Friday, February 8, 2013

Crafting with Boys: Valentine's Crayon Craft

Oh, hello there! I always assume that you are reading this while sipping on a nice hot cup of coffee, while your children play peacefully in the other room....ha! Who am I kidding? Your coffee is probably warm-ish by now (because you had to clean up the cereal spilled by the 2-yr old and break up 4 fights about whose hot wheels belong to whom) and you are just trying to catch some "me" time for a few minutes to distract you from the 379 other things you still have to do today.

And, maybe, like me, you are a Pinterest addict, too. And maybe, just maybe, you get a little "sidetracked" once you get there.  The sight of all those cool crafts just waiting to be lovingly put together by your hands...And if you have boys, ahem, ONLY boys in your brood, then sometimes getting them interested in a craft takes some coercing (with glue and camo stuff)!

BUT, it can be done. For instance, I just tidied up one of craft stashes. Yes, one of many. Many a time I've had to rescue a wine cork from the trash and try to explain to my incredulous husband that I was going to make this incredible cork board with it.  Anyway, I do save recycling stuff  because I will use it in some crafty project someday. My craft stash was overflowing. And neglected. So I rescued a big bag of broken crayons and determined to start and finish a valentine crayon craft. I saw it on Pinterest last year after Valentine's day and thought it was just the thing my boys would love to do!

So, crafty (or wanna-be crafty) moms, gather together your broken (or used, whatever) crayons, and let's CRAFT!

Valentine's Crayon Craft

Time: 1 hour (including cooling!)
(Don't let the list fool ya. It's pretty simple)
  • Broken Crayons (any kind will do!)
  • Silicone chocolate molds or shaped ice trays (I got mine from IKEA)
  • Knife
  • "Chopper" to break up crayons
  • Heavy Duty Craft Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue (Hot glue or a tacky glue)
  • Marker (I used a fine point sharpie)
Preheat oven to 250° and pep talk yourself into a zen-like state. You'll need it, I don't care what they say about the "fun" of crafting with kids.

1. Peel the labels off the crayons. 

This is probably the most annoying part. It's best to slice a line down one side of the crayon while firmly holding it and trying to ward off your 2-yr old. Then hand it off to the professional "helpers" (eager boys) who will zealously tear the label off and beg for more than you possibly prep in this lifetime.  Okay, now that you have naked crayons, you can color code them (if you are type A, like me) or just throw caution to the wind and toss them all together in a big bowl and try to prevent your 2-yr old from tasting them.

2. Chop up the naked crayons.

This is the fun part. I used my Pampered Chef chopper (which has been put through worse abuse) and took my aggression out for about 10-12 good chops. You could even let the kids have a couple whacks at it! You could also use a knife, but I don't trust myself like that.  You want the pieces small enough so they fit into your mold (ours our pretty small). Since I color-coded, I put the crayons shards into muffin tins. Warning, try not to let the 2-yr old toss them all over the room like it's a crayon wedding or something. (Side note: to get crayon shavings off your wooden table, use a plastic scraper. Try not to be too upset about it, because it was probably the highlight of the 2-yr old's day)

3. Fill your molds with crayon pieces!

These should be oven-safe. We used IKEA ice trays like this. If you don't have an IKEA store near you, I feel bad for you, because we can seriously waste major time just running around there and it's fun. For real, if you don't have those cute little trays, you can buy the chocolate molds (silicone) from Michael's or Walmart or my other favorite place, Target. Fill them really full, kind of overflowing. Try different color combinations, throw some white in for a good contrast. Place all of your filled trays on a big cookie sheet (just so they are easier to handle) and then into the preheated oven.

Note - the "star" and "fish" trays were very hard to "pop" out. The small pieces broke off. I recommend only using the heart and flower so you won't cry once you've done all this work and you are supposed to leave for a Valentine's card exchange in 10 minutes and all of your fish tails are severed and your starfish amputated. Just fair warning!

4. Melt crayons in 250° oven for about 12-15 minutes.

Keep checking them, once they are melted evenly (no big chunks of crayon left) remove the trays from the oven. Let them cool for about 5 minutes until they are easy to handle, then pop the trays into the freezer. This lets them set up nicely. Remove from freezer after 5-10 minutes.

5. Pop the crayons out of the tray.

In theory, this should be easy. Some were harder to remove than others. Read my note under #3.

4. Assemble cute cards to mount the cute little crayons onto.

I cut out large circle (about the size of a coffee mug bottom) and a smaller circle (in contrasting color) and the boys glued these two together with a glue stick. Then, I had the boys write "Happy Valentine's Day" and "Your friend, _______" with a pen/sharpie. They also designed around the edge. I saw some cute sayings online, too, the pinterest example even had a cute saying on it "Happy Valentine's Day, for "crayon" out loud!"

5. Glue crayons onto cards.

If you have a glue gun, and you know where your back-up glue stick stash is, I recommend using it.  If not, or if, after a frantic search of every craft nook and cranny, you fail to locate aforementioned glue stick stash, use a tacky glue. We used one from Joann's. It's dries in about 35 minutes. But, if you happen to be running late and have to run out the door in 5, it will still work.

6. Sit back and enjoy the fact you made something with recycled items!