China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: Homemade Accessories Are Now Easier Than Ever to Make!

It has become somewhat of a tradition along the South Shore of Long Island to sell bracelets and other accessories down by the beach boardwalks during the summer. I can vividly remember watching in delight as my older cousins worked ferociously to complete the bracelets, ankle bracelets, hair ties, and even necklaces they would sell for less than a dollar each. It wasn’t about making money, although a busy day was certainly a plus, it was about creating the accessories. They would allow me to sit with them on the spread out beach towels, which doubled as a makeshift bracelet display area, until I was old enough to start making and selling the bracelets myself. A few years later my younger sister followed suit, and now my six-year-old cousin and her friends are keeping the tradition alive, proving that no matter how many store bought bracelets and accessories there may be, nothing can really replace a handmade ones.

MyRibbonBarrette_open_leftThis is not to say that the bracelet and accessory making is easy. At times, in fact, it’s far from it. Depending on the difficulty of the braid or stitch you’re attempting to create, you could end up spending hours trying to perfect a single bracelet. Complications that typically arise during the process include the tangling up of excess material, which can sometimes result in what looks like a messy bracelet with a mind of its own, and usually always ends up in a frustrating de-tangling session. That’s why once I saw the new My Ribbon Barrette Maker, from the Choose Friendship Co., the makers of the My Friendship Bracelet Maker, I knew immediately that I had to test it out, since barrettes were definitely merchandise that could be found on those beach towel years ago. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Choose Friendship Company Lets Girls Get Creative

Christine.June18

At myfbm.com, girls can choose from six different kits, from the Choose Friendship Company, to express their creativity. From friendship bracelets to magnets, these kits provide the supplies, instructions, and inspiration to create one-of-a-kind items to display, wear, or swap.

My Ribbon Barrette Maker lets girls design and make their own hair barrettes. What little girl doesn’t love colorful hair accessories? What makes this kit awesome is the layout of the top of the box. There is a centered slot to firmly anchor the barrette, and numbered slots in which to place the ribbons as kids weave them into the barrette. Inside the box, the kit includes several silver barrettes, a rainbow of brightly-colored ribbon, and an array of colorful beads for girls to incorporate into their designs as they see fit. The kit comes with an instruction sheet with several design suggestions and photos to make it easy to master. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: DYO Arts and Crafts Kits Remain on Top

As the design-your-own (DYO) trend continues this year, more and more companies are jumping onboard and attempting to woo the world’s crafty tweens. A lap around the arts and crafts section at this year’s American International Toy Fair revealed no shortage of bands, bracelets, or buttons just waiting to be adorned.

These are a few of my favorites:

Crafty Bands

Crafty Bands

  • Crafty Bands (Epiphany Crafts): Designed for kids ages 8 and up, Crafty Bands allow kids to create their own charms using the included Shape Studio Tool. Unlike some other paper punches, this one is super easy on the hands and has a cap to ensure that the newly made charms don’t fly away. The Crafty Bands Starter Kit includes the Shape Studio Tool, four Crafty Bands (pink, purple, blue, and lime green), 20 Crafty Snaps, 20 Bubble Caps, and adhesive. beware though, you’ll need your own adhesive to adhere the paper to the snaps. I tried a glue stick, but that wasn’t quite strong enough. Some quick-dry liquid glue should do the trick. For more information on Crafty Bands, visit www.craftybands.com.
  • My Image Button Maker (Choose Friendship): This kit allows kids to turn their favorite photos and graphics into buttons. They can choose from one of 36 preprinted images or upload and use their own on myphotosizer.com or the My Photosizer iPhone and iPod touch app. My Image Button Maker comes with 12 pins, 12 magnets, 12 button fronts, 12 button pages, and six pre-printed image cards. For more information, visit www.choosefriendship.co/.
  • Rainbow Loom (Choon’s Design): Designed for kids ages 8 and up, the Rainbow Loom allows you to create a “woven” bracelet using rainbow rubber bands. The loom and bands can look a bit intimidating, but the whole endeavor only takes about 10 minutes. It was definitely worthy my time! The kit includes all the supplies necessary to make up to 24 bracelets and more than 600 rubber bands. For more information, visit www.rainbowloom.com. (Check out the cool instructional video below!)

For more commentary from Sierra, check back each Friday afternoon. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!