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We were given this Melissa and Doug decorate your own wand set as a gift. As a Melissa and Doug toy I had an expectation of it being good quality and I was not disappointed. The wood is chunky and the wand feels very sturdy and solid. The paints/glitter/gems supplied were perfect for little girls to decorate with and there was still decorations left over when my daughter had decorated the wand so we were able to use them on other crafts. It took my daughter about half an hour to decorate it. And since decorating it she loves playing with it when she is pretending to be a princess or fairy. The box says it is ideal for children aged 4-6 but my daughter received this aged 3 and I think it was suitable. Since receiving it I have bought two more for other people's presents because it is a good craft activity/toy for little girls. Also for a short time it was on amazon for just £1 which is a complete bargain! It usually retails at about £5 which I think is still reasonable for a good quality toy.
**In the box** I had read a few reviews on Melissa & Doug items, and so while I was searching Amazon for a wand for my little girl to make, I decided on this one. In the set we receive a large wooden wand. It comes in two pieces. The end of the wand is shaped as a star, and then the stick which we found was a good idea as it means it could be decorated easier. Also included are four different colour paints, a paint brush, some stickers, some glitter, and the glue. There are also some lovely ribbons to finish the wand nicely. The first thing that I noticed about this is the build of the wand. It is made from really thick wood, which is smoothed of nicely with rounded edges. It is very durable, and although we have problems with the end falling off once in a while, it is actually really well made. It is still very light so little one can carry it around easily. All of the materials provided are really well made, and there are more than enough to make one wand. **Decorating the wand** It is a very simple idea; little one is to paint the wand whichever colour they wish with the paints provided. They had a range of girly colours a bright pink, darker pink, orange and a blue. I like that they are all nice and bright, as it makes the wand attractive to little one. My daughter couldn't decide which colour to have, so she decided to use a little of all of them. She happily sat and painted the wand for a good forty five minutes. She painted both sides, and then left it to dry. We found the paint dried after around an hour, but my daughter had piled the paint on using most of the pots up in one go. The paints seem to be high quality; they go on the wood smoothly and evenly. You do need more than one coat for it to be covered, as the paint seem to sink in to the wood a little, but this is just more painting time for little one. Next my daughter chose to use the gems, for the diamond effect. She did really struggle trying to get them off the plastic they were attached too. You do need to glue these on to the wand, but as the sticky back is still present when you remove it from the packet this helps a little too. There are lots of different gems to choose from including a number of larger ones for the centre of the wand, and smaller ones to use all over. My daughter found there was too many for her with all the glitter as well so she saved some for her next picture. The next step is the glitter, which again my daughter went a little over the top with. The glitter comes in a squeeze bottle, and is glitter glue so it is easier to apply. My daughter found it easy to squeeze the glitter out of the tube, and sat for ages to perfect her wand. When the glitter had dried a little while after, we glued the handle in the star end. This again is something that needs parental help, as it can be a fiddly job. Finally when everything has dried it is time to tie the ribbons. It took a little longer for the glue to dry, and my daughter decided to tie one to each end of the wand, although there are many different ways it can be designed. My daughter used all the glue provided with the set, but there was glitter, and stickers left over. She did get a little of the paint on her clothes, but we found it washed out very easily. This set not only provided hours of fun while my daughter was decorating the wooden wand, but also afterwards. Whenever she puts on her fairy dress up this is the first thing she reaches for, and when friends come to visit she often shows off her handy work. It is recommended from four years plus, but other than not being able to pull the gems off herself my three year old daughter really enjoyed this set. I have purchased other sets for my children from this range, and I have a number I would like to purchase for Christmas. Some of the gems did fall off after a few weeks, but these can be stuck back on again. Other than that the wand has stood the test of my daughter, waving magical spells all over the house. **Summary** We really loved this wand set, and the finished product is my daughter's prized possession. She shows everyone the wand that she made, and the decorating of the wand is not all the fun. The great thing about this is even though they are given the tools to make the wand, the design, and finished product is the entire product of your child's imagination. They can go completely wild, and decorate it in any way that they can. She has spent hours playing with the wand, so it is worth the money we paid. We purchased our when it was around £4 on Amazon, but usual retail is around £7. Even at full price I would re purchase this DIY kit and I have brought some to put away in the present cupboard.