It’s another edition of SCK Tries where we try out a DIY tutorial or kit to see how it works in real life and whether we’d recommend you give it a go. This time I’m trying a snowman paper-band craft kit I bought in Daiso on my last trip to Japan.
The Original DIY
This was a bit of an impulse buy in Daiso as it had English instructions and I thought it might be fun. However, once I opened it, it looked very intimidating and I kept putting it off. Since I was spending the Christmas holidays alone this year, I figured it was time to try it.
Materials & Process
I couldn’t have told you what paper-band crafts was before and all you get in the kit is 2 rolls of paper bands. This is a thick flat ribbed tape made of paper. You split the tape into strands*, much like in embroidery and cross stitch, and use those to weave 3D shapes. That is all your need, along with glue (I definitely recommend a hot glue gun), scissors, ruler and pencil.
I found the instructions quite easy to follow but you do need to triple check your measurements before cutting as there’s only enough for the project. You start with a flat star shape of full width pieces and then weave around with two 1-thread strips, curving the shape as you work. I found this really difficult to begin with but got the hang of it eventually. It’s basically basket weaving and I remember doing something similar at school with raffia.
Once you’ve made the body, you repeat the process with the smaller (and trickier!) head and then make a hat and face with black tape. The hat was really difficult as you have to keep changing direction, to make the top, sides and brim.
* TIP: There’s a special tool you can buy for splitting the tape (of course there is!) but it also suggests a strong thin piece of card will work. I ended up using an expired credit card which worked well but the tape did totally trash the edges so definitely use an old one!
The End Result
Here’s my snowman! I think he turned out really cute, though there is a lot of visible hot glue, especially on the hat. I think you would get very frustrated using normal glue as everything really wants to spring apart at all times. I had to take regular breaks as my hands would cramp up from holding everything together.
The one thing that definitely didn’t work was making the face and mittens as instructed. Cutting small rounded shapes from a material that is designed to split apart was horrible so I used felt instead – and a mini pom pom for the nose. This looks so much cuter as you can use more colours. My head was also a bit of a wonky fit to the body so I added a scarf to hide that!
I’m not sure I would recommend paper-band crafts as it’s complicated, messy and time-consuming. It was quite satisfying seeing the shapes build up though and I do love my snowman. If I saw a really cute kit I might try it again. If you already enjoy more traditional weaving crafts and would like to try a kawaii version, I’m sure this would be easier.
This is an older kit so hard to find online now but there are a few others from the same series on Ebay. If you have a Daiso store nearby, they might have new ones too. Amazon Japan also has a big range of supplies, books and kits for making bags, accessories and storage items including Sumikko Gurashi!
Have you ever tried paper-band crafts or basket weaving? What do you think?
Marceline is the co-founder and editor of Super Cute Kawaii and author of The Super Cute Book of Kawaii. She also designs cute character goods as Asking For Trouble. Having visited Japan five times, Marceline is enormously inspired by all things Japanese and especially loves bunnies, space and any kind of food object with a happy face.