Making Crayons, and a Freebie

Hello from Maine!

The hubby and I are vacationing for the next couple of weeks. We've been in Maine for the past couple of days, and head up to Prince Edward Island in Canada for the next 10 or so to visit family. Both Maine and PEI are so beautiful and relaxing, which is perfect for the last leg of mental recharging I need for the back-to-school rush when I return! I've also been able to do some pleasure reading, in addition to my piles of school-related reading; book 1 of The Hunger Games was devoured over the past two days, which leaves the second and third books of that series, as well as The Fault in Our Stars for the rest of the trip!

Before departing home, I worked on my welcome gift for my students. Last year I did a bag filled with all kinds of goodies, but this year, I think I'm going to keep the welcome gift simple, and devote those goodies (i.e., pencils, erasers, bookmarks, etc.) to Birthday Bags. While poking around in my room one day, I came across what used to be the bane of my teacher existence: old, broken crayons. But looking at them this time, I instead thought: new crayons!

So I bagged up the old, broken crayons and brought them home. I also found a silicone mold for heart-shaped ice cubes. Here's how they became new again.

First, I peeled off any remaining wrappers. This is much quicker if you start by slicing the paper with a knife. You'll also want to think about what color combinations you would like. My crayon selection included mostly primary colors, so I grouped my crayons into warm and cool colors.

Next, get chopping! My crayons were mostly the larger variety, and I chopped them into pieces about 1/4-1/3" long. I am crazy, so I kept my color ratios roughly equivalent.

The rest is fairly loose in terms of "rules." I read directions that ranged from 150°-250° for oven temperature, but for the brand and size of my crayon mixture, 250° was about right. I piled my crayon bits about equal to the height of my molds, knowing that the resulting crayons would be about 1/2" thick.

I recommend a foil-lined baking sheet for the baking part. The silicone trays are flimsy, and you never know about overflow. Then pop your tray in the oven and wait it out! Mine took about 18 minutes to melt (I usually pulled them out just as the last crayon chunks were finishing melting), but I read shorter times in my research too. I think it just depends on your crayon brand and oven.

Cool on your countertop for about 10 minutes, and then move to the freezer once they're no longer sloshy. Leave until hardened, another 10-15 minutes. I found my crayons came out most easily when the silicone tray was allowed to come back to room temperature after its stint in the freezer.

Now for the fun part! I'm planning on making little baggies with two crayons in them (one warm color, one cool color) to give as my welcome gifts. I'll fold these tags in half across the top of the baggie, staple, and voila! Cute, practical (and free!) gifts. Get your tags by clicking the picture, and enjoy!


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