Teachers Joanne C. da Luz and Justin Warren came up with a fun twist on Lab Gear multiplication. They work at the Life Learning Academy, a San Francisco Unified charter school on Treasure Island. They describe their project in a PDF entitled "Algebra and Art". The idea is to combine the idea of the area model for multiplication with the concept of mixing colors. Presumably, if (say) x is red and y is blue, then xy is purple. The PDF includes clear learning goals, assignments, rubrics, etc. Check it out!
PS: From the project's history: "I have used Lab Gear during every year of LLA's existence. Most of our students arrive to the Life Learning Academy without a successful career in mathematics. The Lab Gear provides students with a fresh start and an opportunity to become 'hands-on' learners."