Back in the day, my friends and I lived to make friendship bracelets at camp. We’d braid knots, trade colors, share our creations, and wear a stack of no fewer than 10 bracelets on our wrists at any given time. However, every time we’d start anew, we would have to tape or tie the top knot onto a book or water bottle for it to stay in place, which wasn’t very practical in the long run.
Cra-Z-Art’s Shimmer’n Sparkle 5 in 1 Friendship Bracelet Studio takes away the need to find someplace to tether the thread while kids braid their bracelets by using its flower-shaped maker studio to store threads in place.
The craft set includes all the necessary materials for kids to make 28 friendship bracelets in five different styles. The set comes with metallic beads and threads, fun charms, plenty of embroidery floss and cords, and two foam looms to start threading easily.
The bracelet studio is not fully set up and ready to use right out of the box, so kids need to snap together the pink base and the purple, petal-shaped lid. Then, the loom stand and the loom cap fit snugly inside the base with another snap. A purple, flat lid cap twists into place in the center of the studio, and a suction cup on the bottom — plus four foam stickers — helps keep the bracelet maker stationary as kids braid. As kids craft their bracelets by hand, this will come in handy as an easy way to make sure everything stays where it belongs and in the proper order needed to complete a certain pattern. The studio’s foam “petals” also help keep each string separate and pulled tight, similar to previously popular circular foam loom wheels with even more slits and storage capabilities.
The instructions explain how to begin and knot five different styles of friendship bracelets, ranging from easy to more difficult: double wave, braided, classic, macramé, and spiral wave. Kids cut their strings, tie the first knot, and place the thread into one foam notch on the furthest ring of petals. The instructions have an illustrated measuring tape to help kids calculate the length of thread they’ll need. Next, the free ends of the strands can be secured across the middle and into the petal slots on the opposite side. Then, it’s time to braid!
Once the strands are secure in the bracelet studio’s petals, kids will knot their bracelets as normal in their preferred bracelet style. Making a bracelet can take up to an hour — or however long it typically takes kids to knot a particular design.
As kids’ bracelets get longer, they can spin the blue loom stand around the foam loom board to shift angles to help finish their designs. Kids can add beads or charms to their designs for extra sparkly flair. Parents will appreciate that all of the unused and extra supplies can be stored underneath the base of the maker, which slides out from underneath the petals.
This brings back the days of making so many friendship bracelets by hand and double knotting “4” knots over and over again to make the perfect candy stripe and chevron bracelets for my wrist, with even more storage, fun options to decorate, and a better mechanism to hold the thread in place.