Thursday, 23 December 2010

Zubber Bands - Review

Zubber Bands
"Create cool bracelet bands with this Zubber Band craft set, includes 100 letter, number and symbol blocks to choose from so you can customise your bracelet with anything you want"

I'd been quite excited about reviewing Zubber Bands. As my older girls were growing up, we tried out all sorts of craft sets but this seemed unlike anything I had ever used before. The idea of a material that moulds like clay and dries like rubber was quite intriguing and if the pictures on the box were anything to go by, the result of your crafty endeavours could be unique and really quite wearable.

The age recommendation on the box was 5+ so figuring this would be beyond the capability of my 2 year old, I took the set over to my 8 year old niece Kizzy' s house and gave her an early Xmas present. She was very eager to get started and the older girls were drawn into the proceedings to help.

The box contained a multitude of little letter/number/symbol blocks and a cute draw string bag to keep them all in, a bracelet mould and a small plastic tool to press the Zubber down, measuring scoops and of course, the Zubber which came in three bright colours in domed plastic containers with an additional component that needed to be added to the Zubber to activate it.

The girls quickly got to grips with the instructions, decided on a colour and a design and started work. 

Kizzy had the job of measuring out the Zubber and activator and kneading them together. This had to be done quickly before the Zubber set so she did get a little help. Ella (14) placed the letter blocks in the mould while everybody else searched through the pile trying to find the letters she needed. 

It was all a bit of a mission. The letters were hard to identify and it was a big jumble to sort through, the lid of the mould was difficult to snap on and the plastic tool seemed to scrape and tear at the Zubber rather than push it into place so they resorted to using fingers instead.

Despite our difficulties, we were all quite excited about the 'reveal' of the finished product. We had a watch to time the 10 minutes needed for the rubberising process to take place (only the deluxe Zubber craft set contains the special Zubber timer) and waited patiently. After half an hour (and several festive snacks) the Zubber did not appear to have changed at all. We poked it and decided to leave it a little longer.

Eventually, we made the decision to just go for it (we were running rapidly out of patience and snacks) and carefully slid our Zubber band from the bracelet mould. 

I have to admit it was quite thrilling as the band came away to reveal perfectly imprinted letters, but the thrill was short lived as the zubber stretched and ultimately fell apart. It clearly had begun to set to the rubbery consistency promised because we were unable to re-knead it and try again, but it was a long way from being properly ready.

Perhaps in her excitement to get started, Kizzy had not measured out the correct proportions of Zubber and activator or we had missed something vital in the instructions. Or maybe it does just take much longer than we allowed.

To summarise, it was a bit fiddly and the finished product, this time, was unuseable but we did have fun with it. Perhaps next time, with the benefit of experience, we will have a better result. I do have some concerns, however, about 'next time' as the plastic domed pots containing the modelling materials are insubstantial and would not prevent drying out were that to be an issue. 

One final word of caution - take care when positioning the blocks on the bracelet mould. It is very easy to end up with backward facing letters!

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