Monday, November 21, 2011

Fall "Stained Glass" Crafts with Melted Crayons

{Acorn by Mia, Age 4}
Once again I was looking for a way to use up our collection of broken crayon bits, which I have been saving for a few months since we made scribble cookies. After seeing this acorn craft, I decided we would melt them and make some stained glass-like crafts. That said, I encountered a number of problems while doing this, so I have lots of advice to offer if you want to make crafts by melting crayons (and not have it be a complete catastrophe).
  • First, you may want to peel the wrappers off of your crayon bits as you collect them in your container. (I have been using a plastic bowl, but a jug or jar would work well.) The reason I say this is that I spent a long time doing this all at once and I ended up with wax shoved underneath three of my fingernails, which is pretty painful.
  • After that, I spent another long while making wax shavings with a pencil sharpener, since Mia got frustrated quickly while trying to help. While this was necessary for making the craft, I ended up with blisters, which I wasn't thrilled about. If you do this, I would plan in advance and make some shavings each day for a week so that you don't have the issue with blistering
  • I sorted all of our shavings by color families (blues, reds, greens, etc.) into individual bowls. This was probably too perfectionistic since the kids mixed the colors all together in their projects, anyway. Don't be too concerned about being perfectly organized, unless, of course, you are so compelled.
  • I am pretty sure I ruined our ironing board and possibly, the iron. (Oh darn, how will I iron now? I obviously use it so frequently, right?) I thought I had taken proper precautions to protect them, however, it wasn't enough. I still ended up with melted crayon everywhere! If you are still reading and you are feeling brave enough to try this project, make sure you don't care about your iron or ironing board. If, however, you would like to save your iron and ironing board, note that one sheet of construction paper and one dish towel aren't going to cut it. Cover your board with plenty of paper or maybe old tee-shirts or towels that you don't care about ruining. Or buy yourself a used iron/ironing board at a garage sale, and keep it on hand for craft projects.
{Turkey Eating Acorn by Mia, Age 4}
  • wax paper
  • old, broken crayons
  • pencil sharpener
  • container to hold wax shavings
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • warm iron
  • black construction paper (optional for making "windows")
  • tape 
  • clear contact paper  
  • paper trimmer (optional)
  • templates (optional)
    Large Acorn
    Small Acorn
    Large Maple Leaf
    {Acorn by Logan, Age 2}
    Small Leaves
  1. Use a pencil sharpener to make crayon shavings.
  2. Tear off two sheets of wax paper, approximately the same size, making sure they are large enough for your design.
  3. Use a pencil to draw or trace your design on the non-waxy side of one piece of wax paper. When using a template, you will lay your wax paper over top and outline the shape onto your wax paper. 
  4. Have your child sprinkle crayon shavings inside the design area. Don't worry about being perfect; it will change as the wax melts, anyway. Remind them to use a small amount. Big clumps of wax don't work as well as a thin layer.
  5. Lay the second sheet of wax paper on top and carefully transfer both sheets to your ironing board. (Make sure you have protected the surface before doing this.)
  6. Cover the wax paper with a large, old towel. Then, gently press down the iron. I checked on the progress about every 10 seconds until I thought they were melted enough. (There is no exact science to this, though, so watch closely. The wax will melt quickly. Only adults should use the iron.)
  7. Set the wax paper/crayon "sandwich" aside to cool.
  8. If you want your project to look like a stained glass window, draw/trace your design onto a piece of black construction paper and cut out the shape. Tape your now cool melted wax creation to the back side, trimming as needed.
  9. Using scissors or a paper trimmer (my preferred method), cut two pieces of clear contact paper slightly larger than your wax paper shape or black paper (if making a stained glass "window").
  10. Slowly peel the backing off of one piece of contact paper. Place the wax paper shape or black paper onto it. Peel the backing off of the second piece of contact paper and place it over top so the sticky sides meet. Trim away excess as needed, leaving 1/4" all the way around.
  11. Use tape to display the stained glass craft in a window.
  12. {Maple Leaf by Mia, Age 4}
    {Oak Leaf by Logan, Age 2}

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