Let me assure you that I would not be posting a review of these books if I didn't love them. There were no strings attached when Amanda gave them to me; I'm reviewing them because they are great and I think many of you will love them too.
Trevor and I sat down with a stack of post-it notes and started marking the projects we wanted to try. He marked so many that he had to go get another stack of post-it notes! Both books have a wide variety of projects, suitable for both boys and girls of a wide range of ages. Some of the crafts are classics but there were an impressive number I'd never seen before (which is saying a lot, given my jobs past and present). We couldn't wait to dive in and try the crafts.
We invited Trevor's godmother, Jonna, to join us for a day of creative play. We had so much fun! Amanda's books are well-written, have clear instructions, and feature beautiful photography. There are all sorts of fun facts and tips sprinkled throughout. As we worked, I had Trevor read the directions and explain them to us to make sure that the books were as child-friendly as they seemed. No problem - the writing and pictures made the steps very easy for Trevor to understand.
All of us agreed that our favorite craft was Glitter Art from Rubber Band Mania. Check out what we made. Here is Trevor's pumpkin (labeled later with Wikki Stix, one of his latest favorite crafting materials):
Jonna made a Christmas tree.
I started with a candy cane....
.... then made this gumball machine. I'm ridiculously proud of it.
To make your own Glitter Art, you need an assortment of rubber bands, cardstock or construction paper for the background, craft glue, glitter or glitter glue, and cotton swabs. You might also want pens to create background elements.
Start by laying out the rubber bands to make a design. (If you want a background design, like with my gumball machine, draw and color it first.) Then lift each rubber band one at a time, add craft glue to it, and gently press it back into place. Set it aside to dry for at least 20 minutes.
Amanda's next step is to fill the rubber bands with glue and add glitter, tapping out any excess between colors. We simplified this step by filling in each rubber band with Stickles. Easier and much less mess! Let the Stickles dry for a really long time, like overnight. Let's just say that checking to see if they're dry 3 hours later isn't the best idea.
This is just one of several crafts that we tried from these two excellent books. It was all great fun. Thanks again to Amanda! I can already see many more hours of crafting fun inspired by these books. You can buy Rubber Band Mania and Duct Tape Mania on Amazon (affiliate links below) or in stores like Walmart or Target. These would make an excellent Christmas gift for the young crafter on your list.