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Foamies: Good clean fun except for the mess and injuries

Submitted by on Sunday, 30 November 2008 3 Comments
I took a wrong turn in Michaels this afternoon and wound up with third-degree burns.

I'd meant to head toward cake sprinkles but instead smacked into a Foamie display taking up two-thirds of an aisle. You'd think a retailer kid-savvy enough to lay a parent trap that big would let a mom struggling with eight pounds of sea salt and two kids take her shopping cart into the parking lot. But that's another rant.

I'd made the mistake of promising the guys we'd get one project for them.

"Oooh! Let's get the Foamie gingerbread house! The big one!" he said, pointing to a foot-long-by-foot-high model. Luckily, those were out of stock, so we wound up with a small snow castle. He declared it "too girl" and wanted blue glitter glue to counteract the pink.

The worst thing about Foamies is you forget how bad they are between projects, much in the way that the memories of labor dull between babies. For a few brief minutes, I looked forward to making the little castle.

That ended when we got home and I took it out of the box. It was the worst project ever.

Word of warning: That "ages 3 and up" label on the box? Start at what you consider "up" and then add 10 years. Foamies are definitely not child's play.

Oh, and when the instructions say "might need glue," figure on definitely needing glue, plus possibly an industrial epoxy and maybe a nail gun.

I knew the simple "snap together sides, insert in base" directions were a joke, but in this case even the base had to be glued together. So did the three castle walls -- yes, three. I think that violates California's seismic building codes.

No major pain, though, until I got to the sparkly turrets. I tried Elmer's Glue, which merely made them too slick for the Tacky Glue to work. I was forced to bring out the glue gun. Not the low-temperature model the project recommends, because I'm far too impatient for that.

As I waited for my hot-glue Howitzer to heat, the guys began getting restless. "When do we get to do something?" Big Guy asked. "Soon," I said. That turned out to be a lie by about a half hour.

Hot-gluing Foamies always is a battle at best. This was an all-out war with the flat sheets that were to form the turrets.

They refused to stick through two careful rounds of Howitzer glue. The third time, frustrated way past caution, I squeezed enough glue to resole a platoon of combat boots. The blisters all over my left hand tell me that might have been a little much. At least the turrets stuck.

Ay, but then they had to be glued to the base (more blisters) and to the castle (more blisters plus a words I usually don't say in front of the guys).

Finally, though, my work was finished. "Do we have to make it like the package," Big Guy asked. "Of course not," I replied.

It was the start of a half hour of relative peace for me, except for when Boots started sticking red and yellow Foamies onto the castle, which, judging by the shrieks, must have conflicted with Big Guy's "not according to directions" artistic vision. A Foamie snowman left from last year redirected Boots and resolved the creative differences.

The final result: Glue all over the table and hands, Foamie backing all over the floor and a not-too-girly castle that Big Guy adores enough that he wants to display it in his room. You know, the one he never sleeps in? And sometime around Valentine's Day, he'll cry when it finally gives way to too much rough housing.

And we'll be back at Michaels, standing in front of the aisle-blocking Foamie display and selecting a new way to injure Mom.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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3 Comments »

  • MtnMom said:

    Goodness gracious sakes alive! You are one dedicated Mom! Try Legos (Duplos for younger ones)! They require no paint, glue, and only injure if you step on them. (My feet are scared from many years of Duplos lying about the house.)

    Michael’s is way too fun! My teen and I cannot walk through those doors unless there is an entire afternoon to kill. Amazing place and there are many “wrong turns” to be made, especially for those of us a bit on the ADHD side. Walk in for glue, come out with beads, florals, doll clothes, frames, the list goes on, and on, and on…!

  • Sarah said:

    Hi…

    I just had a run-in with Foamies too and wrote about it on my blog. Your description of the process is dead on! And I wasn’t even doing it with kids…and I was getting paid to make it. Yikes.

  • Debra said:

    Oh my gosh, Sarah! That’s the gingerbread project they were out of at my Michaels. And after reading your post, I’m oh so glad they were!

    I tried to sell the guys on the nativity scene, too, but it was a non-starter. Same with the snowman/Christmas tree set.

    I can’t even imagine having to put together a Foamie that people outside the family would actually see. Two years at it and I still haven’t mastered Foamie building. Something tells me I never will!

    MtnMom, we do Duplos too! And you’re right about the damage to arches. Honestly, I’ve raised swollen knots on my feet. Legos are even worse, though — smaller and sharper. :)