Here Inside the Wendy House, we are big fans of the Interplay brand, which encourages creativity in children through their exciting and innovative activity kits.
The latest one we received to review was the My Style Craft Design & Make Wire Craft Rings set, containing instructions and materials to create eight fashion rings. My daughter Kezia and her best friend Georgia are my enthusiastic testers when it comes to anything crafty like this, so I put them to work independently to create some fun, fashionable jewellery. At 12 they are well over the recommended 8+ that this kit is aimed at.
The set included three lengths of jewellery wire in varying thicknesses - two silver, one purple, a pink handled pair of pliers, a ring forming tool and a bag of assorted beads, as well as a fully illustrated step by step instruction manual. All you need in addition to the contents is a pair of scissors or wire cutters to cut the wire and a ruler to measure lengths.
The instructions really are very comprehensive and clear, but unfortunately the procedures were just too complicated for the girls to manage. They struggled to work out how to make even the easiest ring design look like a piece of jewellery and not just a twisted length of wire. So I stepped in to assist and have to admit that I found myself wishing I was an experienced and highly skilled jewellery maker and not just a slightly cack-handed mum, because I really wanted to impress the girls! Alas this was not to be.
Mastering the spiral and loop making using the pliers was very fiddly and we were just not very good at it. Try as we might we could not turn a length of wire into the elaborately twisted, bejewelled, knotted, twirled and intricately designed rings illustrated in the manual. I'm sure that someone with more dexterity and jewellery making flair could create something beautiful from the lengths of wire and beads - but sadly on this occasion we weren't up for the job.
Although this review is not as positive as other Interplay sets we have tested, that is not to say that the kit itself was in any way substandard. The wire is good quality and the tools are reusable, so can be used not just for this activity but for any other future jewellery making crafts. They will be a great addition to a craft box. The instructions are well described with step by step detail and clear illustrations. Our problem was our inability to translate them into the skills required to create something that looked like the expected end result. The rings we made were just not really something you'd want to wear.
For anyone with a real artistic flair and with good dexterity when working with intricate detail, this would be a great starter set for jewellery making, teaching skills and knowledge for the design and creation of bespoke pieces.
To balance out our issues with our lack of skills, I have looked at reviews for this kit on Amazon and some are very positive. Here is one:
instructions are great and we really felt like we were learning how to be
professional jewellery makers. Hours and hours of play from just one box."
And this is a stock image of what you could make with a bit of skill using the kit.
At £7.99 this is a great price for a set that can make eight rings. You can find it online at: www.interplayuk.com/mystyle/wire-craft-rings