Ask: Cheap Tangles

An anon asks:

hi!! do you know where you can get cheap (under 10#) smooth tangles (no textures/bumps) ???

As a general note for folks asking me this sort of thing: I need you to tell me where you’re located! I can’t provide more than a general answer, otherwise. In addition, I’m Australian, not American, so while Tumblr does lean often towards US-based resources and vendors, I won’t have the same on-the-ground experience as an American stimmer does.

It also helps to mention if you’re after offline or online vendors, and if your budget includes or excludes shipping costs.

As an example for why location matters, I’d say that the best place to get cheap (Zuru) Tangle Jr Classics would be K-Mart at $4 AUD, but this isn’t useful if you’re not based in Australia. Likewise, if I say Amazon has a set of three for $7.95 USD, that’s unhelpful for folks based in Australia, as we can’t (easily) purchase items from the global marketplace. If you’re not in Europe or the UK, this listing at Tink n’ Stink for £3.25 GBP isn’t as useful to you, either…

For smooth/non-textured Tangles, anon, you’ll be wanting to look at the Classics and Metallics by Tangle Creations and the Classics, Metallics and Wilds from Zuru. All of these Tangles are smooth and untextured. Most stores that stock Tangle Jrs will have smooth ones–sometimes stock levels change, depending on how the stores sell their stock, but the way Zuru batch their Tangles means that the Classics/Textured and Metallics/Sparkles come together, so it’s rare to find a textured Tangle Jr without an untextured one on the shelf as well. A Tangle Jr Classic is the easiest Tangle to find, in my experience.

Here in Australia, offline resources include K-Mart, Toyworld, Australian Geographic and Kidstuff. (My K-Mart stores have fluctuating stock, in that they sell out quickly and will be off the shelves for a little while until they get a new batch, so you need to check regularly and often.) In the US, I believe Tangles have been seen at Walmart and Target, along with several specialty toy stores. In the UK, toy store The Entertainer stocks them.

For knock-offs, consider Wish, Aliexpress or eBay. These will be much cheaper than branded Tangles but you very often get what you pay for–quality varies widely. It’s been a while since I’ve bought a knock-off Tangle: the most recent one I bought was this translucent version, and while I think it’s exceptionally pretty, it was so stiff, like most knock-offs, that I had to lubricate it before using. Once lubricated, though, it was one of the better fakes I’ve ever had–but that’s no guarantee yours will be the same. So do know that when you buy knock-offs, it’s a bit of a gamble in terms of how well you like what you get. I’ve some I love and some I can’t bear using.

(If you do go the knock-off route, check out my Tangle Mods and Care Guide for how to improve these Tangles.)

Lastly, check out the #tangle tag if none of the above works for you–I do tag everything to make it easier for people to search for information about toys.

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on August 08, 2018.

Review: Mango Squishy, eBay

A photo of an orange mango squishy sitting on a red watermelon slice pillow. The squishy is shaped like a mango with a brown stem and a two-tone light-orange to dark orange gradient effect, splattered with fine white paint-speckle dots. It’s covered with a shiny slightly-opalescent paint that reflects the camera’s flash.

Price: $3.41 USD *

Dimensions: 17 cm x 11 cm x 7 cm (approx).

This was another birthday present from a friend of mine, @ambiguouspieces! I have to say that while I don’t love mangoes in real life, I adore this squishy. It’s so big! It completely overflows one hand when holding it and fits easily in both hands. If you want something that allows you to squish down on it with both hands being comfortably full of squishy, this. The smooth, rounded planes of the mango also fit very nicely in the cupped hand.

I’ve come to really like it’s plainness. There’s no added texture here, no fancy colours, just a subtle opalescent finish, a curved shape and lots of bright orange. It’s one of the slowest-rising squishies I own, although the lack of decoration does make this aspect less interesting than on other squishies.

