results and preferences. You are welcome to my opinion and, if it's helpful then I'm delighted to have been of service

  1. Ranger Distress Crayons: costing approximately £10 - 15 per pack of six, from many UK retailers, available in packs of colours to co-ordinate with other Ranger distress products (inks/re-inkers/sprays/stains/paints/embossing powders etc)
  2. Crayola twistable Slick Stix: costing between £6 (for 6) - £15 (for 12), from a number of UK retailers, most notably Amazon. Colours - mostly primary colours though the pack of twelve also includes silver and gold
  3. Maped Colour'peps smoothy gel crayons: costing less than £8 for a pack of twelve though the only place I've seen them is Amazon. Colours appear brighter in the dispenser but we'll soon find out if that's carried across to the end result.

All profess to be movable/blendable with moisture and, I believe, all need to be fixed if you need a waterproof finish although Ranger say their crayons, once blended and dry, will only move with additional water IF YOU MOVE THE COLOUR. Me? I reckon you still need to fix all three of the above if you don't want anything to move at all!, but that should be fairly easy with something like Crafters Companion Spray and Shine - that's what I use.

For the ease of comparison I'll try to keep the review in the same order ... Ranger DC's, Crayola SS and then Maped CP. This does not indicate any personal preference (as yet) I've simply put them in the order I actually took delivery of them!

First of all, let's review the PACKAGING .....
  1. Ranger Distress Crayons ... small and neat "crayons" with a pull off cap, stored in plastic wallets so it's easy to keep colour sets together. Because of their "crayon" like appearance and size these are probably the easiest to transport for classes, crops, travel etc.
  2. Crayola Slick Stix ... chunky and fun with an easy to remove cap, stored in a cardboard box with an acetate insert which comes out (if you're not careful) when trying to put the slick stix back in the box. However, given the size of the box I suspect most people will find an alternative way to store them.
  3. Maped Colour'peps smootheys ...... chunky crayons with easy to remove pull off caps, stored in a transparent plastic case which clips shut, it's easy to see what colours are in there - again - IMHO pretty good for travelling purposes like crops and classes.

1) Distress Crayons and 2) Crayola Slick Stix

3) Maped Colour'pep smoothy

PACKAGING WINNER/S: Ranger DC and Maped CP LOSER: Crayola SS

Now for the CRAYON DESIGN ....
  1. Ranger Distress Crayons: are small and neat, like a crayon, the pull off cap is easy to use and has a clip front which stops the crayon from rolling - but only when the lid is on. The colour simply twists up so never needs sharpening
  2. Crayola Slick Stix: are much chunkier so likely to last longer - though, obviously, I've not had them or used them for long enough to say this is or is not the case. The pull off ventilated cap is easy to remove and has ridges on either side of the cap to prevent the crayon rolling when the cap is on. The colour simply twists up so never needs sharpening
  3. Maped Colour'pep smoothy: fall between the neatness of the DC's and the chunkiness of the Slick Stix. The pull off cap comes off easily but neither the crayon nor the cap appears to have anything in place to stop the crayon rolling. The colour simply twists up so never needs sharpening

L-R: Distress Crayons, Slick Stix, Colour'pep 
and all three in one colour, as they are when you first get them


And now on to the COLOURS within those packs .... 

Since the Distress Crayons are both item 1) to review AND has the largest number of colour options they are across the top, L-R earth tones, brights and neutral. The middle line are the Crayola Slick Stix and I have tried to place them with the nearest colour match to the Distress Crayons and likewise with the bottom row, the Maped Colour'pep smoothy's

COLOUR WINNERS: Ranger DC because of the number though, really, there appear to be no losers - just differences

COLOUR COMPARISON .... Now let's see how those colours appear on paper ..... for these purposes I will be using a scrap piece of gesso'd 200gsm card and working from left to right as per the photo above .. it'll save me writing all over the sample too!

As you can see, each set brings something different, the Distress Crayons have no metallic though the fossilised amber DC bears a remarkable resemblance to the Slick Stix gold as the hickory smoke does to the silver. The picked raspberry, twisted citron and antique linen D.C.'s look remarkably like the pink, light green and peachy colour of the Maped colour'peps. All went on pretty easily though I feel that the Distress Crayons are creamier so glide on more easily.

COLOUR COMPARISON WINNER: Ranger DC as they cover all options LOSERS: To achieve the same colour choices with Slick Stix or Colour'peps you would have to have both, which would leave you with nine doubles!

