Colorforms

Colorforms

“They stick like magic!”

Actually, magic had very little to do with what made a Colorform stick, rather it was just the adhesive quality of the thinly-cut plastic. The real magic lay in their ability to encourage the imagination. Colorforms were mere props, whether they resembled geometric shapes or a sitcom star. The box provided the stage; it was up to you to choose and arrange the props and, most importantly, concoct the story. Perfect for rainy days and long car trips, generations of kids have created millions of Colorform settings over the years.

In the middle of the twentieth century, the toy market welcomed a new and unheralded member to its ranks. Easy, educational, and entertaining, Colorforms (both a company and the product) was perfect for those lacking artistic talent but drawn to the savors of composition nonetheless. Instead of suffering under the torment of broken, waxy crayons, Colorforms put plastic safely and cheaply into the hands of kids. Colorforms were bright, shiny, wafer-thin plastic decals that stuck to and peeled off of the accompanying playboard with equal ease. Parents praised it for its low price, low maintenance, and low risk (appropriate for ages three and up) while kids embraced it for its high fun.

In its initial release, Colorforms went with very simple themes such as basic shapes, or letters and numbers. Not unlike refrigerator magnets, kids could spend time learning simple math or improving their knowledge of the alphabet under the guise of playing. Change came in during the next decade when the ever-pleasant “Miss Weather” Colorforms blew into stores in 1965. Prepared with the very best press-on fashion, Miss Weather Colorforms could handle any climate and, as popularity goes, they were quite the storm.

What began with the friendly but unfamiliar Miss Weather quickly translated into fashionable and famous marketing tie-ins. Popeye, Sleeping Beauty, and many others made their way from T.V., comics, and cartoons into the Colorforms world. Colorforms issued new playboards that featured empty bedrooms or expansive landscapes just waiting to be enhanced with sticky plastic decals. Not only could kids dress the characters, they could now set the stage as well. As time moved through the 70s and 80s, the stream of characters made into Colorforms became a flood. Virtually every popular T.V. show aimed at kids found itself living the Colorform dream. Colorforms threw open the doors to movies (such as The Wizard of Oz) and superheroes (The Green Hornet). Even the legendary rock band KISS delighted kids, collectors, and groupies alike by settling into the Colorforms neighborhood.

While Colorforms are still produced by University Games, the selection available today pales in comparison to the heyday of the 70s and 80s, when there were literally hundreds of sets available. Do you have a favorite set from your youth? Share all of your Colorform memories with us as we celebrate this collection of creative toys from yesteryear.

10 Responses to “Colorforms”

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  1. Chris says:

    I’m a 59 yr. old female and I absolutely LOVED colorforms as a child but can’t remember all of those that I had and would love to see pictures of the old ones to jog my memory. Those I “did” have were the Original, 101 Dalmations, and Peter Pan (but don’t remember if all Peter Pan, or a combo of Disney characters……….I distinctly “do” remember a yellow Tinkerbell in that box). I also remember one with a kitchen scene, but the one I’m seeing online with a kitchen scene is not jogging my memory. The vintage colorforms were of such high quality and had many pieces……..usually at least 4 colors in one box. Wish they still made them this way so the children today could experience the joy I did playing with those quality sets.

    • eric says:

      You might consider going to images.google.com , typing in “Colorforms” and see what pops up. Hope that helps!

  2. Jess says:

    I’m 26 and I remember in the 90’s I had a Barbie Colorforms set. I don’t recall the name but she had the big curly hair with the pink bandanna in it – very late 80’s/early 90’s and you could change her clothes.

    Also in the late 90’s, possibly early 2000’s, I had I think two or three sets of these dolls that had Colorforms to put in their houses. They had ladies who could get hitched to guys (who came with a baby) so you could even have weddings. (The dolls came with a change of clothes.)

  3. Gina says:

    In the 90’s, when I was an adult, I bought a Disney’s Pocahontas Colorforms storybook. It featured John Smith and Pocahontas together again, and served as an alternative to that yucky Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World that broke them up.
    (Disclaimer: I know the historical John Smith and Pocahontas never married, but I see the Disney versions as fictional characters whose lives can go in different directions.)

  4. Renee says:

    I had many sets but the one that i remember the bestis my Micky Mouse one,it had some kind ofcolor changing ears from or something from red to green. Hours of fun,sure wish my kids would appreciate such simple happiness :)

  5. Chris says:

    Correcting my March 23, 2011 comment: I found the yellow Tinkerbell……….she was NOT in the Peter Pan colorforms……….she was in the Disneyland’s Enchanting Castle…………boy would I love to get my hands on
    THAT one again! And the kitchen scene one was probably Miss Cookie’s Kitchen.

  6. Johanna says:

    I remember a Capt. Kangaroo colorforms set from the 60’s. I don’t know if it was mine or belonged to a friend, but I loved that set. Loved The Capt. as well!

  7. Eddie says:

    I had a set of glow in the dark halloween monsters and characters that was my favorite. the backdrop was a spooky house at night with spooky trees and moon etc. it was awesome and I have looked for it on ebay but never found it. I remember losing the smaller pieces over time. I loved any and everything glow in the dark and I still do!!

  8. Matt Stilwell says:

    I remember I had a He-man colourform set and, when I was a bit older, a Jurassic Park set. I still have the Jurassic Park set.

  9. Drahken says:

    I remember having a peanuts set, and a smurfs set back in the 80s. I absolutely adored playing with colorforms as a kid.

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