Despite having a house full of boys, I occasionally get to indulge myself in some “girlier” past times with my boys. One thing we enjoy doing together is making jewelry. Although the boys rarely make anything to wear themselves, they’ve learned that handmade bracelets and keychains make great gifts for grandparents, cousins and even friends, so we’ve weaved and loomed our way through birthdays and Christmas for years now. We recently decided to do a Strand Bands Designer review in an attempt to create something new for the boys to gift during the holidays.
The Bridge Direct Strand Bands Designer takes a slightly different approach to jewelery making, and we really like it. Inside the box you’ll find the Strand Styler – a plastic piece that holds your Strand Bands together as you weave and knot them, making it easy to design your creations. You’l also get 180 feet of peel apart Strand Bands and plenty of beads and charms to get you started. The kit is relatively easy to use, with the strands being clipped into one end of the designer, which sits easily on a tabletop or in your lap. The Strand Styler is so portable that we’ve even been able to take it along in the car, and it holds the Strand Bands securely enough that it can be moved around a bit mid-design without any issues.
The Strand Bands are really neat because they are made a a stretchy material. When you open the box they are stuck together and all you need to do is choose a color and pull it apart from the others. We like this because it prevent us from having a bunch of strings tangled together. Even when putting the kit away between uses the Strand Bands stay nice and neat for the next use. The Strand Bands come is great, vibrant colors and together with the coordinating beads make a really fun looking bracelet.
The instructions left a little to be desired for me, who couldn’t figure out even the most basic design in the beginning – but, I wouldn’t count that too heavily against this toy because there are a host of how to video’s on the Strand Bands website, and even more variety and design to choose from on YouTube. In fact, I would skip the written instructions entirely and go straight to the videos when starting out. Once you’ve watched a video or two it is really simple to make your own bracelets. We also really like making key chains, which is something we learned how to do on YouTube the other day. With this one kit we were able to make about 10 bracelets and a handful of keychains. There are a variety of kits and refills available, which is great for girls who really want to personalize their style.
Overall, this is actually one of my more favorite jewelry making kits, mainly because of the portability and material the bands are made of. For about $14 you get enough material to make a really nice assortment of bracelets and the colors make them fun to wear for a variety of ages – I’m not a fan of wearing pastels myself, so I found the brighter color of Strand Bands funky enough to get away with myself and the teenage girls in our family absolutely loved them!
The only real complaint I have would be the instructions, and honestly when it comes to weaving bracelets I’m not sure written instructions will ever be great. I’m really impressed with the assortment of video instructions available on the strand bands website, and as long as your child can get access to those videos for a bit they will have no issue learning how to weave different designs easily. We think this set is definitely great quality for the price and something that girls (and boys) can really enjoy and be creative with!