Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to get a little crafty with your kids and let them create their own Valentine’s Day Cards for their friends. My son loves to pass out his creations and it is a more meaningful experience for him, because he made them! Last year for Valentine’s Day we made these cute and simple Valentine’s Day cards (tradition #3). This year, I do not want the temptation of a bag of yummy chocolate laying around. You know how it goes…you buy V-day candy early only to have to run to the store the day before because the family ate all the said candy before they got attached to any cards! So, this year for the same price as a bag of candy we bought some fun candy molds (way cheaper than the metal pans) and a box of crayons because we are going to make some Dinosaur Crayons for all my son’s little friends and Fish Crayons for my daughter’s friends! It is cheap, easy and a fun little project to watch all the crayons melt and then become something new.
I know this has been done a million times before but we mainly used the microwave, which I have not seen much around and I wanted to share how we did it!
What You Need:
- Small glass bowl or baby food jar (We got ours from a neighbor with a baby!)
- Stirring stick (popsicle stick, wooden skewer, spoon, etc.)
- Hot Pads
- Microwave or stove
- 2 small pans or a double boiler (If using stove)
- Fun candy molds
Step 1: Peel the crayons.
Step 2: Prep the molds. We added a few flakes of crayon into the molds to give the dinosaurs a more speckled look. To be honest, my son preferred them solid colored with no speckles…go figure, he would like them less fancy! The cheapest molds I could find were on Amazon for $2 and if you become an Amazon Mom – you get free 2 day shipping. Free shipping and free Amazon gift cards via Swagbucks = 1 happy mom and a sweet deal!
Step 3: Put crayons in baby food jar. We separated them by color and started with red. Breaking them into smaller bits always helps speed up the melting process, but is not necessary.
Step 4: You can use the microwave or the stove. The microwave is definitely faster, but the jar gets really hot and is a little dangerous for little helpers to touch. The stove top takes longer to melt the crayons, but everyone can watch the melting action and help stir. Also, the jar does not get as hot and I noticed that the crayons harden quicker after pouring vs. the microwave.
Microwave: When you start, put them in for 2 minutes and then stir. Continue adding time and checking/stirring as you go. I found the long stick very helpful with the stirring. If you do not have any sticks, you can use a metal spoon. See Tips below
Stove Top: Use a double boiler or make your own using 2 small pans (one smaller than the other, like in the picture above, with boiling water in the bottom pan). Once water starts boiling, I turn the heat down a little, so it is still boiling, just not as intense. Then the kids are able to help me stir while it melts. It does seem like this process seems to make the jar more covered in crayon vs. the microwave, but there is more fun in watching the action!
Step 5: Once the crayons are melted, use a hot pad to hold the jar and pour crayon into molds. Have a spoon or stick nearby to help even out the liquid if needed.
Step 6: Let the crayon cool. Once they are cool they pop out easily (lightly tap the mold on a folded towel or hot pad). If they are resistant, wait a few more minutes. You can also stick them in the freezer if you want to speed up the cooling process. We left ours on the table and my kids enjoyed checking on them. And since we were not using a ton of crayons for one color, the batch we made usually made 2-3 crayons. So while they were cooling, we would start on the next color.
Step 7: Start at Step 3 again and continue until you have all the fun crayons you want. It is not necessary to clean the jar in between each color (see Tips below, for how to clean the jar). We started with red, then orange. Then we cleaned the jar and then we did the yellow, then the green, and then the blue (with one purple crayon 🙂 )
Tips and Tricks:
- We discovered that certain brands of crayons were harder to remove their wrappers. That was a little frustrating for my 3 and 4 year old. To make the peeling fun, but not frustrating take a butter knife and cut the wrapper on the crayon length wise. They still feel like they are peeling and you do not have to do it all yourself!
- For big melted chunks of crayon leftovers on metal or glass you can place it in the freezer for a few minutes and the big chunks come off easily, so you can remelt them later.
- To clean the glass completely, place glass bowl/jar in microwave with a little water and heat for 1-2 minutes (until water is hot). Dump out the water and wipe clean with a paper towel. It comes off easily this way. Plus, if you put it under your faucet in your sink, any crayon that doesn’t get washed down hardens and makes a mess in your sink!
- To clean the candy molds, rub/wash clean with a hot, damp paper towel. There usually is not much left on the molds when you are done melting crayons, so this should be pretty easy. I am always afraid to put them directly under hot water and damaging their shape.
Now all we have to do is make the card to go with the crayons. It is going to say something like “I like stomping around with you!” or something like that. If anyone has a good dinosaur joke, we are going to add one to the back. I’ll update with the finished product later this week!