Arts and crafts in 1992

In the olden days, kids used to have things called ‘hobbies’.

A ‘hobby’ is loosely defined as ‘an activity your parents order you to do because they’re sick of you running round yelling when they’re trying to watch Spender’.

If left to my own devices, my hobbies would have included the following:

  • picking my nose
  •  mixing all the shampoos in the bathroom together to make ‘magic potions’
  • forward rolls
  • saying ‘willies’ then laughing uncontrollably because this is hilarious

This wasn’t enough for my parents, who endlessly strived for excellence on my behalf. As such, I was bought various improving activities to do, despite the fact that my parents had met me.

Let’s have a look, courtesy of the 1992 Index catalogue my parents seemed to use as their own personal Harrods, at the various ways parents tried to shut their kids up for half an hour.

Fashion Wheel

fashion wheel

What Index said: “Create beautiful designs at the turn of a wheel. Mix and match each outfit, rub the outline through, colour it in and cut it out.”

Reality: Rub across the entire wheel with your orange crayon because you’ve lost all your other crayons, ending up with a design for an obese hi-vis vest. Still feel like Vivienne Westwood. Cut out hi-vis vest, become confused when it won’t magically attach itself to your Barbie and has to be sellotaped on. Barbie now looks like shit.

My god, I loved Fashion Wheel. My biggest regret is not buying the one I found in a charity shop last year. I didn’t buy it for two reasons: 1) it would have been covered in shit, piss and general DNA from strange kids, and 2) I’m in my 30s, what the hell am I going to do with a Fashion Wheel.

Fun fact: my autocomplete keeps trying to change it to ‘Fashionable Wheel’. I bet that exists somewhere in the world of cheap knock offs.

And speaking of cheap knock offs…

Definitely Not Etch A Sketch

not etch a sketch

What Index said: “Turn the knobs to create your own design and drawings. Turn over and shake to erase.”

Reality: Attempt to draw something. Fail. Attempt to draw something simpler. Fail. Attempt to draw a sodding line. Fail. Figure out how to sort of write a swear, then shake it before your mum comes back in the room. Spend the rest of the time attempting to cover the entire screen because there’s really nothing else to do with it.

“Magic Doodler”. The only magic part was them not getting sued.

Crayola Deluxe Art Case

z crayola deluxe art set

What Index said: “Sturdy carry case with name tag. Includes washable pens and paints, coloured pencils and crayons, sharpener, eraser, drawing pencil and paper.”

Reality: After your parents realise that you’re not going to do a recreation of The Last Supper because you’re 5, they confiscate your paints, because “this is a new carpet”. The felt tips will go into your pencil case, along with your other 600 felt tips. Meanwhile, the crayons will eventually be sharpened with the pencil sharpener, in an attempt to make really shit ‘glitter’ with the shavings.

However, I’m sure we can all agree that Crayola was up there with Molin and Berol for felt tip bragging rights. As such, a Crayola art set was an ace thing to have.

Magna Doodle

Magna doodle

What Index said: “The magnetic drawing toy. use the magnetic drawing pen and discs to create drawings, play games or write messages, then erase them like magic!”

Reality: Immediately lose all the stamping parts, before you even get it out of the box. Draw some shit then erase it like magic! Draw some more shit, then erase it like magic, only slightly less than last time. Draw some more shit, only now you can’t draw in that dented bit caused by dropping something on it, so avoid that part. Erase it like magic, but you can definitely still see the remains of that drawing from yesterday.

Etch A Sketch’s div cousin.

Spirograph

Spirograph

What Index said: “A fascinating way to draw over a million different designs. Fun and easy to use.”

Reality: Put a biro in the thing. Thing goes round and round and round and round. Brief period of “wow this is good”. Thing goes round and round and round and round. Entire page covered with circles. Pretty snazzy. Put different coloured biro (probably green) in the thing for a change. Thing goes round and round and round and round. Eventually all the paper you own is covered in circles. Feeling of accomplishment.

Parts will get lost at the rate of approximately one per hour, starting with the big hoop thing because it’s more use as a ‘magic prison thing’ in a game of He-Man.

Get Set! Colour Candles

get set colour candles

What Index said: “All you need to make great colour candles. Blended wax, dyes, mould, wick, modelling wax, mould-sealant and 32 page booklet full of bright ideas.”

Reality: Stare longingly at the picture in the catalogue. Do you really think I had any chance in hell of getting this?

Prima Fashion And Fun Modelling Clay

Prima

What Index said: “The brilliant modelling material that bakes hard in the oven. Complete with key rings, brooch backs and magnets to make all sorts of jewellery and gifts.”

