15 April 2011
My mom has a Tupperware container stuffed in the craft cupboard full of the remains of eight children's lifetime of crayon collection.
Eli has an insatiable desire to break things and rip things and melt things.
Put these two factors together, and we came up with the greatest kids craft! Homemade crayons!
While I love to craft myself, I am always looking for crafts that are not parent intensive, but instead kid friendly. Crafts that Eli can actually do, and that I don't have to take over from him. This is definitely one of them.
First of all, we dug through all the crayons and picked out any that weren't wrapped - the smaller the better. Then we started peeling off the wrappers of more crayons. Eli loved this, as he could pick and rip and peal to his hearts delight. Then we broke the pealed crayons into smaller pieces, again totally joyous for a three-year-old. While he snapped them in half, I cut them with some heavy duty kitchen scissors - much less fun, but way more efficient!
Then the boys filled three silicone ice cube trays (Ikea, $1.99!) with the crayon bits.
I wasn't worried about the usefulness of the finished product, so I wasn't worried about one colour going in each mold, but you could make all white, all yellow, all green, etc. crayons. I liked the way ours turned out just as well.
Then we put the ice cube trays onto a cookie sheet (just in case of spillage!) and put them in the oven for 20 minutes at 250 degrees. Running a hot blow drier over the back of the trays before trying to pop them out made removal much easier. Especially on the fish and star shapes, which kept breaking.
And voila! Crayons!
Cute, eh? And it only cost me the price of the ice cube trays - which I will be able to use again and again.
To be honest, they are cuter than they are functional. As they melted the pigment settled and the wax rose, so all the colour is on the top of each crayon, and it is pretty messy. I'm not sure how to remedy that in further experiments. Also, the fish and star molds broke really easily, because they had pretty narrow parts. The round flowers were fantastic though. I'd stick with round and more solid shapes if I did it again.
Despite the fact, this was tons of fun, and Eli is so pleased with his crayons. He's been colouring for two days straight, and I love it!