When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Homemade Christmas crayons

I've always loved the cheery, colourful art of children.  Give young ones some blank paper and a box of crayons and it's amazing what their wonderful imaginations can create.  Inevitably though, once little artists have drawn multiple masterpieces, their crayons end up as stumpy wax bits that are difficult for small hands to grasp.  What to do with these last colourful crayon remnants other than throwing them away?

Crayola has come up with a crayon-making machine that turns leftover wax pieces into brand new multi-coloured crayons.  Seeing all of the flyer ads for this toy over the holiday season has reminded me of a simple craft project I used to do when the boys were smaller and we had lots of leftover crayon bits lying around (with no crayon-making machine to speak of).  With just a few regular kitchen utensils and an oven, you can make your own homemade crayons that will keep your kids colouring (and smiling!) through the holidays. 

To make your own crayons, you will need:

pieces of old crayons, in multiple colours
an old cutting board and sharp knife
an old muffin tin or baking mold in a shape of your choosing

Preheat oven to 200 F. 
Using an old knife and a cutting board (if you don't have an old one, you can cover your good cutting board in parchment paper to protect it), cut crayons into quarter-inch pieces.
Place crayon pieces in muffin tin cups or molds.  (Crayon pieces should make a layer at least one inch deep.)  You can make solid colour crayons, or mix different wax pieces to create fun, multicoloured ones. 

Place tins or molds in preheated oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until wax pieces have completely melted.  (You'll want to keep an eye on them.)
Remove tins or molds from oven and let crayons cool.  Pop crayons out of molds and give them to your favourite little ones.  (If you're lucky, maybe the kids will draw you a beautiful picture to thank you!)

I used gingerbread boy molds to make these Christmas crayons, and while Noah and Will don't usually get too excited about crayons anymore, they both wanted some of these festive little guys to draw with.  You can make crayons in any shape for any time of year -- homemade crayons make great gift-toppers, loot bag fillers, or special surprises tucked away in kids' mailboxes.

Wishing you a bright and beautiful week before Christmas!

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