CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Anyone with kids has likely seen the commercials for Magic Pens by Wham-O. The markers claim to change color and erase like magic, but do they work?
Each package of Magic Pens contains nine color-change markers, nine erasable markers, two "magic pens" and a blow pen to enable airbrush art.
To test this we tapped the artistic talents of 11-year-old Zana Riggs of Cape Girardeau. Riggs had seen the commercials and admitted she had been been dying to see what Magic Pens could do.
"It's pretty cool that you can do secret messages," Riggs said. "And I'd be able to erase when I mess up."
As a frequent colorer, and occasional messer-upper, Riggs said she sometimes accidentally colors outside the lines and then regrets it.
"I get mad," said Riggs.
So, were Magic Pens the answer to stopping Riggs' coloring flub frustration? We decided to try out the color-change pens first. It seemed like any other colored marker, until Riggs put the Magic pen to work.
"Cool," Riggs said as the colors changed right before our eyes. "It's weird. It is magic!"
Next Riggs tried out Magic Pens' highly anticipated secret message ability. We wrote the message with one of the white so-called Magic Pens and Riggs colored over the majority of the page using one of the dark blue color-change pens.
Like "magic" the message popped out in a lighter blue color from the darker blue background.
"It is awesome," said Riggs.
Next we tried the same thing with the eraser pens.
Riggs wrote a secret message using the invisible Magic Pen and colored over it with a pink eraser pen. The pink ink didn't touch the secret message, but instead revealed Riggs' writing: "Dose It Work?"
"I think it spelled that wrong," said Riggs, who –remember is just 11 years old.
Unfortunately, Magic Pens don't fix spelling mistakes, but Riggs was excited to see if they would fix an outside-the-lines faux pas. She purposely colored outside the lines with a dark blue erasable marker and then tried to erase it using the Magic Pen.
"It doesn't erase very well," said Riggs.
The Magic Pen did take away most of the color, but left a blue tinge and spot behind that was pretty noticeable.
Riggs also learned that making a mistake with the color-change markers is not correctable. The Magic Pens simply changed the color of those pens, and would not make the color disappear.
Next, Riggs tested the product's claim that Magic Pens make 3D images jump off the page. The instructions include a lengthy description on how to accomplish this feat; however they are not easy to follow.
First the directions say to draw lines with the color-change pens and alternate with the magic pen. Then the directions say to use the white pen to draw something that encompasses half of the area, and outline what was drawn with a solid non-erasable marker that is not included in the Magic Pens package.
The multi-step process became very confusing for Riggs and all of the adults in the room.
"It's too complicated," Riggs said.
After we followed the directions to the best of our ability, Riggs did not see the result she was hoping for.
Then, Riggs was ready to try out the blow pen. The blow pen is a hollow tube that holds one of Magic Pens with the help of a screw that holds the marker in place. The other half of the blow pen is essentially a straw that allows the child to blow air through the pen thereby blowing ink onto the paper.
The Magic Pens commercial claims the "amazing airbrush pen allows you to create amazing artwork in seconds."
Our test found the results from the blow pen shown on the commercial are not typical. Riggs blew several times, but the Magic Pens barely released enough ink to color in an inch-and-a-half tall stencil of a palm tree.
"I'm gonna get light headed," said Riggs.
The Magic Pens seemed to run out of steam pretty quickly too. Riggs found each pen would give one good burst of color and that was it - no matter how much air she pushed through the blow pen.
"I think these would just be better for writing I think," said Riggs.
Riggs said Magic Pens are now off her wish list.
"I like the secret messages more than the coloring," said Riggs. "The blow pen is really hard, and the 3D didn't seem to be too 3D-ish."
Riggs gives Magic Pens 2 stars on this Does It Work test.