Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Rubbing Crayons

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My preschooler has been obsessed with crayon rubbings for years. Every autumn, we collect leaves and make a giant leaf rubbing mural. Last spring, she made colorful rubbings of the engravings on benches at the baseball field, all logos for local shops that supported the sports field face lift.

The one complaint she has is the crayons. She doesn't like peeling her crayons, and they snap while she uses them. (This was more true when she was two, when this project started, but we like it this way now.)

To solve this problem, we melt crayon pieces. Silicone treat pans and the small colorway packs Crayola puts together work amazingly well for this. I purchase most of the specialty silicone pans I use at craft stores (get the apps for the coupons!) or the Dollar Store, which sells seasonal themes.

We only have Crayola products because they are the only ones I've found to be truly washable. In this project, they are the only ones I've had luck melting completely and without leaving a weird, waxy residue, causing a horrible, lingering smell, or losing color. You may need to make adjustments to the time if you use other brands.

We'll be doing bone shapes for our playgroup Halloween party. Today we did squares of autumn colors. We talked about melting points, change of states of matter, and physical changes. A science lesson in the books, and cool crayons to boot. 

Peel the crayons. You can soak them in water to make the labels come off a bit easier. I didn't, to give my kids something to do for 5 minutes while I cleaned up from lunch. 

Preheat the oven to 160F (which takes minutes... I do mine in the toaster oven) while you fill the cavities of the pan you are using to the top. You can use a higher temperature, but this keeps the smell down. I love the smell of legit Crayola crayon wax, but not for hours and hours on end. 

Bake the crayons for 20 minutes. Check to see that all chunks have melted. If they haven't, return the pan to the oven for 5 more minutes. 

Allow the crayons to cool, then pop them out of the molds. If they don't come right out, put the pan in the freezer for 5 minutes and try again. (I have never had this issue with silicone pans, only metal.)

About 20 whole crayons made 8 of these little squares. How many crayons you need will depend on the pan used. 

All that is left to do is color. 

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