EASE OF USE: As previously stated, my personal opinion is that the Distress Crayons are creamier so go on more easily but let's see how they cover larger areas, blend (with finger and/or a baby wipe), how easy it is to knock back colour with a baby wipe and a stencil and, in fact, whether the colours turn muddy ..... for this experiment I will be using Yellow/Orange/Red and purple as those are available in all three sets. I coated one piece of A4, 200gsm white card stock with gesso so ... here goes -

Ready to roll with my crayons, gesso'd card, stencils and a trusty baby wipe!
Blending with a baby wipe
Using a baby wipe to knock back colour
My completed piece with the top samples being baby wipe blended, the bottom
samples being blended with a finger and, as soon as the last bottom panel was knocked back
I went back to my first sample panel and stamped with Archival ink
All crayons were pretty easy to apply and went on well. I tried my darndest to apply roughly the same amount of pigment before blending. I have experienced some trouble with colours muddying and you can see that with the purple slick stix and colour'pep but a great deal less so with the D.C.'s when blended with a baby wipe, it was less noticeable with any of them when finger blended. Due to the quick drying nature of the D.C.'s the small circles were crisper when knocking  back colour than either of the other two and, with the brick stencil the colour came back off more "cleanly" ... but that may not be what you want to achieve so all three have merits. Despite what I said about the D.C.'s drying more quickly I didn't find that I had a problem over stamping any of my panels with archival ink but ... the top panels had several minutes to dry (whilst I coloured the bottom panels) before inking anyway. It seems to me that the vibrancy of the colours was more prominent, after blending, with both the D.C.'s and Slick Stix but less so with the Colour'peps

EASE OF USE WINNERS: Ranger DC followed very closely by Crayola SS LOSER: Maped CP, but by only a short head ... mostly down to the length of time they remained moist which meant my small circles were quite blurry in the top sample, less so with the bottom sample hence the "short head!"

  1. Ranger Distress Crayons are the most expensive option, best designed and fairly well packaged in a clear soft plastic wallet. They are creamy and easy to apply and offer the widest colour choice. They blend easily, remaining vibrant and dry to an almost silky finish. They dried the most quickly too. If I'm honest, these are probably the best product of the three but you have to really use them a lot to make them worth the expense unless you can find them at a bargain price
  2. Crayola Slick Stix are the middle priced range offering a well designed crayon but not so well packaged. They too are creamy (though not SO creamy as D.C.'s) and are easy to apply and blend though they do take a little longer to dry in order to stamp on top of. They remain vibrant and also dry to a silky smooth finish. This product represents the best value for people who like to play with many techniques, especially as they do seem significantly larger than the Distress Crayons.
  3. Maped Colour'pep smoothy gel crayons are the cheapest option with sturdy packaging (brilliant for transport) in a click seal transparent rigid plastic case. The crayons don't appear as well designed and seem prone to rolling and take the longest time, of the three, to dry. They also dry to a silky smooth finish though perhaps not QUITE as silky, or as vibrant, as 1 and 2. This option may be the best if you don't plan to use the techniques a whole lot or are, perhaps, on a budget.

I should point out that I am happy to own all three options and will continue to use them all. I suspect the Maped's will be heading off to classes/retreats with me as they are the most easily (and efficiently) transportable. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this review. Has it been helpful? I hope you will take the time to comment as it will help me to decide whether to spend an afternoon reviewing comparable products again! Do pop back and check my post on Wednesday, to see how the sample panel finished up!


Lauren Hatwell said...

Thanks for a really interesting, and thorough review Kathy. It was really informative.


Barb said...

A really interesting review Kathy. I can see that the DI crayons have the edge but sticking with the Crayola while I'm still learning and I have spent quite a lot recently on new stash. I'm finding them great fun and so pleased I bought them after reading about them on your blog.

I absolutely agree with what you said about the packaging. They very soon went into a plastic box and the acetate has already been used for storing some of my new Leonie Pujol stamps hehe! Have a lovely week. Barbxx

SARN said...

Top notch review there Kathy and very helpful indeed.
It's clear that I should DEFINITELY invest in one or other of them, and will probably go for the Distress Crayons.


cheryl said...

great post hun and very interesting too super post hugs cheryl xx

Chris said...

Thanks for that Kathy, I've been considering buying some DC's and you've made up my mind for me!

Rocky said...

Yes thank you, very helpful. I have one set of the DC and was wondering if I should get any more, now I have a better idea of which way to go.

lilian said...

Lovely review Kathy, Thank you.


Cara said...

A brilliant and very comprehensive review, thank you for sharing it. Cara x

My name is Wynneth said...

Excellent and most informative review kathy, thanks so much. I have the DCs and love them and will, hopefully, find a set of the Slick Stix waiting for me at home when I'm back.

Not sure I'll go for option 3 as I feel sure that 1 and 2 that I have, plus the few Gelatos I already have will be sufficient for me at the moment.

Sorry I haven't popped by much recently, now that I'm on here I'll try to see as many of the posts I've missed as I can before the swimming pool calls me ha ha


LisaDV said...

Thanks for such a great review.

serendipity said...

What a fantastic review, so very thorough. I am looking into getting some more crayons so this has been very useful. I'm now thinking it will be the Crayolas for me - better value for my club members. Thanks for this

Di said...

Brilliant review Kathy - you covered everything so well! I'm not even considering crayons right now - but will be back to re-read this if and when I do decide to get some! That would no doubt be at the point when something much newer has overtaken crayons - like the donkey's tail, am always bringing up the rear :(


Di xx

Scrapmate said...

Interesting comparison. I wonder how Gelatos compare with Distress Crayons.