Easy, albeit not fast, way to turn broken, languishing crayons into a new art supply for coloring creatives of any age. You don’t have any broken crayons? Sure you do, look in the bottom of that crayon box or help clean out a church basement, or a classroom or ask neighbors in your Buy Nothing group. I also save crayons from restaurants but a word of caution that they do not melt the same as Crayola (more on this at the end).
Mold (e.g. silicon candy/ice mold)
Baking sheet, foil
Sort your crayons by color (if you like, it is really satisfying) groups.
Remove the labels from crayons. I found it quickest to use a craft knife to cut a slit down the label to remove paper. Others use a bowl of warm water.
Heat your oven to between 200-225 F.
Break the crayons into bits that will fit in the mold.
Put broken crayon pieces into the mold. Have fun making up color combinations or using all the same color. You will want to fill up the mold above the top edge as the crayons will melt down.
Line a baking sheet with foil and place the mold with crayons on top of sheet and place in the heated oven.
Melting time will vary but I found it to be right around 20 minutes. set your time and check in on them at 18 minutes 🙂 I melted mine completely but did not let them stay on the oven any extra time to avoid dyes separating and/or colors all blending together.
Remove the baking sheet and mold from oven. Place mold on a cooling rack and let it cool down at room temp. Don’t rush removing them from the molds as it can leave finger prints or marks. I did put my mold into the fridge after cooling down at room temp for about 30 minutes to speed it along as I just had the one gem shaped mold. They pop right out with a quick twist.
Chunky, recycled crayons are awesome for making rubbings using surfaces and textures around the house, leaves/nature bits, gravestones or official rubbing plates like those by Roylco or fashion plates (hello 80s!) Each scribble or line with the crayon will reveal new colors. I listed some extra tubs of coloring gems in my Etsy shop too!
Notes and Tips
Using the craft knife to remove labels generates flakes/crumbs/bits so do this over a piece of paper or container. Save them!
I did put some thought into how I paired up my colors – mix and match with the color wheel in mind (orange and blue, yellow and purple), mother earth (greens and blues), shades of pinks (that magenta!) or all the beautiful skin tones.
Put the crayon crumbs from the label-removal step in the bottom of mold and layer white or gray crayons on top (other colors didn’t work as well) for a rainbow speckled crayon.
The crayons did stain the mold after many batches, so plan to keep it dedicated to crafts.
If you are using a muffin tin or doughnut pan, grease the pan first with shortening before putting the crayons pieces in.
Crayon selection and brands: I will not wax on (haha) about the virtues or dangers of this wax over that wax used to make crayons (the internet will tell you whatever you want/need to hear). I will say that the ‘cheaper crayons’ handed out by restaurants etc usually have lower quality wax, pigments etc and they won’t melt the same and the colors may separate, be less pigmented etc. You can mix them in with Crayola’s, just not too much or you will have a bunch of uncolored wax on the top of the crayon and sad blah color on the bottom. TLDR – stick with mostly one crayon brand or type for this project.
A few years ago, I started making a homemade ornaments for family. This year’s ornament is a (be)dazzling canning lid ornament. It is the perfect way to reuse the inner lids (that you can reseal) and if you are anything like me, you might seems always have more of the canning rings than jars. Hmm… if not they are easy to buy as well. Solid or single piece canning or regular jar lids work great too and can be a nice up-cycle option. You can keep the ornaments simple or really put a lot of effort into creating designs using combinations and placement of sequins, glitter, beads etc. They almost feel a little bit like a diorama. I was really pleased with the result, especially since glitter is the gift that keeps on giving. Kids of most ages can join in this activity. It might be easiest spread out over two sessions so that the glitter/glue on the backside can dry before working on the front side.
If using two piece lids, start by gluing the lid to the ring. Run a line of glue around the inside of the ring and insert the lid.
Flip over the ring-lid, using a paint brush cover the exposed part of the inserted lid with glue and cover with glitter and or sequins. this is the ‘back’. I suggest letting it dry for a bit at this point.
On the ‘inside’ of the ring-lid, squirt in glue and brush it all around the lid, wherever you want glitter or sequins to adhere. On some of the ornaments I did it edge to edge, on others I wanted it to look like the glitter ‘pooled’ or was just more around bottom. apply the glue liberally so the sequins have something to stick in to and it gives a little depth. This will also ensure that the underside of the flat lid is completely covered. I had a few rings with rust on them, I made sure to pain those areas with glue so the glitter would hide.
Pour or sprinkle in sequins. Arrange them if you like and then pour in glitter to fill in all around them. this will make sure all the glue is covered.
You can gently tap out any excess on to a paper plate or piece of paper to re-use or just wait till it dries and then tap it out.
