Happy February, Learning Express readers!
This week I got to dive into two incredibly unique jewelry-making kits. By my side were friends of our family, sisters Anna, 11, and Megan, 9. I chose these sisters to test drive the jewelry kits because these gals know a thing or two about jewelry making. They have a craft room that’s as well stocked as any Joann Fabrics, and creating beautiful jewelry is high on their list of favorite activities.
We had a ball, gabbing away and spinning and weaving one-of-a-kind bracelets and necklaces. The experience brought me straight back to the wonderful days of Girl Scout camping, which is sadly the last time I remember making any jewelry. I have such fond memories of staying up ‘til all
hours of the night, tying knot after knot of friendship bracelets or weaving lanyards by a crackling fire, bonding with my friends.
There’s something so wonderful about getting together with your best girls and creating jewelry to share and trade. As much as I adore my wild boys, I find myself feeling just a wee bit sad that they’d probably never want to partake in the evening of jewelry making the way Anna and Megan did. Nope, it’s probably monster trucks and baseball as far as the eye can see. But, alas, I digress. Back to the toy reviews!
Get Wired by the Orb Factory
With more and more households ditching their landlines in favor of cell phones, there’s a lot of extra telephone wire out there. The folks at the Orb Factory figured out a way to put all that extra material to good use: enter the Get Wired jewelry-making kit.
Each kit contains a special coiling tool designed to wind up telephone wire into unique, modern looking jewelry. And, if you’ll recall from a time that your old phone jack ever needed repair, telephone wire comes in all manner of vibrant colors.
Anna and Megan got straight to work winding away, without actually even reading the directions. Rather, helpful pictures accompany the pamphlet, and that was enough for the girls to figure out the coiling tool.
One of the best parts about using the coiling tool is that if you make a mistake, it is simple to back track, smooth out your wire, and fix your mistake. Also, the girls appreciated the fact that the coiling tool comes with suction cups to stick it firmly to the table. That helps to ensure a tighter, more professional looking coil.
Both girls were really excited by the unique material. “I’ve made a lot of jewelry, but I’ve never used telephone wire before!” remarked Anna. “Yes, this is really cool. I can’t wait to show my friends!” agreed Megan.
I noticed that if one cared to actually read the directions, one would find that the kit offers a wide range of winding techniques – from the basic ones Anna and Megan first employed to the much more intricate. As I’ve said during other toy reviews, I appreciate this so much. If you are going to spend money on a product, why not get one that will grow along with your child?
Also, the kit is quite comprehensive, which is another plus. It contains an ample supply of wire, jump rings and clasps, earring hooks, beads, and elastic string. The girls had everything they needed short of a pair of scissors to make their funky creations.
And what happens when you run out of telephone wire? We compared the wire from the kits with the wire in the kitchen phone jack. Sure enough, it is the exact same thing. A quick call to our local hardware store revealed that telephone wire will run you 33 cents for a foot-long bundle of 6 different colors. Cheap, easy, and surprisingly beautiful – what could be better?
Rainbow Loom by Choon’s Design
The folks at Choon’s Design created an ingenious little loom that weaves small, colorful rubber bands into fabulously groovy bracelets.
The kit actually comes equipped with two separate looms. The first is a board with pegs sticking up. You weave the rubber bands into various patterns ranging from simple to complex, depending on your skill level. When you lift up the rubber bands from the board, they contract and form a bracelet. The second loom is a miniature hand loom that you maneuver kind of like a crochet hook to weave ordinary rubber bands into extraordinary creations.
“This is just so addicting,” explained Anna with a smile, as she secured each rubber band in place over the proper peg.
“I love the way the bracelets look, and they’re also really comfortable!” chimed in Megan, as she admired her first Rainbow Loom work of art.
The three of us noticed that the little c-clasps provided for the bracelets are also really clever. They are simple and clean and blend right into the jewelry. Another positive is the fact that there is a wide range of patterns for the looms – from novice to advanced. So, this product also has that great longevity factor. The girls were able to figure out the basic weaving patterns easily from the included directions. Howeve r, for more complex varieties, we agreed that the videos provided on the manufacturer’s website were even more helpful.
The kit contains an overly ample supply of rubber bands, but all sorts of color varieties are available at
Learning Express stores when you run out. Another smart product that takes inexpensive, readily available materials and offers a fun way to transform them into unique, wearable works of art! Crafty girls everywhere will adore both the Get Wired and the Rainbow Loom jewelry kits.