Tuesday, February 14, 2012

from broken, abandoned crayons to heart-shaped crayon valentines

I wonder if I'll ever get this blogging thing down.  I fully intended to post this days ago...

Having small kids, I always find broken, abandoned, sad little crayon pieces on the floor.  A while ago, I started collecting them all in one spot. 

I know that making new crayons out of broken ones is no where close to a new idea, but my daughter had so much fun making these Valentines for her friends that I just had to share our take on it.

Chopping up crayons is harder than it looks.  I used my biggest knife and worked in small batches.  Actually, peeling off the paper was the hardest part.  My 4 year-old did most of that tedious work, though.

After a while, I had a beautiful pile of chopped up crayons.

I never like spending much (or ANY) money on DIY projects, so I didn't want to spend money (or time finding one) on a silicon or metal heart-shaped pan.  I had some heart-shaped cookie cutters and a SILPAT, so I figured that might work.  

Um, no.

Lots of oozing wax. Easy to clean up, though!  The only reason that I tried that method is because I had tried it before with a cheap plastic-trying-to-look-like-silicon ice cube tray from Target's dollar section, and the tray melted.  But, I still figured out a way to use what I already had!  A water bath!  It works for bread pudding and custard, so I figured it was worth a try.

The tray did not melt.  Success! It did take a long time in the oven (maybe half an hour?), though, since I kept it at 250.  I was still afraid of melting the plastic.  I know that I could have just melted the wax in a pot and poured it in the molds, but my daughter loves how crayons made this way change color as she draws with them, so I opted to bake them.

The tops melt together into a deep purple with a few pops of color, but the bottoms are colorfully speckled.

After letting the tray cool in the freezer for a little bit, they pop right out.  If you leave them in the freezer too long, they can crack if messed with, so letting them warm back up to room temperature is a good idea.

We thought it would be fun for the kids to have some Valentines to color with their new crayons, so I designed some on Picnik, which I was very sad to learn is closing soon or moving to Google+ or something.

The girl loves rainbows, and wants them incorporated into almost everything, so the front side was a no brainer.  I made two options.  The back side should give the kids lots of practice staying in the lines.  I like pop of color against the black and white.  We glued up three sides to make little pockets for the crayons, and slid them in.

Cute, easy, and free!

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