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Innovative art toy materials take the lead

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Recent art toy sets include tinted sand and polymer foam clay, and functional coloring surfaces.

China makers of art toys are exploring nontraditional and practical materials to diversify the line.

In an industry dominated by coloring, drawing and painting sets, more manufacturers are investing in sand and polymer foam clay projects. A typical kit for both categories has packets of the inputs in varied hues. To complete the sand image, the user glues the tinted particles onto a predrawn pattern. Polymer foam clay versions are kneaded and sculpted into form.

Suppliers are also adopting bases other than conventional paper and cardboard sheets. Among the recent additions are wood, plastic and ceramic panels, and washable textiles.

In addition, factories are developing functional flat surfaces, including customizable inflatable masks. Businesses are offering curved and raised counterparts as well. Xiamen Color5 Co. Ltd and Cixi Shenlong Art Paint Fty are promoting coin banks that children can decorate.

As regards practicality, makers consider the tendency of users to spill and smear the pigment. Most paint kit producers have switched to acrylic types rather than traditional latex as the water-based variant is washable and chemically safer. The input is also crack-resistant, rendering it longer-lasting.

China-manufactured art toy sets usually comprise a medium in four to eight hues. Among the common versions are crayons, coloring pencils and paint.

Crayons include wax versions and oil pastels. With lengths of 60 to 100mm, the first type can be molded in cylindrical, hexagonal or novelty shapes. Wax crayons are $0.006 to $0.015 per piece, while oil pastels are $0.01 to $0.035.

The majority of coloring pencils utilize cores that have a 2.63 to 3.8mm diameter. Some employ 4mm variants. The fluidity, hue saturation and toughness of this part is generally determined by the clay and talcum used. Most makers source the two ingredients from Australia or Canada, but procure all other materials locally. Items that adopt imported inputs are 50 percent more expensive.

As regards paint, watercolor dominates output and exports. They are available in cream and cake forms, with the former filled into 5 to 12mL aluminum tubes. One piece is $0.05 to $0.10. Cake versions are often packed into cavities on round or square plastic trays. Each pot is about $0.005.

Acrylic paint is also on the rise, especially as innovative surfaces are now being used. Bases such as glass, canvas, plastic, wood, masonite and ceramic generally require a thicker and denser coat than that of watercolor.

New media, including tinted sand and polymer foam clay, are adopted for upscale products. A complete kit is roughly $4.

In general, low-end art toy sets from China are $0.40 to $2, while midrange ones are $2.50 to $5. The most expensive models exceed $5.

Read the full report at Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
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