How broken crayons can save your sanity!
Crayons can save my Sanity? Really? Well, yes and no. Bare with me here for a few minutes. It all depends on the type of person you are you see.
Things that bother me
Now, I’m not one of those Mama’s that has to have everything ‘just so’. I’m not terribly organised or necessarily all that tidy. My hair is often messy too, and I’m bad at remembering where I put things that I need. But there are a few things that really grate me, REALLY get on my nerves. Not being able to find the girl’s hair bands in a morning is one thing (but I solved that with THIS*). Finding stickle-bricks in the Lego box! (Just me? I thought not!) and definitely cutlery in the wrong compartments in the drawer (Why! There is absolutely no excuse for this! Just, why would you?).
But most of all, I’m bothered by broken, grubby, paper ripped, snapped, tired crayons!
They don’t look appealing, or make us want to reach for them and start colouring. No, they just sit at the bottom of the pencil-case and take up space, gathering bits of dust to the sides of them, until they are all tipped out all over the floor. And you just KNOW that there will be a couple that roll under the sofa, gathering even MORE dust.
I am the type of girl (and my girls so far are showing the same symptoms) that needs to be inspired to create. By having the right tools for the job, presented in an appealing manner. Hence the wholesale box of crayons I bought at Christmas, so that we could avoid the very problem of old broken crayons. But I’m also not a girl who likes waste or parting with belongings, so I didn’t want to just throw them away (I’m working through my issues, slowly).
Today, after stepping on yet another broken crayon, I had finally had enough!
I could take them no longer.
So we gathered up all the ones we could find around the house, in a nice little bag. The girls thought this in itself was fun. Hunt the poorly crayons! We took them to the kitchen. Spent 45 minutes peeling the paper off (who knew it would be stuck so tightly!) chopped them into small pieces (adult only job, with a VERY large sharp knife – watch those fingers, please!!) and then we needed something to put them in.
Why I hoard
Back before I had babies, when I used to have time to do fun things just for me, I had bought some silicone truffle moulds on a whim, similar to THESE*, where they had sat in my beautiful baking drawer unopened ever since, as I have no wish to spend hours melting and tempering chocolate and wasting valuable chocolate munching time.
Perfect! They had a use! I knew there was a reason I had kept them unopened for 5 years.
Make your own crayons
We chose the flower shaped tray and proceeded to scatter the colours across the mould. My 2.5-year-old had a great time doing this, my 16-month old just watched as she still likes to taste crayons!
Fill up the moulds with the broken crayons, then pop the mould into the oven at about 120-150°C (250°F) and keep a close eye as they begin to melt.
Depending on the size of your moulds and the crayons themselves, this could take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, when they look fully melted CAREFULLY remove the mould from the oven.
TIP: Put the mould into the oven on a baking tray, otherwise a HOT, flexible tray COULD result in melted crayon being dripped all over your kitchen floor. Just saying.
For the LOVE of pizza
This didn’t happen to us though, oh no! Because one of my wonderful sisters a few years ago bought me a real full-size pizza peel! I love it! It gets used for SO much more than pizza. Although to be honest, it gets used pretty often for pizza too.
As I started to take the silicone mould out of the oven, I realised I should have put it on a tray beforehand and thought “Oh dear, silly me! What am I going to do now” (honestly, that’s JUST how I said it) Ding! Pizza peel! I might have done a little dance 😉
Make them bigger
The colours of our crayons were pretty spectacular I have to admit. But also, because we’d put large chunks of crayon in each fairly small mould, they were only about half filled. SO, we just cheated a little, and popped in some more broken crayons and put them back in the oven for a few minutes longer.
It’s a waiting game
The hardest part of the whole process is waiting for the new crayons to cool before you remove them from the mould. I propped mine on the guttering at the back of the extension, so they could cool in peace away from prying fingers. You could choose a shelf, or the top of the fridge, or somewhere sensible.
Once cool, which did seem to take forever, we carefully pushed the first one out, and it was just beautiful!
Brand new crayons!
Use them just like ordinary crayons. My girls immediately ran off with them to find paper and spent a good QUIET half hour engrossed in the shapes and the colours. The best bit is that if these crayons break, they can just go straight back into a mould and put into the oven. That mould now has become the dedicated crayon maker, as it appears impossible to remove old wax crayon from silicone moulds. As they are no longer food safe, (not that I EVER used them for food anyway) we’ll just use them for fun!
My sanity saved?
Well, in part yes. I’m actually now quite looking forward to more broken crayons around the house. They are just so beautiful!
Perfect for Earth Day!
Are you tempted to recycle your crayons? I’d love to know if you do. Use #makecrayonsbeautiful So I can find yours.
If you would like more ideas for activities, take a look at Toddler Camp