Glitter Clay Charms, by Klutz Press; $21.99, 48 pages, ages 8 and up. 

Klutz has built its reputation on building fun activity kits that encourage and stimulate open-ended creativity. We recently received the Glitter Clay Charms book kit and tested it. Here’s what we learned:

What it is: A 48-page design booklet with materials necessary to create sparkly charms: a metal link bracelet, charm loops, clay, even a drying rack complete the kit. Precise, easy-to-follow-instructions are Klutz’s hallmark, and cover every conceivable clay-related outcome here.

You will need: Patience. Plus a toaster oven to “bake” the charms.

Who it’s for: Children eight years old and up. Tiny metal pieces, polymer clay, and functional sharp points can puncture tiny fingers and other body parts. Less dexterous children should be supervised. Note that the book only comes with one metal bracelet, which could make sharing this project with others problematic unless another bracelet is provided.

The project: We were feeling adventurous so we skipped the simple charms and headed straight for the adorable orange fox. There’s no orange clay, so we blended a small pink ball and a medium yellow ball of clay, as instructed. Rather,  we tried to–this clay doesn’t blend well, and after about ten minutes of kneading, we still had clay in a darker shade of pink. No matter, we soldiered on, following the step-by-step instructions to mold the charm into the desired form. Even with minimal artistic skill, we were able to compose something that resembled the example in the book. Next we added the charm loop and then placed the fox on a foil-lined cookie sheet, which went in a 250°F toaster oven for twenty minutes. (This is where parental supervision is crucial.) After letting the charm cool, we attached it to the metal bracelet. The loop came loose from the charm, but Klutz discusses how to remedy that on page 13.

Here’s how our charm turned out:

A rare pink fox on a charm, modeled by my assistant. 

Total time commitment: We spent roughly forty-five minutes (including twenty minutes baking) from start to finish creating one charm. The only frustrating moment we encountered was blending the clay into our desired shade of orange, but we worked through it.

The verdict: Detailed instructions encourage close reading and following directions. Creative types who love to work with their hands will enjoy this satisfying project. I found molding the clay especially soothing, even when the color didn’t blend as desired. Those easily frustrated by manipulating small objects may not enjoy Glitter Clay Charms. Parents will want to cover workspaces with newspaper and put kids in an old t-shirt or smock–polymer clay stains.

Would we do it again? Definitely.

Have you tried any Klutz products? Share your experiences in the comments below!


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