As an art therapist, I love exploring new art materials. Art therapy does not require a lot of supplies – I have done home-based therapy in the past with no more than paper, an envelope of collage pictures, glue, scissors, pencils and markers. But in my private practice now, I like to have a lot more options – including paint, glitter, oil pastels, clay, various paper choices, and small sculpture constructing materials – and have been slowly adding new things over time. So I was excited when I was offered a free sample of a new art material to try and review: Kwik Stix.
Kwik Stix are labeled as “solid tempera paint” and the paint is completely dry in 90 seconds. When I tried them out, one of my first thoughts was that using them didn’t really feel like painting. They remind me of a glue stick and the experience is much more like using a large oil pastel. However, once I stopped thinking of it as paint, I was able to enjoy the material more. I have created two pictures with the Kwik Stix so far – one mandala on construction paper and one layering the Kwik Stix over magazine picture collage. I have also had them in my art therapy office and offered them to a few child clients to try. Although I have not yet tried this with clients, I think that a potential benefit of the larger size and difficulty in creating detail could be in encouraging abstract art or “imperfect” art. A great prompt for any age with this material would be “Use colors, lines, and shapes to show how you are feeling today.”
Easier to control than paint
Large size makes coloring large pictures easy
Blendable before it dries
Fun, novelty factor for kids
Applies well to different paper types
Doesn’t really feel like painting
Somewhat difficult over the collage magazine pages – some colors were too translucent and didn’t show up
Large size makes details and writing difficult
So far, clients have loved using them. They seem to appreciate the bold colors, ease of application, and being well-suited to large size artworks. I don’t think that Kwik Stix will replace paint in my office, but I think that clients will enjoy having them as one of their art material options. And I would definitely recommend them for anyone looking for something fun and different from crayons, pencils, and markers but without the mess of paint. See the Amazon link below if you’d like to give them a try.
Carolyn Mehlomakulu, LMFT, ATR is a psychotherapist in Austin, Texas who works with children, adolescents, and families. For more information about individual therapy, adolescent and child counseling, family therapy, teen group therapy, and art therapy services, please visit www.therapywithcarolyn.com.
This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any mental health conditions. All directives, interventions, and ideas should be used by qualified individuals within the appropriate bounds of their education, training, and scope of practice. Information presented in this blog does not replace professional training in child and family therapy, art therapy, or play therapy.