Pros: Easy to use, non-messy arts and craft activity.
My mother purchased the Barbie Mix, Match and Color Fashion Designer Set for my daughter about two years ago since she recalled that I enjoyed a similar toy called "Fashion Plates" as a child and thought my then four year old would enjoy it as well.
The main portion of this arts and crafts toy consists of a pink plastic "tablet" measuring 8.5 inches long by 6 inches wide and about an inch high which is hinged on the top for easy opening. After you lift up the cover, which has an empty space in the middle, you can insert a combination of the purple "fashion impressions" to create a new look for Barbie.
The box proclaims that there are "16 Mix & Match Fashion Impressions", which means that there are sixteen pictures pictures from which to choose to create your Barbie fashion. There are four double-sided purple plastic pieces which contain an impression of Barbie from the waist up and four larger double-sided purple plastic pieces which contain Barbie's lower half. While they are theoretically "mix and match" because the waistline is in the same spot on all of the plates, there are backgrounds on all of them, so for example, if you wanted the Barbie top which is holding a gift paired with a dance skirt, the top half would have an outdoor scene as the background (trees and building) and the bottom half would be an indoor scene. This does not bother my daughter much, though she usually does create the looks that are meant to go together.
After choosing the picture you want to create, place a piece of paper over the impression and close the frame of the tablet. Snap a "rubbing crayon" (an unwrapped black crayon will also work) into the yellow plastic holder and then rub it inside the frame, over the paper sitting on the fashion impressions to transfer that image to the paper. Remove the paper to a flat surface and color it with the six crayons which are included (green, purple, yellow, red, tan and blue) or with any other crayons, markers or colored pencils you may have around.
The Barbie Mix, Match and Color Fashion Designer Set is intended for ages 4 and up, and a child younger than that probably would not have the strength or control to make the picture appear on the paper. An adult using this toy needs to ensure that he or she is not using too much pressure with the crayon holder or black smudges will appear on the page.
Eight pieces of paper are included in this set, and we used those up on the first day we opened this toy. I do not believe that replacement paper is available from the company, but any thin, plain paper will work. A standard piece of copy paper, cut in half, works perfectly with this activity.
My daughter has created Barbie going shopping, Barbie on the boardwalk, Barbie going to a party, but her favorite is Barbie in a wedding dress. Each outfit has Barbie with appropriate shoes and accessories, as well as different hairstyles which match the occasion.
This set stores in its original cardboard box, and is easily packed for taking along on a trip. It is a quiet creative, arts and crafts type activity which does not require making a mess, which is a rarity.
Our Barbie Mix, Match and Color Fashion Designer Set has gotten a lot of use over the past few years. Since my daughter has enjoyed her so much, we have purchased this set as gifts for about $8 for it. A good price for hours of creative fun!