A few weeks ago we were sent a set of Gemmies Design Studio – Crystal Creations for review. I have since decided an extreme love/hate relationship with them!
Aimed at a 6+ age range, these are very fiddly and time consuming and I actually found it really hard to do. I set the kit up myself and did the first design – an ice cream – so that I could figure it out before trying to show my six year old. I’m glad I did because I realised quickly that it was going to be way too hard for her. Not least because it requires some serious attention to detail! You can follow instructions online (each ‘pattern’ sheet has a unique URL) which is very useful.
But, that said, once I’d muddled my way through the first design, and got the hang of it, and began to understand the cryptic pattern layouts, it did become a lot easier. Whereas the first ‘easy’ design took me a good hour to do, the subsequent ones went much faster. They were still too hard for the kids (6 & 4) to follow however, so I ended up spending an afternoon making designs for them to play with. We made the aforementioned ice cream, a fish and a dog, which they happily played with for the rest of the afternoon.
The box comes with the bead desk which has convenient storage for the beads, elastics, clips and connectors that make the Gemmies ‘work’. There’s also a bead tool, four ‘cups’ to keep beads in and a light up torch that you use to display your designs.
Once you’ve chosen your design, you can see on the page how many of each bead and band you will need. You pop them in the little cups and you’re good to go without having to fiddle in the drawers too much.
Once you’re ready to start, spread a band over the clips and clip the required band on.
If you follow the pattern for the ice cream, you’ll end up with a series of beads like this. The orange ones are place holders that you’ll remove once you clip them to attach the sum of the parts.
So you’ll end up with bits put together – in this case the ice cream part of the design.
And once all the bits are put together – you have your complete ice cream – or whichever design you’ve chosen. As I said, the first one takes a while, but once you’ve the hang of it, it does get easier – but if you have a child with the attention span of a gold fish, you might want to err on the higher side of the age spectrum for this one.
Also in the range is the Gemmies Activity pack for extra beads and designs ( RRP £9.99)