Reality: Make a killing at bring ‘n’ buy sales for years to come, as guilty parents buy a load of squashed jewellery with fingerprints in it.

My older sisters had Fimo, so I’m well versed in seeing various disfigured brooches lying around, usually shaped like a fried eggs because they were easy to do. Another creation of choice was to arrange all the neon clays into an attractive, eye gouging pattern a la Saved By The Bell, then stick the pattern onto a lovely key ring.

Of course, if I got my hands on their stash, then the result was a load of lovely multicoloured sausages. They were less good as key rings.

8 thoughts on “Arts and crafts in 1992

  1. Loved my fashion wheel. Still have it in the attic. No idea why. If there’s an emergency fashion problem that only this wheel can solve I’m gonna be really smug.

    Also you missed out mentioning how the spirograph wheels would go round and round making a pretty pattern then something would slip and your art was fucked. Fuck those little wheels.

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  2. Girls had all the cool stuff. We boys had to make do with Play-Doh (top tip – whilst it’s edible DO NOT eat Play-Doh – it turns your poo a funny colour) or Plasticine (not edible, tastes like 3 week old chewing gum but doesn’t affect poo colour).

    My grandparents were set on me becoming an engineer so always bought me Meccano sets. The most adventurous thing I built was a metal box.

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  3. Etch a sketching swear words brought to mind a memory. I grew up in the 70s and had a game called Magpie which was really just Scrabble for juniors . Myself and a family friend, a worldly girl two years older than me would fill the board with all the filthy words we could think of. When we heard an adult entering the room one of us would throw the board up into the air and loudly shout things like “Now look what you have done!” “You have wrecked the game!” “Just because I was winning” and other such staged gripes. We found it hilarious anyway. PS I always thought Stirograph looked a thumping bore so never nagged my mother for it.

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  4. I once wrote into “Jim ‘ll Fix It” for a ‘Magic Doodler’ and to my surprise I was invited onto the show. I met Jim in his space chair that contained a million gold medals and the tears of a thousand children. Oh I got a ‘Magic Doodler’ alright, along with some psychological scars and a sore arse hole.

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  5. Those were the days. I had an etch-a-sketch it was a pile of shit. Well ok I was shit, unless you want a cracking rectangle.

    I was never allowed play-doh but was allowed the occasional pack of plastercine. Yes I got told “don’t get it on the carpet” what can I say I was shit at making stuff with that too. But I did like making marbled plastercine until I had to take it too far and it turned grey.

    Spirograph, now your talking I can make art gallery worthy pieces with this!

    Everything went well for the first few weeks. I had enough cracking art for a whole fucking exhibition!
    Skip forward a month, not only had we ran out of paper. The shitty pens that came with it wouldn’t work and I couldn’t get the hang of the weird oblong one, so I sometimes would come off the paper and get pen on the table… oopps. Just pop a coaster over that mate.

    That bloody candle set. I got that one year, weirdly my friend bought it for my birthday. I couldn’t believe it, it stayed in the box for months as my mum didn’t want to ruin her pans on my shit attempt at a candle.

    From what I remember you could make a ball shaped candle or a cock shaped pillar candle.

    To be honest the whole set smelt funny and I was sick of it being under my bed.

    So the day finally came and I was allowed to make a candle. It was boring, classic me style I had to mix in more than one colour. I ended up with a shit muddy green coloured slightly cock shaped candle. But wait for that bugger to set and we can be amazed at my fantastic creation once it’s lit!

    The legendary crayola art case. In all my wildest dreams I never thought I’d get bought that settee and carpet destroying compendium but I did.

    So I’ve already said I can’t draw. But I’m right up there with my colouring in!

    I carry this about like the high powered artist I am. This makes colouring those massive felt outlined pictures you got from the fair, complete with wait for it …3 shit pens an absolute piece of piss to colour in.

    P.s with the shit fair pens I would bite the top off to get the the coloured middle then get a glass of water to make “coloured” potions.

    Once I’d rinsed evey ounce of joy out of that case, I threw away the insert and had a briefcase to store my leaflets. Yeah that’s right my leaflets for when I played library’s.

    I think that’s all I can remember about the above toys.

    Thanks for reading.

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    1. Comment of the year right here 🙂 Also, do you remember ‘poster art tubes’? I wrote something about them a while back – I found one in a charity shop, and it came with – wait for it – SIX crayons. Jackpot.

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      1. Six crayons, you know the finished picture will be a belter with that selection.

        These are “grandma” gifts offering 5 minutes peace and quiet to the sender of said gift.

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