May the beads be with you.
Last Christmas we were sent a cute little set with which you make some characters from Finding Dory out of weird little beads. We loved that, but to be honest none of us here we're all that fussed about Finding Dory. So... take a new Aquabeads set and add a theme that we do all love – such as Star Wars – and now you're talking. We check out the Aquabeads Star Wars Playset.
In a nutshell, Aquabeads are small plastic beads that, when wet, stick to each other and then dry to form a fairly rigid structure. Aquabead sets include a layout tablet which allows you to arrange the beads how ever you want, and also a small spray bottle to douse your design in water in order to make them stick. Sounds simple, and it is.
However, what makes the Aquabeads Star Wars Playset that little bit more awesome than others we've seen in the past, is that it contains everything you need to make four iconic character designs from the Star Wars universe; namely Darth Vader, a Stormtrooper, R2D2, and C3PO. Beats some dumb fish. Tee hee.
Included in the playset is the aforementioned layout table, a bead tray to keep all the different colours of beads separate and organised, the spray bottle, four template designs, and over 1000 beads, mostly in white, black, yellow, and grey (with a few blue and even fewer jewel beads). You basically get all the beads you need to make the four designs, and no more. So this isn't really a set for freestyle design work, just so you know.
Right, so with the beads poured out into the tray, and with a design template inserted beneath the table (the Stormtrooper, obviously) we got cracking. The process of picking up and laying down the beads isn't as tedious and as fiddly as you might think, but this is definitely a task better suited to smaller fingers. The template beneath the table lined up well with the bead 'holes', so following the instructions is a fairly easy affair – certainly the wee kiddos we set to the task achieved it.
After setting all the correct beads in place, you sprinkle on a bit of water – just enough to wet everything. You then tip the table on it's side to allow the excess water to drain, then leave your creation to dry for about an hour. After that, carefully pop it off, and there is your Stormtrooper (or Vader, or R2, or threepio).
The kids loved it, as not only is the process a great opportunity to concentrate and follow a set pattern, but the finished creation is quite tactile, having a bendy, rubber-like quality. Plus, if it breaks, you simple pop it back onto the board and re-wet it.
We would have appreciated more beads to make a few designs free-hand, perhaps following suggestions printed on the box, but as a crafting experience resulting in a movie tie-in the kids will love, this is loads of fun.
Available from www.amazon.co.uk