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Vendor Spotlight: My Friendship Bracelet Maker

Reported by Kristine Fowler

As a little girl I remember making friendship bracelets by the hour, using thread, a piece of cork and a thumbtack.  In fact, just this past summer, I tried to introduce the craft to my 8-year-old daughter – and while we definitely enjoyed the mommy-daughter time, the cork/thumbtack setup was frustrating for her and it seemed that I was spending more time untangling threads than anything else.  Needless to say, we didn’t get a whole lot accomplished before giving it up.  That is why when myfbm.com asked Craft Critique to review the My Friendship Bracelet Maker, I jumped at the opportunity.  I had high hopes that this little machine would be the user-friendly friendship bracelet making solution we needed — and it delivered!

The My Friendship Bracelet Maker, by Corey Creations Inc. is a craft toy targeted at girls ages 6+.  While some boys might also enjoy making friendship bracelets, the packaging and the unit itself are bright pink which definitely gives it more of a girly appeal.  {And did you notice that groovy retro-style font on the box?  That is a touch of marketing genius in my opinion since immediately I knew this toy would ‘take me back’ to my childhood.}

The unit itself is pretty basic in that it is made of hard plastic and has a clip in the shape of a Butterfly that holds your bracelet-in-progress secure.  The clip is adjustable, allowing you to slide it up and down the shaft and place it in the optimum position for weaving depending on the length of your threads.  There are 10 posts along the bottom which side-by-side create slots that work to keep your threads organized and tangle free as you work.  The slots are numbered, so if you use the myfbm patterns, creating is a snap. In addition, there is also a slide out tray on the bottom the unit that holds pre-measured My Friendship Bracelet Maker threads.  The unit comes with 56 individual threads in 14 different colours.  The fact that the threads are pre-measured and individually packaged is a dream come true.  It makes the unit easy to use right out of the box as there is no setup or prep work involved to get started.

The unit out of the box.
The slide out storage tray.

The My Friendship Bracelet Maker is super simple to use and comes with basic instructions.  The knot-tying instructions are given in both prose and picture format – making it easy for even the early reader to get a handle on.  Trust me when I say that upon opening the box, you’ll be creating your first piece in no time at all.  The instructions included are for the Beginner Level Stripe Pattern like the bracelet you see below.  My 8-year old daughter made this one.  She gave this product a big thumbs up.


Because I was up for a bit of a challenge, I jumped on over to the myfbm.com website to see what other bracelet patterns were out there.   In an area of their website called ‘The Workshop‘ there are 16 patterns available in addition to the Stripe which came in the box, for a total of 17 different designs.  Most of the online patterns have prose instructions as well as a real-time full-length how-to instructional video.  For six of them, (Skull, Large Butterfly, Penguin, Bat and MadJack), the videos are ‘coming soon’.  While quite lengthy, I was pleasantly surprised to see the videos online as they will allow early readers or otherwise ‘visual’ learners to get crafting.  The first alternative pattern I chose to make was the Double Helix.  It is rated as an Intermediate/Advanced pattern.

Here is a photo of my Double Helix bracelet in progress, as well as my completed piece.

I admit, I did not watch the video and perhaps should have, as I did make a mistake part way through my bracelet (see photo below) and somehow missed a step or two.  Because of the colours I used, it was easy to detect, and using a pointy kebab skewer (a needle would have worked too I’m sure), I was able to undo enough knots to straighten myself out and was back on track to pattern in no time at all.

In addition to The Workshop on myfbm.com My Friendship Bracelet Maker has a blog where they share ideas, company news, contests and special promotions.  Right now, through the month of October, they are running a promo called Pink & White Kids Join the Fight to collect pink & white friendship bracelets.  Bracelets collected will be delivered to kids that are helping someone battle breast cancer to let them know they are not alone.  In addition, $1 from every My Friendship Bracelet Maker kit purchased by a retailer is being donated to breast cancer research.  Here is the bracelet I am making to send in to the campaign.  The Cancer Cause Ribbon Pattern is rated as Intermediate.  I can see already that this is going to be awesome – with the repeated pink breast cancer ribbons surrounded in white!  Love it!  Quite frankly, I am simply amazed that someone managed to pattern this one out!

Overall, I am super impressed by the simplicity and usability of this device – and have already purchased a few more for holiday gift giving and a couple to tuck away for upcoming birthdays.  There are a few little girls on my lists that would just love to get their hands on this one.  My only criticism of the unit overall would be the slide out tray.  While super functional, I wish it had some kind of latch mechanism.  My daughter was carrying the unit and the tray ‘slid open’ accidentally.  She not only dropped a bunch of the pre-packaged threads, but her work-in-progress got a little tangled up.  It wasn’t a huge problem really, it was quite easy to straighten everything out again, but with a simple latch/lock this situation could have been avoided.