For some of the ornaments I wanted to glue certain sequins an beads along the edge to add dimension. I did this as a third step.
Once all dry, tap out all the glitter etc again. You can keep reusing!
Cut a long piece of wire or fishing line, wrap it around the outside of the ring, crossing it a few times at the top and then creating a loop with the ends. This will allow you to use an ornament hanger etc. you could also tie ribbon around the outside to make a loop or just glue on an ornament hanger.
Enjoy! please share photos is you make these.
They make excellent last minute gifts or early school dismally day activities. Happy Holidays!
Home-baked goodies are a meaningful way to engage your littles in creating a gift and saying thank you to teachers, neighbors or others. While the sample baskets below are made by a toddler for daycare staff, there is no reason older children will not have just as much fun and creativity in designing the simple paper plate baskets. Include them in the baking too!
Cheap sort of flimsy paper plates (the best kind for crafts)
Markers, stamps, stickers etc
Double stick tape, glue and/or hot glue
Using a stripe or two of blue tape mark off a portion of the plate. This will ensure a little white space to put personalized messages. Then let the kids (or yourself) color and decorate the plates, mostly on the underside, but both sides can certainly be adorned. I also use it to affix the plate to counter as the coloring gets pretty physical around here. In the photo below I have multiple stacked so as one is colored up I could remove it quickly and keep the little guy coloring. 🙂
Once decorated, let dry if necessary. Then remove the blue tape carefully, stamp or write in the resulting white space.
Now cut four short cuts from the edge towards the center and then make for folds to create the bottom and sides and allow plate to be folded up into the basket shape. You can alter the shape of the basket by changing the cuts. The diagram will make a rectangle shaped basket perfect for mini loaves. If the cut are shorter and all equal distance from edge and around circumference of plate your basked will be more square and a great fit for multiple muffins. I usually make a template with a blank plate to fit the baked goodies that I want to gift. Its a little different each time.
Tape and/or glue up folded edges to make the basket. It is now ready to be filled with goodies. Feel free to line with parchment or waxed paper.
This DIY ‘simply’ involves a trip to the auto parts store, a drill, some nails/hooks and all the magnets you can stomach (figuratively, many magnets are total choking hazards).
At the auto parts store look for the world’s largest appearing cookie sheet, also known as oil drip pan. Select the least warped one. They tend to bend pretty easy due to material and size, they will also feel a bit oily to the touch, so a good wipe down with a cleaner and rag is a good next step. Cost less than $15.
You could also use a cookie sheet, not the air/insulated kind though, and probably not from the auto parts store. Costco has some quite large simple sheets.
Drill two holes in the top edge of the pan, a few inches in from the right and left side and about 1/2 inch down from top edge. We used a 3/8 inch drill bit.
Decide where you want to hang the metal board and use nails/screws or hooks to mount to the wall. You could also put holes at the bottom if you want to screw into the wall in four spots.
Originally I had wanted the logo imprint to be towards the bottom of the pan when hanging and then cover with fabric to make a pocket but forgot to communicate that detail to the hubs. Oops, no biggie. I just covered with a strip of busy fabric and hot glue.
Glued a few magnets to the back of a large google eye, some pompoms and to a cardboard tube for some additional fun things to play with on the board.
Bookbinding is a true craft and in no way is this post a reflection of its true breadth and depth. However, over the last several years I have added reviewing, mostly children’s books, to my repertoire. Frequently publishers send advance reading copies out for reviews, meaning that they may be unbound, not through final proof, printed on different paper etc. This format does not affect my reviews, but for books that my little and I really enjoy or think others might like to read, I will do a quick rudimentary binding. Loose page children’s books are basically a disaster and meltdown waiting to happen and I already have enough items to pick up I don’t need book pages every where. Here is my quick solution, involving a sewing machine and hot glue gun, because besides duct tape, this can fix just about anything.
Sort your pages into the correct order, noting which full pages are folded into each other.
Select a folded section.
Open the pages up, finding the middle or folded portion. This is where you will sew.
Stack pages neatly, lining up the edges, as best you can. ARC can be cut unevenly too. I use a clip to hold them.
Adjust your stitch length to be a little longer (e.g. 3 or 3.5) and loosen up your tension just a little bit.
Stitch a straight line down the center fold.
Repeat steps 3 through 6, until all pages are sewn together. You will have several groups of sewing pages depending on the length of story. Put them into sequence.
Now its time to hot glue! Taking the cover identify where the spine of the book would be. I like to crease the spine so its easier to see.
Run a line of hot glue down the spine and place the first sewn folded page section into the glue. Hold upright until glue dries. Repeat this with each sewn section until all the page sections are glued to the cover.
