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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Heart Shaped Crayon Valentines

You know the story. Kids + crayons = box full of broken crayons. Remelting crayons has been a favorite project since I was in Girl Scouts as a kid. Its easy, fun, and gives those old, broken crayons a new life! When trying to decide what to do for Charlie's class Valentine's, I remembered this project and thought I'd give it a go!

At first, I was going to do this with Charlie as a fun afternoon project, but realized that it may not be a good idea to essentially teach him to peel and snap crayons. So, after he and Ginny went to bed, Jeff and I sat and peeled our little box of old crayons. They were in better shape than I thought they'd be, but if you look closely, one of them was held together with a band aid.

A crayon gets a boo boo, so logically it needs a band aid. I love toddler logic.

We didn't keep track of how many we were peeling, so I can't give that number. Just peel a bunch. In other news, this empty Similac can served as an excellent trash can for all our paper scraps while we watched Wreck It Ralph and peeled.

For the mold, I used individual heart shaped silicone muffin cups. You can use a silicone tray of pretty much any shape, but it has to be oven proof silicone so you can pop the crayons out easily. I can't imagine how hard this would be with a metal tray. I got these muffin cups at Michael's for $5 (after a 50% off coupon).

I snapped any whole crayons into 2-3 smaller pieces and loosely sorted them by color. I wanted to be able to keep the number of bright colors even or greater than the darker colors. Place the muffin cups or tray on a cookie sheet for easy transport to and from the oven. Fill the cups with pieces evenly, but it doesn't need to be perfect.

Next, pop the tray in the oven at 275* for 8-10 minutes or until the crayons are completely melted. Carefully pull them out, trying not to swirl the wax up onto the sides of the molds. If you want more color swirls, mix the wax a bit with a tooth pick.

As the wax is initially cooling, take a tooth pick and pop any air bubbles that come to the surface. Try to do this quickly because the middle sets fairly quickly. Air bubbles can make the back (the side you can see) rough and kind of ugly.

Put the tray in the freezer for 15-20 minutes or until the crayons are completely set. Peel back the mold and pop out the crayon. These came out super, super easy - I was actually shocked. Some wax will remain on the sides of the mold, but that comes off with some soap and hot water.

Here are the finished products! From start to finish this project took about 45 minutes, including time to peel the crayons. I actually love the crimped sides; they remind me of Reese's PB cups. Perfect for Valentine's Day! These chunky crayons are great for little hands and color in random, fun patterns. I highly recommend this easy, fast project for rainy days or when you need little gifts or party favors.

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