Sunday, February 7, 2010

Making Crayons (or How I spent my Superbowl Sunday)

The Princess seems to have accumulated THOUSANDS of crayons and a good portion of those are broken. So today, after getting sick of looking at them, I decided we would melt them down and make new mega crayons.

Now I only used what I had on hand, so this really wasn't the most efficient process, but it did use up a LOT of crayons, so I am pretty happy with the result.

First thing we did was gather up the crayons and lined a couple of pyrex bowls with tin foil. It would have been much easier to just use aluminum muffin tin liners, but I didn't have any on hand.

Next step: Peel all the crayons, break them into little pieces and sort them by color. This is the last step the Princess could really be involved. The rest was not 4 year old friendly. I collected all the bowls in a cake pan and placed it in the oven at 350 degrees.

It took longer than I thought it would, and the cheap freebie giveaway crayons we got from restaurants took a LOT longer than the nice Crayola ones, but eventually they all melted. Some of the how-to guides I read about making homemade crayons said to just leave them in the muffin tins (which I wasn't using) and make circles. I figured my wobbly foil lined dishes would make some ugly crayons so I didn't want to just let them cool.

I had also seen others recommend using plastic chocolate molds. But once again, I didn't have any chocolate molds, and although it would have been much nicer to have shapes that were actually fun for the Princess, I had to use what I had on hand. This was supposed to be an economical project. Spending $5 on a mold to save 36 cents worth of crayons seemed idiotic. So time to get creative. All I had was an Aluminum Christmas cookie mold (Angels, Toy Soliders and Hobby Horses. Sweet!) That is what we used.

I poured the hot wax into the molds and let it set at room temperature before placing the whole sha-bang in the freezer. The wax contracted and popped right out.. and VIOLA:

I think they came out darn cute if I do say so myself. And it only cost me one pair of jeans and a potholder (on which I dripped hot wax) and a couple of burnt fingertips.

The princess had to test them out of course, and they do in fact write on paper. (Phew!) And my favorite part: There are a lot less broken crayons floating around my house. Now we only have seven large ones. SCORE!