Sunday, June 19, 2011

Blogging the Summer, Day 1: Crayon Tarts

I'm not nesting, but lately I have been cleaning and organizing and straightening up the house like mad. Maybe I figure as long as I'm sweeping up so much white dog hair, I might as well go the distance and actually go through some of the stuff I've let pile up "until I have time."

Last night it was the dining room (or, as my husband calls it, "Your sewing room."). I'm always looking for ways to consolidate and get rid of useless supplies; last night, I came across a small bin of crayons that had to go. K loves art supplies and has a bunch of newer ones in her closet/art studio, so I knew she wouldn't miss these forlorn, broken crayons with the tattered wrappers. I can barely get J to stay still long enough for him to brush his own teeth, so it goes without saying that he couldn't care less what I do with a bucket of crayons.

I didn't want to throw them out, especially since we're so into recycling here, and I remembered an idea I had seen somewhere, sometime long ago: melt them down and make new crayons. Sounds like a plan.

I couldn't have guessed that J, of all people, would be so taken with this project. A kid who moves like the Flash and usually prefers electronic entertainment over all others actually sat down, peeled the wrappers off the old crayons, and went to town with our crayon tarts. He approached the entire project with gusto and even scoured the house for other old crayons when we were done, just to see if we could make more. It occupied us for a good hour and half. It was awesome to see him so into something like this.

Here's what we did:

1. Peel the crayons.
2. Break them up into small pieces that fit into mini muffin tins.
3. Bake at 250 degrees F for 15 minutes.
4. Cool for about 20 minutes in the freezer.

Our tarts, about halfway through baking. Don't let them bake too long, or all of the colors will blend together and you'll be left with cups of that dark green, grotesque green color you get when you're using watercolors and you wash out your bush in the same water over the over again.

Soon...presto! Crayon tarts.

We used mini muffin wrappers, which I happened to have here, so I could use my regular mini muffin tin and not have to throw it out when we were done. The wrappers make the outside edges a little more rugged and less smooth and pretty, but my kids like the way they look like rainbow versions of peanut butter cups, so it's all good. We had some leftover crayons after we made the mini versions, so J wanted to make some in bigger muffin cups.

I love how the back sides of these look like little world maps (pre-Continental Drift, perhaps?). J loved deciding what color pieces to put in which cup to make maximum color fun when they were done.

The big ones leaked into the actual muffin pan, which means I now I have a dedicated crayon/polymer clay/craft muffin pan, which is fine with me, since it was kind of yucky to begin with and now I have a valid reason for picking up another next time I'm at Goodwill. Win-win.

Packaged in a cute cello treat bag and tied with a ribbon and card from the kids, this is a perfect addition to our gift back for my niece when we see her next month.

Let the games begin!