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Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: American Girl Crafts Wrap & Roll Bracelets

Reported by Heather Strenzwilk

As the parent of an American Girl OBSESSED tween, my daughter and I were eager to review the American Girl Crafts Wrap and Roll Bracelets kit from EK Success. The kit contains materials to make 150 paper beads and includes supplies to create up to 13 bracelets.


The kit includes:
– project and idea book
– 150 paper strips (to make cylindrical and oval beads)
– 150 wooden beads
– 1.5 fl. oz. (44 mL) clear craft glue
– foam brush
– clear string
– 20 rolling tubes
– foam block (used for holding the beads as they dry)

The kit is pretty inclusive, but you will need a ruler, tape and scissors. We also used a non-stick craft sheet and some small bowls to sort the finished beads (although they made the project easier, these two items aren’t necessary.)

Wrapping an oval bead- starting with the wide end of the triangle

The kit contains rectangular paper strips to make cylindrical shaped beads, and triangular strips to make oval beads. The rectangular strips are approximately 11.75 inches by 13/16 inch. Each individual strip is to be wrapped separately on a rolling tube (which is about 2.5 inches long). The instructions advise to roll the paper tightly around the tube, trying to keep oval beads centered or cylindrical beads straight and even. After you roll the entire strip dab a little glue on the end of the paper, hold it for a few seconds if necessary until the glue sets. Our finished cylindrical beads were approximately 3/8 inch in diameter.

We found it much easier to dab a bit of glue on the paper after we wrapped it around the rolling tube once or twice. Because we were wrapping tightly, the dab of glue would keep spreading forward as we wrapped and the whole bead felt tighter. If needed we would add an additional touch of glue as we wrapped. There is a short learning curve, but after 5-6 beads both of us had a feel for what was tight enough and knew when to unroll a bit of the bead to make it more even. Our attention span was about 30-40 minutes per bead rolling session and we would create 12-18 beads collectively. If I was alone watching a DVD as I wrapped, I could make 20-25 in a sitting.

A few beads drying on rolling tubs embedded in craft foam

The instructions suggested sealing the beads by brushing them more of the clear craft glue. This protective coating helps the bead keep its shape and adds a shiny finish. We carefully applied the glue coat to the beads after we rolled them. You have to be careful that you don’t glue the bead to the rolling tube so as a “check” we made sure we could move the bead on the rolling tube before setting it in the craft foam to dry. The craft foam is actually florist’s foam used for creating flower arrangements. After each of our four beadmaking sessions we allowed the beads to dry completely overnight. However, I think the beads are safe to handle after a few hours of drying time.

Just a few of the different styles in the kit. Notice the sheen on the beads from one coating of clear glue

Sharing the glue bottle turned out to be an issue for us, so we poured a puddle of glue onto a non-stick craft sheet and we shared that. The kit only included one foam brush so I grabbed an extra from my craft stash. You’ll definitely need a few extra glue applicators if you do this with a large group. We are almost out of glue (we used more than the instructions stated) and we have approximately 20 paper strips left in our kit.

I tried to exactly duplicate the stacker bracelet pictured on the package

The oval beads were easier and more fun for both me and my daughter. The cylindrical beads were more difficult to keep straight. Some of our cylindrical beads had uneven edges and this was an issue when I made the stacker style bracelet (my first time making this style bracelet). As you can see in the photo above the plastic string is not flush with all the edges of the beads because of the uneven bead edges (and because I might not have pulled the string as tight as I could have pulled it). You can also see that I left a tail of string.

Some of the wooden spacer beads that came with the kit had incompletely drilled holes

The kit comes with 150 color coordinated wooden beads that can be added to bracelets. Our beads were a mix of longer ovals and small spacers. We noticed that some of the holes on these wooden beads weren’t completely drilled through the bead. I was able to finish poking the holes through with a needle.

Our other issue is that the bracelets are finished by tying the ends into a square knot. Square knots are not too bad with yarn or non-slick string. Trying to tie them with the plastic in the kit is a big challenge. So was picking up all of the beads after a knot failure.

Paper beads + wooden beads = many combinations!

