Thursday, 1 September 2011

Creating with Fab Effex

We’ve recently had a go at creating with Fab Effex and the boys wanted to share both what they made, and their feedback on Fab Effex.

Fab Effex is a fabric based creatable – according to the kit you can wrap it, stick it and shape it….so we put it through its paces to see if it lived up to expectations.  The boys had seen it advertised on tv and since they love creating, wanted to give it a go.  This is the first time we've used a Spin Master product, so looked forward to it.

We got the Make 'N' Play Animals Kit, which contains both shapes of pre cut fabric backed with wax and a couple of cut squares to cut your own from, three plastic animal moulds and step by step guide..  The fabric itself is backed with wax, so slightly unusual – as a crafter I was intrigued as to how this would work.  The boys made short work of sorting the fabric creatables into piles according to size and shape.  The colours are fairly eye catching and bright, some with patterns and some plain.  The ideas leaflet briefly shows how to use them in conjunction with the plastic animal moulds which the Fab Effex fits around, giving brief step by step visual aids for inspiration.  The wax is pliable if you are gentle, so if you want to shape the fabric the wax helps you do so if you rub the fabric side into shape.

One thing that quickly became apparent once the boys had chosen which animal they wanted to make from the step by step guide – for the lion, the colours and shapes represented didn’t correspond with what we had in the pack, which came as a surprise to us, as the boys normally follow instructions to make things up (eg lego sets etc when first used).  The first step shown in the leaflet should cover the lions lower half…even with stretching it, it wouldn't fit, and the wax started to crack and only just managed to hold in place.  (I’m now wondering if there were pieces we should have used in conjunction and therefore maybe that part was our mistake – instead of 1 piece we might have had to use 3, but this isn’t clearly shown on the step by step)….Also, I don’t know if this was an oversight, or if that’s the way all the packs are, but DS1 - who’s 8 - couldn’t make the lion completely (or to his satisfaction) due to there not being the correct amount of shapes in any colour as directed by the ideas leaflet (hence why the lion's mane isn't as full!)…so he was left feeling a bit deflated and started loosing interest. He did 99% of his by himself apart from the first stage when we tried to puzzle out which parts belonged where.

DS2 decided to make his own version of the butterfly as shown in the ideas guide.  He did really well with a small amount of help (he’s 5, and the recommended age is 6+ for this kit).  He thoroughly enjoyed moulding the parts on top of the plastic animal shape and seeing how they stayed on.  Apart from the wings not staying on (even with help from me) everything DS2 made is still in place.  There were two sizes available for him to use for the wings - he choose the biggest ;)

From trying to follow the step by step, with me making an elephant (although again the colours were different to those on the guide), there are some assorted pieces of Fab Effex leftover, including 1 and a half pieces from the larger cut-able squares, so if the boys wanted to create with them again, there’s more for that....we'd just need either more plastic animal moulds, or to use it on something else.  Shaping the fabric is easy, sticking it wasn't always 100% reliable, especially in the case of the butterfly DS2 made.  Wrapping it worked a treat as well.

Overall this was enjoyable.  On the downside, if we were to do this again I’d rely less on the step by step and by the colours/shapes indicated and just let the boys be creative by themselves, as the step by step was a let down since it didn’t marry up to what we had in the pack, although we did have the correct amount of pieces before starting.
On the upside the boys felt able to create according to what they wanted to make and as a parent it was great to let them go ahead without any worry about the mess it would make – the only mess was the backing from the fabric, which was non sticky once used, so no residue, no paint, no messy hands….a win-win for next to zero mess :))  I'm confident the boys would use this again, next time we'll be more adventurous and not use the guide....I think I tend to over think things like next time I'll supervise and let them get creative more without being so picky!!

Many thanks to Blog Match and to Spin Master for allowing us to review Fab Effex.  A review kit was received in exchange for an honest review of the product.

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