Sunday, March 28, 2010

The making of MEGA-CRAYON....

Ragnarson loves his crayons. Mostly he loves to break them in half, peel the paper off of them and use his finger nail to scrape little bits of crayon off onto the table and floor. OH! and drawing on the walls, yes, let's not forget about drawing on the walls.

When I was little my mother used to melt crayons down in muffin tins and make these really cool, sometimes multi-colored "big" crayons. I don't own a muffin tin however. It's on my "to buy" list, but hasn't made it to the top yet. I remembered someone telling me that they made a mega-crayon by pouring melted crayon into old deodorant containers. A quick google led me to this site which had some really good advice.

Here's all the equipment. Broken up crayons with the paper peeled off. Clean disassembled deodorant containers, a glass measuring cup that you don't mind getting crayon wax all over, mold release spray, and a couple of drinking straws. I should mention that the total project cost (if you count broken up crayons that you have lying around as "free") is about $10 for the mold release spray. I don't know how important this is. I decided it was worth the $10 to not risk having the crayon bind into the container, and I must say it seems to have worked beautifully.
Here are the two color groups of crayons, for the two different containers.
Before melting the crayon wax I sprayed the inside of the containers and the drinking straws with mold release. I specifically didn't spray the little "platformy" part of the deodorant bottle, because I want the crayon to stick to this base. The type of mold release that I bought specifies letting the mold dry before using it. After everything was dry I screwed the platform/base thing back into the container and slipped the drinking straw over the threaded rod. This is something that I wouldn't have thought about, but was suggested by the website above, and I have to say seems like a really good idea. Crayon wax likes to stick to things, apparently.
Then I melted the crayons in a pot of boiling water. If you are one of those people who own a mircrowave, that might be an easier way to melt crayons. This method made the crayons on the bottom melt into soup, and the crayons on top fuse into a solid block that was melting resistant. I had planned on just letting the crayons sit and disturbing them as little as possible so that there might be some swirly pattern left in the "MEGA CRAYON" but I am just not that patient, it turns out. Also I had to keep the water pretty much at a rolling boil. When I did the second batch of crayons I put the lid on the pot and that seemed to help them melt more quickly.
Here is the hot wax in the container, which I promptly and impatiently put into the freezer.
As the wax cooled a bubble appeared, which I could theoretically try to fill with more wax (I did, actually on the second crayon) but by the time I noticed it I had already switched over to the blue green crayons. When the container felt cool I pulled the straw out, and voila! MEGA CRAYON is born.
Ragnarson was very into the big crayon for about 5 minutes. "WHERE is my BIG crayon MOMMA!??" After throughly covering a piece of paper with red scribbles, he realized that he could use the cover of the container to scrape shreds of crayon off onto the floor, which was a huge improvement over using his fingernails.

Project notes: the website where I found the instructions suggested fastening some screws into the base/platform part of the container to secure the crayon. I didn't have any screws lying around and I am an impatient person so I skipped this step, and instead just didn't spray mold release on that part of the container. Ragnarson has already tried to pull the crayon out, so I'll let you know if he succeeds. If he does we can alway screw in some screws and remelt the wax.

My two containers held wildly different amounts of crayon. I had to add more crayons, twice, to melt enough wax for the blue/green crayon, this lead me to believe that the "swirly" effect I was going for would be easier to get by melting smaller amounts of crayon and pouring them in layers.

Fun project, not that time consuming, not that messy. We shall see if Ragnarson continues to enjoy the big crayons.

Ragnar...crafty old lady.


Meghan said...

Bea can't wait to try the big crayon. Great idea!!

Ann said...

Very cool! Next time, if you want a multicolored crayon, you could drop chunks of broken crayon in the container, and then melt the rest and pour it in to make one solid piece. I'm going to have to try this for my niece.

Sarah said...

This is a great idea. That container of broken crayons that no one wants to use now has a new propose.

TracyKM said...

For years I tried to find a suitable crayon shaped mold to do this sort of thing. My kids didn't like the muffin tin shaped crayons, and probably wouldn't like these either :(
You can buy those deodorant containers new and empty, on line. If it came out of the container, I think it would still be okay.
Eventually, I got a Crayola Crayon Maker. It melts the crayons, then you pour them into a crayon mold that does 3 crayons at a time. It's safe for kids, about age 5 and up! And great fun for adults, LOL.
But, again, my kids just don't like crayons :(

Anonymous said...

If your one of those that have a microwave?.... Sounds a bit condescending. Cute project though.