Folks should note that this squishy is scented and does leave some scent on my hands, but–uncommonly for squishies–it’s a fruity, fairly non-chemical-type smell. Almost like peach, one of my favourite scents. It won’t work for anyone who can’t abide artificial scents, but I almost don’t mind it.

Some squishies are great because they have added texture for stroking or have visual stim utility, but for simple squishing, this has become my new favourite. I can’t quite explain just how good this feels in the hand, so I’ll just say it’s on my chest of drawers with all my other favourite stim toys, easily grabbed from desk or bed. For a simple squishy, I really do recommend it.

* Note: because this was a present, I have no way of knowing the actual seller or the price paid for it, so I’m finding a listing that’s as close to what I have as possible.

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on September 6, 2018.

Review: Duck Cake Squishy, eBay

A yellow duck-cake squishy sitting on a red watermelon slice pillow. The squishy is shaped like a squarish cake bun with bright yellow icing, small stubby yellow arms and two orange dots for feet. It has brown dot eyes above a rounded orange rectangle for a beak, resulting in a very stylised duck–how a duck might look were it a cake. A black phone charm strap is attached to a plastic eye pin at the top of the squishy.

Price: From $1.19 USD *

Dimensions: 5.5 x 6 x 2 cm

Another one of my birthday squishies is this cute little duck bun/cake. It has a flat back with texturing designed to mimic the rougher surface of a cake or bread, spray-painted orange with some white paint showing.

This is the second one I’ve had, and there is some variation in the brightness of the yellow/orange colouring and the softness of the squishy. This particular one is the softest squishy I’ve ever had–it’s so foamy and light! Like shaving cream were it made into a squishy, somehow! The first one was much denser and duller in colouring, though, so I think it might be a bit of luck depending on what you get. As with all off-brand squishies, there’s a fair bit of quality variation.

Both of mine were scented, but not too strongly, with a sweet bread-like smell.

If you’re willing to take the risk, I really do recommend this. It’s so soft, cute and sized well as a bag charm.

* Both of mine have been gifts, so I can’t recommend a specific seller.

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on September 9, 2018.

Review: Pineapple Squishy, eBay

A photo of a pearlescent pineapple squishy sitting on a red watermelon slice pillow. The squishy has a yellow oval-shaped base with a raised diamond-scale pattern to mimic the texture of a real pineapple, finishing with a stem composed of small protruding leaves. The leaves are bright green covered with a pearly green paint, the fruit bright yellow covered with a pearly yellow paint. A few bubbles in the foam are visible under the paint layers.

Price: $2.99 USD *

Dimensions: 12.5 x 7.5 cm

Please note that you’ll need to select option F from the drop-down menu.

This squishy looks like it should be a jumbo squishy, but it isn’t: it tucks neatly into my palm, easily cupped in my hand. It’s closer to the standard red apple squishy in total size over the jumbo strawberries or peaches.

When I first opened this, it smelt so chemically I couldn’t bear it–a strong, bitter chemical-plastic-petrol smell. It’s been airing in the sunroom for nearly a month, and while it’s still more scented than I like, it now only smells sweet and slightly bread-like. Something like a fruit pastry, I suppose!

It’s very textured and fantastic for stroking because of the deep grooves in the diamond scale pattern. Even just rolling it in my hands provides a lot of texture! The leaves at the stem have a variety of sizes for additional stroking. It’s very soft and quite slow-rising for a smaller squishy, and the pearly paint finish makes it far more interesting to watch–the pearly and metallic squishies tend to catch and reflect the light while they rise, giving them even more of a visual stim element.

My only concern, outside the smell, is that there’s a lot of large bubbles and indents in the foam where it didn’t fill the mould, and I suspect this will be quicker than usual to tear because of the stress on these imperfections when squished down. I truly don’t think this squishy will last all that long under regular use, but if you don’t mind that, the texture is amazing. Only my giant ice-cream cone has anything approaching this for stroking!

* This squishy was another gift, so this listing is merely a stockist, not a recommended vendor.

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on September 28, 2018.