My ten-year-old daughter has seen various American Girl craft kits at chain craft stores. Although she was initially drawn to the brand (she loves anything American Girl), she was excited at the prospect of making her own paper beads and bracelets because she likes to make jewelry. We only used beads from the kit for these samples but my daughter immediately came up with ideas for future bracelets using some of her bead stash and some of my designer paper. With a retail price of $14.95, this makes an affordable gift or group project plus this kit can act as a springboard for girls to experiment making paper bead jewelry.

Pros:

  • Kit contains all of the critical items to create multiple bracelets
  • Illustrated instructions were well written and easy to follow
  • Enough paper strips to make 150 beads, which is enough to cover a few misshapen or beads gone wrong

Cons:

  • The clear string included in the kit is very difficult to tie
  • More string is required for a stacker style bracelet so you’ll probably need additional string in order to use all the beads
  • Some of the wooden beads in the kit weren’t drilled completely which made them difficult to thread

GIVEAWAY
The folks over at EK Success are giving away a kit to one lucky reader. To enter simply answer any of the questions below in the Comments section of this article on our website. One comment per person, please.
Do you buy themed craft kits for children? Do you find children’s jewelry kits a good way for children to learn how to make their own jewelry? Have you tried any of the American Girl Craft Kits from EK Success? Please share your thoughts with our readers.

Winners are chosen at random. Contest closes Sunday, June 12th at 6pm CST. Good Luck!

Disclosure

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

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14 Responses to Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: American Girl Crafts Wrap & Roll Bracelets

  1. Avatar
    Toucan Scraps June 8, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    I’m not sure we can get American Girl craft kits here in the UK.

    My kids are generally more keen to have normal adult supplies to craft with than children’s craft kits, but I do get them occasionally, especially if it includes tools that can be reused or is something I’ve not done before.

  2. Avatar
    jjocarlson June 8, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    I do get special themed crafts at times for my kids! My daughter loves making jewelery! So my kids have there art area and supplies away from mine!

  3. Avatar
    Isabel Z June 8, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    My daughter prefers to create with a variety of materials so we don’t often purchase kits, however, this one is different than just stringing beads that were purchased. She would enjoy creating the beads herself.

    No, we have not tried the American Girl doll kits but she loves her AG dolls and books.

  4. Avatar
    Donna June 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    I haven’t tried any American Girl kits but I have bought children’s kits before. I do get lots of ideas for Girl Scout projects from kits that I’ve seen.

  5. Avatar
    LaceTopDesigns June 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    I havnt tried these style of kits before, my children tend to prefere using my adult craft stash, although im sure if I had these in my stash, they wouldnt say no!

  6. Avatar
    aloha37 June 8, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

    I haven’t ever tried any of these kits. My daughter and her friends would probably like using them. Would love to win one to try it out.

  7. Avatar
    Christel June 8, 2011 at 10:58 pm #

    I do buy themed kits for my daughter. She loves making jewelry and friendship bracelets for her friends. And she’s really into anything American Girl these days. I know she would put any of these craft kits to good use.

  8. Avatar
    LisaAnn June 9, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    We buy themed kits as they add extra excitement for the kids. Most of the kits are a fair way to teach them jewelry making skills, but some are just striging. We do not have AG kits but would love to try them as we lovevthe AG books!

    Lhy5@yahoo.com

  9. Avatar
    the mustik June 10, 2011 at 4:01 am #

    My kids love to create jewelry ! Thanks for the chance to win a kit.

  10. Avatar
    Vitoria B June 10, 2011 at 4:02 am #

    Would love to win one to offer to my niece, this is a fun activity, very creative and the result is beautiful.

  11. Avatar
    Lori June 10, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    We’ve never done paper beads, but my daughter really likes making her own jewelry out of pony beads.
    lkziegler[at]gmail[dot]com

  12. Avatar
    Sue D June 10, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    I have bought kids craft kits before but never the American Girl craft kits. I think my granddaughter would like these.

  13. Avatar
    la zaz June 12, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    Perfect “jewelry” for the kids ! Thanks for the chance.

  14. Avatar
    rush June 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    i haven’t purchased any themed craft kits, but i do see how jewelry-making would be fun for my granddaughters to make this summer. i haven’t tried any of the american girl craft kits, but i think i have to look into it.