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Girls Software Reviews

Super Jewelry Kit
from PrintPaks

For Ages 7 to 13

See the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Girls software titles, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.

Reviewed on:
PrintPaks Super Jewelry Kit Screen Shot PowerMac 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
Pentium166 with 24MB and 12XCD

"Make-it" craft kits, the type that contain all the supplies and directions needed to create personalized toys, plates--or practically anything that can be imagined--have long been a popular favorite among young girls. This clever software program is one of a number of "multimedia" kits from PrintPaks that adds the computer as a tool to help the child create just such tangible finished products. Super Jewelry Kit combines an animated paint-program with special printer paper and accessories to allow the user to create "super" jewelry.

The first step in the jewelry-design process is creating pictures on the computer that can later be printed on special, shrinkable paper. The program leads the user step-by-step through this process, with simple text, easy to use toolbars, and, if desired, narrated instructions from the adorable pooch, Max. This is really the most fun and most creative part of the jewelry-making. The child first chooses what type of jewelry she will attempt (necklace, bracelet, pin, earrings), then picks one of the integral pieces to decorate. She can use pre-fabricated templates, backgrounds, stamps, etc., or decorate the pieces freehand with the paintbrush tool.

Once the design-portion of the project has been completed, the more difficult part begins. Again, Super Jewelry Kit does an admirable job of leading the user through the printing of the 'jewels' and not only provides printable instructions for shrinking them in the oven, but also includes a video demonstration of the baking process.

Finally the child applies a waterproof coating to her original creations, and turns them into wearable works of art using the jewelry findings (earring clips, studs and hooks, jump rings, bar pins and cording) that are included in the package.

A special feature allows the user to import photos on disk or CD, or connect directly to a digital camera or scanner. Photos can be added to jewelry creations and manipulated with the program's paint tools and stamps.

Educational Value
Although Super Jewelry Kit is not terribly educational, it does encourage girls to spend creative time interacting with the computer, and experience the pride of fashioning something that is uniquely their own.

Kid Appeal
This craft package has great appeal for the artistic young girl, especially one who enjoys jewelry making. Although our child reviewers experienced some set-backs due to smudged colors and curled products, they were eager to try again. . .and again.

Ease of Install / Use
In this case, software installation and use are simple and straightforward. Super Jewelry Kit itself is simple, straightforward and includes plenty of detailed instruction. SuperKids' kid testers breezed through this portion of the kit with little or no parental help and supervision.

Unfortunately, however, the printing and shrinking process was not so easily completed. Children found it difficult to avoid touching the printed surface of the shrinkable paper as they cut out their designs, and smeared much of their precious artwork. Pieces didn't shrink uniformly and were not nearly as bright and pretty in their shrunken state as they had originally been. Surprisingly, parents and kids were not overly disappointed by these difficulties. "These craft kits always take a little practice," stated one 9 year-old. "I'll do better next time."

As with any crafts kit that uses special materials, buyers wonder about the accessibility of refills. PrintPaks offers 'Supplies Paks' that can be purchased via their ordering hotline, their website, or at local software retailers.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
This kit is a good bet for the craft enthusiast. Younger children can spend many hours of unaided playtime creating original designs, but will require adult supervision for printing, baking and attaching hardware.

Education 3.8/5.0 Kid Appeal 4.8/5.0 Ease of Use 4.0/5.0
5=Excellent, 4=Good, 3=OK, 2=Weak

See the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Girls software titles, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.

Children's Software System Requirements


Operating System Windows 95 System 7.1 or better
CPU Type and Speed Intel or compatible 486 or better 68040 or Power Mac
Hard Drive Space 10 MB 10 MB
Memory (RAM) 8 MB (16 MB recommended) 8 MB (16 MB recommended)
Graphics 256 color display 256 color display
CD-ROM Speed 2x speed or better 2x speed or better
Audio 8-bit sound card n/a
Other Needs color or monochrome inkjet printer color or monochrome inkjet printer

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