If you’re interested in purchasing the My Friendship Bracelet Maker, pop on over to myfbm.com and use their handy Store Locator to find a retail outlet near you.  The map breaks down availability in all U.S. States, and there is an additional link for International Orders.  In addition to the My Friendship Bracelet Maker, there are add-ons available as well including:

  • the MYFBM Tote bag for crafting on the go
  • the MYFBM Clip Board (which looks to be the same unit without the storage tray, is blue rather than pink and instead of a Butterfly, the clip is a Peace sign – this would be more appealing to boys I’m sure – and the Clip Board comes with 10 different colours of pre-measured threads)  This unit was reviewed on Craft Critique yesterday by Kelleigh Ratzlaff, check it out.
  • the MYFBM refill pack which includes an interchangeable double-heart “BFF” clip, the international symbol of friendship as well as 56 pre-measured threads in 14 different colours.
So in summary here are my general thoughts on the My Friendship Bracelet Maker:
Pros:
  • easy to use right out of the box
  • durable design
  • 17 bracelet patterns available online (could be a con also – see below)
  • instructional videos available online
  • portable
  • has a storage tray to keep your threads organized
  • included threads are pre-measured
  • the unit makes a ‘retro’ craft easier to manage – no more thumbtacks and cork….Yay!
Cons:
  • storage tray does not lock shut
  • only one bracelet pattern is included in the box – you cannot access additional designs without internet access
Have you tried the My Friendship Bracelet Maker or associated products?  Let us know what you think.  Leave us a comment below.

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Vendor Spotlight: My Friendship Bracelet Maker

Reported by Kelleigh Ratzlaff

Do you remember the days of making friendship bracelets out of embroidery floss? I remember sitting in Mrs Wilson’s 6th grade class with a knotted bunch of embroidery floss taped down to the inside of my desk (so the teacher wouldn’t see it) or pinned to my jeans. I either ended up with a pile of tape from having to re-tape and re-tape (why didn’t I use duct tape?) or a hole in my pants (much to my mother’s chagrin!).

It appears that embroidery floss friendship bracelets are making a fashion comeback, and technology and the crafty mind have finally caught up!

Let me introduce you to My Friendship Bracelet Maker. What a fun little gadget!! I received the green and teal “peace sign clipboard” version, which is just fabulous!

My 2nd grade son is starting to become aware of all of the fads, and he definitely knows what friendship bracelets are. Since he is into all-things-crafty, he was a very willing guinea pig!

While he was picking some colors from the embroidery floss that came in the kit, I checked out our new gadget. Actually, I was praying that instructions would be included, because it has been a very long time since 6th grade and I could NOT remember what I was doing.

Imagine my relief when I pulled out the cardboard insert that conveniently slides into the back of the clipboard (major bonus points!) to discover instructions!! With pictures!! {whew!}


I got the bracelet started, and after that, it was just a matter of playing the role of patient mommy while trying to teach my impatient 7-year old how to hold the strings and pull the knot just so (Mommy’s a little picky. Yikes!).

After a single row of knots, he was bored. Okay, so it may have been my “attention to detail” and the fact that a movie was playing in the background that threw off my perfect little tutorial session. OR, it may be because the 6+ age recommendation is actually for girls (hey, I would have eaten this up at age 6) rather than the “all-action-all-the-time” boys who live in my house. Perhaps I’ll try this experiment again in a couple of months. I can tell you that this is certainly an “interest may vary by child” kind of craft.

In all fairness to my son, he is cheering me on as I complete his friendship bracelet and eagerly awaiting the time when he gets to wear it!!

Let me break down my crafty opinion for you.

Pros:

  • Comes in great colors and styles. Our version is not girly at all (yay!), however it does come in a pretty butterfly, pink and purple style!
  • The peace sign clip is SO stinkin’ cool!! It holds the strings quite nicely and slides up and down according to how long your bracelet is. No more holes in my jeans or piles of tape in my desk!
  • The numbered slots for the different strings is awesome. Not only does this ensure that I don’t lose my place if I get distracted, but it also keeps things nice and organized if I have to put the project down.
  • SUPER convenient storage for instructions. LOVE that the instructions are not loose.
  • This would be absolutely perfect for a road trip (provided your child doesn’t get car sick!) or for any time when your child has to sit quietly (think airplanes, meetings or a doctor’s waiting room).
  • Nice hole at the top for hanging storage.

Cons:

  • The instructions included in my version are only for the standard, straight across bracelet, however the diagonal version is what is pictured as the final product. Confusing. I’m feeling a bit dorky trying to figure out how they did that. I would imagine that there are additional lessons on their great website, though!
  • I’m wondering how to store my bracelet and it’s many dangling strings as I finish up my project. It would be awesome if there was some way to hold them in place. Perhaps a small clip at the bottom? I don’t know.

Over all, I think this is a wonderfully clever little gadget that is sure to come in handy when my son jumps on the friendship bracelet fad. Oh, and you bet that I’ll be taking it with me on the long airplane ride this holiday season! It could be this mama’s saving grace!!

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!