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We were actually given our Super Badge It machine for free, complete with two partially full packs of the refill badges. We assumed this was some cheap gimmicky gadget as we'd been given it for nothing and it looked quite cheap and plasticky, so imagine our surprise to find it was actually a rather expensive and effective machine?
If you're looking to buy this machine, it retails for around £30, and you can expect to pay about £10 for a 25 badge refill pack too. So we basically just got given a £50 toy then. Our machine is pink (beggars can't be choosers) and this is also available in blue as pictured above by Dooyoo. Mostly this is now only available as ex-stock and ebay items because it's been discontinued, and I think that's a real shame because this really is very good.
To use the machine, you just follow the instructions to load up your badge plates into the machine. These will help you to make a circular or rectangular badge in one of two sizes, depending on which set of plates you decide to use. Loading the plates up isn't easy at first, but as soon as you understand what the instructions are telling you to do - you're away in a minute or two. The instructions are such that an adult needs to explain what needs to be done, but then a young child of five or six could thereafter operate this machine and even change the plates I'm sure.
Making badges is really easy. Just cut out a badge from the pictures included, or use the template to mark out one of your own on blank paper or from a magazine then cut it out. The badge is made up of two metal pieces per badge, plus a plastic seal and the picture. When finished, there's a little safety pin mounted onto a small white plastic circle which just pops easily into the back of the finished badge. Again, you need to read the instructions carefully to figure out how to put all of these pieces together, but once you know what you're doing, this is easy stuff and a young child could manage it.
The end results are really good and I was very impressed, as was the grandson and his friend. The badges seal in quite neatly which I find amazing considering how little strength is required to operate these machines - yet they bend metal so smoothly! The clear plastic seal on the front of the badges goes on smoothly to give the badges a professional looking finish as well. For a machine which looks so cheap and tacky - it sure can produce good quality toys. Highly recommended if you can track it down - just a shame that the refills are so expensive.
I love a bargain, so when I saw the Bandai Super Badge making machine for half price I decided that I would pick up 2. I gave one away for a present and have kept the other hidden away for over a year, with it being the summer holidays I decided that it was time to break open the box and try the machine out.
Imagine the scene, I go and visit a friend and her 5 year old daughter with my boys aged 3 and 5, the weather is a lot overcast so we are stuck to inside activities. I pull out the badge making machine and we decide to make a badge without the children so we know what we are doing when they want to join in.
Price and availability
Ours was bought from Tesco at £10, however they are generally available for around £20 in places like Argos, Toys R Us and Amazon. Do check around for the best price. I have a machine that is made of blue and white plastic that seems to be an old model, the newer models are purple and see through so you can see the inner parts working. The purple colour would put me off buying one as my boys wouldn't really want something so girly looking, however the older model we have is very unisex!
What do you get for your money?
When unpacking the box you realise that the machine isn't as big as you first thought, there is quite a bit of cardboard keeping everything in place. The machine stands about 20-25cms high and is smaller in size than a standard diner plate.
With this machine you get 3 different attachments that clip into a drawer in the bottom of the machine. 1 attachment for each different size/shape of badge in different colours. White for the small round badges, blue for the big round badges and purple for the rectangle badges, each of these is in it's own plastic bag with a template included (each attachment has 2 different sides, one for the front of the badge, one for the back of the badge and a magnet attachment which is separate). Then of course are the bits for the badges.
We found lots of little bags of different sized metal badge fronts and backs, plastic seals and safety pins on plastic backs to finish the badges off. There is also a sheet of designs which you need to cut round to make your first batch of badges. After that you can use the templates provided to make your own badges out of photo's or pictures that you have made yourself.
Ours had a bonus pack which had extra badges, probably enough for around 30 badges in total.
How well does it work?
At first you have to read the instructions to get all the right pieces in the right order to make the badge, however after you have made a couple you really get the hang of it and it becomes really easy. I don't think I would forget how to use it, but it's always handy to have instructions. Initially it seems quite difficult, but if you just go with it eventually you get the hang, it's definitely worth doing the first badge without help from children so you can work out what you are doing and avoid disappointment if you don't get it right the first time.
The instructions tell you to push the drawer of the machine until it clicks, however the click is so slight that at first myself and my friend pushed too hard and it didn't seem to be working properly as it was pushed through too far and the magnet wasn't lined up to pick up the badge. However, once we worked out that it had indeed been designed so that a 6 year old could work it (i.e. a very gentle push) we were well away.
Basically you put the attachment into the drawer (drawer 1) with the magnet attachment on top, you push the drawer in, turn the screw top of the machine down until it clicks and then back the other way (your magnet should now be picked up inside of the machine), then you open the drawer again (drawer 1), next you put your badge front into the machine (it will sit flush inside the attachment) and then your paper design and if you choose the plastic seal on top. You then push the drawer back inside and screw the top of the machine down until it clicks again, and then back up the other way. Lastly, you turn the machine around to see the second part of the attachment in the machine and put the badge back into the attachment (drawer 2), then you push the drawer back in, screw down until it clicks and then up again, when you open the drawer again (drawer 2) you should find your almost finished badge inside. The finishing touch is to push the plastic tab of the pin attachment into the hole in the back of the badge and then you can wear it!
To get the magnet attachment out you push on the purple button just below the screw top and it will drop out.
We did find that the results seem to vary from badge to badge, with no real reason as to why it works brilliantly sometimes and fails the next. However I have found that using too thick paper means that the badge does not bind together properly.
The finished product
The finished badges were mostly of good quality, the children were all very happy with what they had made and the grown up's also. In fact my 5 year old was so proud of one of his badges he was showing it to someone who though it was a badge he had bought as it was of such good quality!
Would you recommend this product?
Yes I would, but only if you find it with a bonus pack for making more badges. The badges can be made very quickly and once you get into it you don't realise how many you are making, so you definitely need a good stash of materials for when you start.
You can buy refill packs, however these range from around £7 to £15 depending on how many badges you get and where you buy them from, mostly I have found refill packs online so you have to add p+p to those prices, so it's not cheap!
However, as a rainy day activity to keep the kids busy for a half hour this is a great purchase, especially if you find it on half price offer somewhere! Although the machine says that it's suitable for children over 6 years old, there is no reason why a younger child could not enjoy using this machine, so long as they were supervised by an adult. And as with any badges that have pins, care should be taken by people of any age when attaching to clothes to avoid injury. My 3 year old was able to make his own badge with only a small amount of help, that was mostly making sure that the screw top was all the way down as it does get more stiff the closer you get to the bottom.
I would also suggest that if you know any adults who like craft things this may be a good gift for them too. I can see me using this for future craft projects, scrap booking pages would look great finished off with a badge or two!
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