Unbranded Spin Art (Dollar Tree)

A box of Unbranded Spin Art, from Dollar Tree
A decent amount of fun for a dollar.

Arguably one of the greatest aisles inside Dollar Tree is their toy aisle. It is loaded with quite a bit of cheap junk, sure, but that’s the kind of stuff kids usually take to. I mean, how many times have you bought a toddler a toy, only to have them play with the box instead? Or bought a kid something that costs a lot of money, only to have them look at it once and then never again? The fact of the matter is that kids are fickle creatures, and you typically never know what they’re going to like. 

And that’s what makes that aisle so important, at least to me (and other cash-strapped parents): It allows us to test the waters a bit without having to waste a ton of cash. Now, virtually everything inside Dollar Tree aren’t meant to be long-lasting products, or things that can withstand a lot of kid-related torture - that’s also not the point. Sometimes they provide some valuable insight into what toys a kid might want to play with long-term. For example, if they like some cheap dollar store version of a product, chances are good you can go ahead and splurge on the sturdier, more feature-packed, but also more expensive name brand version of said product. See what I mean?

I’ve never been one for spin art, but I had never seen these at Dollar Tree before, and I’m always a sucker for trying something new. That’s especially true when it’s something that has the potential to keep our son occupied for more than 2 minutes at a time…which as of now is quite a short list. 

Isn’t there a name brand version of this? Maybe not. I mean, there are name brands that make them, but I thought there was an older version of this that was the “original”. Maybe I’m thinking of Spirographs (of which DT also has a knockoff of). At any rate, Dollar Tree’s version of spin art comes with everything you need to create a few masterpieces: the box includes the plastic spinning device, three colors of paint (red, blue, yellow), and a few sheets of circular paper.

It's very simple to operate.

To create your art, you insert a piece of paper, squirt some paint wherever you want, and then pull the mechanism on the side to rapidly spin the device, the force of which spreads paint all over the paper in a tye dye-ish fashion. It’s really pretty neat, and no matter how you go about it, you can get some pretty cool designs. And best of all, there’s no real talent involved, which means anyone can do it!

Again, this isn’t a toy that’s meant to be kept forever; it looks and feels pretty cheap. The spinner briefly gets stuck if you try to spin it too quick or too hard, and it generally feels like it’s going to snap in your hand. We have used it three times now, and it’s still kicking, but I wouldn’t expect it to last much longer (especially with the way our son handles the spinner when he’s tired). But once again, it provides some nice insight as to whether or not it holds his attention long enough to justify spending more on a sturdier name brand. 

In this case, the answer is a resounding no, which means we saved a few bucks over spending more on the name brand first. And isn’t that a definition of value?

Overall: 6/10. It looks and feels cheap, but it does include everything necessary to make some rather cool tye dye-ish designs, including three different colors of paint. The spin mechanism isn’t always reliable, especially if you spin too hard or too fast, which leads it to get stuck for a second or two. I wouldn’t expect it to last a long time with constant use, but I’d say we’ve gotten at least a dollar’s worth of fun out of it already.

A finished masterpiece, courtesy of mama and son.



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