Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shapeways Color It!

I am always looking for fun gifts to give to my kids' grandparents that capture their personalities at a moment in time. In the past, I have put their artwork on key chains and bags or let them color on potholders.

When information about Shapeways' Color It! sculptures came through my email inbox, I jumped at the chance to test it out.

Shapeways is actually a cool company that can take 2D renditions of things and turn them into three dimensional jewelry, art, or pretty much anything else you can think of in a variety of materials. You can check out this video to learn about their process.

This year, Shapeways released Color It! personalized pets, which take your kids' coloring and puts it on an adorable little sandstone animal. Currently you can get Wiggle the Dog, Wooly the Sheep, or Oinkie the Pig.

The process is really simple.

1. Download the coloring sheet of the animal you choose and have your child color it.

2. Either take a photo of the finished product or scan it and submit it to Shapeways along with your payment. I sent this photo to them.

3. Wait patiently while Shapeways creates your sculpture. They keep you updated with emails to let you know where in the process your art is. It took slightly more than two weeks from the time I submitted my order to the time it arrived on my porch.

4. Ooh and aah over the adorable.

 5. Show your child the 3D representation of his art. Watch his head explode. My guy thinks this is so cool.

You may notice that the base of the dog's tail looks a little weird. That is because, sadly, Wiggle arrived with his tail broken off.

I was curious to see how Shapeways would deal with the situation, so without telling them that I was reviewing the product, I emailed them to tell them how the dog had arrived and asked what their policy was. The very next day I got an email from the designer who offered me a free reprint and just asked that I provide them with my order number and a photograph of the broken piece. (Because my copy was a review sample, I turned down the free reprint and just glued Wiggle's tail on.)

The sandstone is pretty fragile. The sculpture is definitely not something that you should let your kids play with unless you want little pieces of foot or tail snapped off, but as a piece of art, it is fantastic. I put ours on our TV stand so it's always there being cute while we're watching TV.

At $50 each, the price is a little steep, especially if you would want to produce art for more than one child. But if you are looking for a really fun way to showcase your child's coloring skills, this is a fun way to go. I like that it would be appropriate for all ages, as young kids can scribble on the dog and older kids can create more elaborate designs. This would be cool for teens and older kids who want to find a new way to express themselves.

Honesty Clause: I received a review sample of a Wiggle the Dog Color It! at no charge.