Sunday, February 21, 2016

Color a Rainbow! DIY Melted Colorful Crayons & Printable Gift Tags

Each year close to Valentine's Day, we throw a party in each of the 4 preschool classes in our classroom.  The kids bring in cards for their friends to mail in each other's decorated bags, we decorate heart-shaped sugar cookies, we play in the snow, and we talk about being thankful for our friends.

We also give the kids a small gift from the adults in the classroom, with a little card.  There are so many cute ideas out there, like "a big bear hug from your teachers" with a bag of Teddy Grahams, or "We're glad you're in our school" with Goldfish crackers or candy fish, or my favorite, "You color our world!" with a homemade rainbow crayon.

These homemade crayons would be so cute as birthday party favors, Easter basket additions, stocking stuffers, a playdate craft, or a good activity for a rainy or snowy day.

I first made these crayons about 4 years ago, with a big bag of broken, peeled crayons that we'd just about used up in the classroom.  We've been saving up ever since, and finally, I had enough again! Last time around, I wasn't blogging, but I wanted to be sure to share the project with all of you this time around. 

Here's what you'll need:
-peeled crayons, broken or cut into small (roughly 1") pieces 
-shaped silicone molds (I used heart-shaped cupcake cups, you can use a silicone ice cube tray for smaller crayons)
-parchment paper or silicone baking mat
-cookie sheet 

I sorted my crayons into jars by color as I broke them into pieces, which helped in creating color 'palettes'.

Next, preheat your oven to 250*.

Then add crayon pieces to your mold- I filled the cupcake molds about 1/3 full.  I'd say, enough to cover the bottom, and a few on top of that.  If you're using a mold as big as a cupcake cup, you don't want the crayons to end up too thin, or they'll break easily.

I chose to do combinations of 2-3 colors: red/pink/purple, green/blue, green/blue/yellow, red/yellow/orange. I think choosing colors that are similar, and look okay together if they mix a bit is key, so you don't end up with muddy colors.

I should say that I did leave out the gray, brown, and black crayons.  If I was making a set of crayons for a gift or something, I would include a black/gray, and maybe brown/tan crayon, but since I'm giving each child only 1, I chose just the brighter colors. 

I set my baking cups on a silicone mat, to catch any crayon crumbs or drips.  I'd recommend using parchment instead, since the crayon crumbs stained the mat in a spot or two.  Also, I'm not sure on the safety specifics, but since the crayons stained my cupcake cups, I will not be using them for food in the future. 

Put the crayons in the oven for about 20 minutes (less if you're using a smaller mold).  Check on them, and see if they're melted.  I had some thicker crayons that didn't melt all the way, so I used a toothpick to kind of squish them to the bottom, put the molds back in for a few minutes, and they were fine.

Take the crayons out of the oven and let cool completely. The crayons will definitely break if you try to pop them out too early.  I left mine for about an hour, and made my 40 crayons in 4 shifts.

To give as a gift, I like to attach a tag with a fun saying like, "You color my world!" and To/From. You can attach the crayons with a dot of hot glue, some tape, or tie them to the cards with some bakers' twine.

I've created two versions (from 1 person, or more than 1 person), so you can choose the one that matches what you need.

As for the tags, you can download them here:
On my macbook, to do this, I need to hover my mouse over the image, and click on the box/arrow icon in the upper right corner to open the image, and then click on the download icon (down pointing arrow). 

Have you ever DIYed a crayon project? I'd love to hear about it or see it- share in the comments below!

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