Enjoy! It is certainly not perfect nor pretty but just tossing an ARC feels/is wasteful and if your books are anything like ours, they take a beating anyway. Reading to myself and my son is one of my favorite activities, especially after a long day. I am pretty passionate about reading and as such we also started a guild for our little one, called Bee is for Books. Reviewing books is just another activity we can do together and now my little one is starting to also share his literary opinions. I also enjoy how it exposes myself/us to many different books that we might not have otherwise discovered. I post some of the reviews on this site, as Reach and Read (here is a favorite) and collate many on this image bookshelf page, many on other review or publisher sites and then of course there are all sorts of books we read and love that just don’t get a review as there are just not enough hours in the day. (note: I have a Goodreads account but have let it go fallow.) Maybe a goal for the year end will be to once again graph my reading, but the number of times I have read Big Red Barn and Little Blue Truck are TNTC…. and this is a great problem to have.
Cupcakes! What is not to love? For me it was storing a cupcake stand that took up a lot of space for infrequent use. Here is a simple way to make a tiered cupcake stand to hold just the right number of cupcakes, just when you need it and using just the plates you want to use that you can then disassemble when done. (this is my lean process improvement self talking). All you need are:
pretty plates, varying sizes if you want
small bud vases or jars or candlesticks or ??
QUAKEhold museum gel (just ofllow its instructions)
I used my favorite jadeite plates to stack and some small bud vases in between. I don’t have a larger platter in my current set (on the hunt now) but still like how it turned out despite not much size gradient. I created four tiers as I needed the stand to be pretty tall for little Bee’s birthday (save counter space) but you could also make a cake stand with just one plate and vase or jar or glass or candlestick (so many options!).
The stand was easy to assemble and after waiting 30 minutes for gel to set it was quite sturdy and ready to display the mini cupcakes. To UnDIY (aka take apart, just twist and remove the gel per instructions.
Have fun with museum gel! I will be mixing in different plates next time and might play around with some tea cups as well. Share pictures of how you use the gel or make tiered food stands!
Now that you own a jar of QUAKEhold gel, what else can you do with it? Here is a blog with 20 ideas and another with even more.
It has been a few years since I posted about mending and hemming but I only have so many tricks up my sleeves and it isn’t my faaaave – orite thing to do, so naturally falls down the to-do list. That said, I periodically need to mend my husband’s shirts, right below his elbow. Most of the time the tear is horizontal, although a random vertical tear just showed up (see large blue plaid). It isn’t on his ‘mousing arm’ and it occurs regardless of button-up brand. See exhibit 1 – elbow close up.
Also of note: the red checkered shirt has been mended twice before (so today makes three). I know that mending can weaken fabric but this time I wanted tried a different approach. Previously I would patch on the inside and use a satin stitch to hold overlapped raw edges together. Inspired by a 1940s vintage sewing book gifted from my local Buy Nothing group, I tried a different method. reinforcing on the back with iron interfacing (not something the ladies had in 1940s) and then patching with a piece of quilting cotton and hand stitching on the front. I also used fray check (again, modern convenience) on the raw edges. I cut both the interfacing and cotton about 1/2 inch bigger all the way around. Clean up any lose threads on shirt. Iron on interfacing, add fray check. Then press under the edges of the cotton patch (about 1/4 inch) so there are no frayed edges. Pin in place and sew with tiny and tidy blanket or whip stitches.
I also did something similar with a cozy soft flat sheet that tore along the top hem. I used a machine zig zag stitch to hold the overlapped raw edges together and again a fabric patch but machine sewed it on. I also left the finished selvedge as one edge, since it was a scrap cut and #rebel.
Fingers crossed! The contrast patch isn’t too noticeable and for future mending (I can only imagine with a toddler boy), the patches could be out of an even more fun contrasting fabric. The effort has not be wasted even if we only get a few more wears out of the shirts.
Well, it only took me about a year to push publish the last post about Little Bee’s nursery, albeit, it is hard to use the word nursery now but the ‘decor; and space are growing. Future modifications will be to keep making it more ‘montessori’ but for now, it is a space for some stories and sleep. The most fun part of putting this room together was curating and creating all the art and decorations(see post Fresh Nursery Wall Art Ideas and this one Simple Stitched Paper Garland or Bunting) but I also made simple custom curtains to help darken. This room will continue to be a work in progress as he grows.
To make the curtains, I used some simple grey heavy fabric curtains from Ikea. I hemmed them to the window length and then sewed two strips of coordinating bee and yellow honey comb fabric along the bottom to match the theme. I did the same thing (sewing coordinating fabric) to the tie backs. Easy peasy!