February 9, 2010 at 3:10 pm (craftiness n' colors, holiday, picture post, valentine's)

“Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon.  A happiness weapon.  A beauty bomb.  And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one.  It would explode high in the air – explode softly – and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air.  Floating down to earth – boxes of Crayolas.  And we wouldn’t go cheap, either – not little boxes of eight.  Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in.  With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest.  And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.”
-Robert Fulghum
Breaking crayons to bits and tearing the paper off is so taboo, a definite no-no from my childhood, and one that has been passed down to Puff. But rule-breaking can be fun, even for inanimate objects! Crayons are a bit tragic, each little bit of happy is so dreadfully confined in it’s little suit and separated – un-mixable with the others who share its box. Me n’ the Puffy Wonder spent an afternoon unleashing a wild and unruly rainbow! We both had a fabulous time flinging colors madly about and being wild children for the hour or so that this project took. The heart-shapes make it Valentine-y, but we can’t wait to try this craft with other shapes, too!
First we gathered all of our broken, worn, and battered crayons from wherever fate had left them. We were lucky enough to have an old hand-me-down box available, and many of the crayons inside were well-loved and battered – in prime recycling condition.
Once we had our ‘stash’ together, we peeled the paper off. This is tougher than it looks, and in the end I had to slit the edge of each paper with a knife, while Puffy peeled. Back when she was one, she was SO good at disrobing crayons – I’m not sure if she’s lost her touch, or if we just got a batch of tough crayons. Even I had a tough time with it before we sliced ’em!
When the paper was finally off, we broke ’em into smaller bits, and put them into our heart-shaped cookie cutters. We could have done this more easily with a muffin tin or a metal candy-mold, but we wanted hearts, and I don’t own a tin for heart-shaped muffins OR candy molds. So I lined the outside of each cookie cutter with aluminum foil, pressing it tight to avoid leaking and hooking it over the top slightly. This method worked great! We did have some leakage, but it was a very small bit – I was even surprised at how little mess we made.
Next we filled our hearts with the crayon bits, put them on a cookie sheet, and popped ’em in the oven. I found about a thousand recipes for ‘cooking’ crayons online, but the lower-heat settings didn’t work for us. We ended up baking them for 15-20 minutes (until the crayons had juuuuust melted) at 250 degrees. If you do this, be careful. Wax is flammable, so you want to keep a close eye on them, and the kids out of the kitchen!
After they were done, we let them cool – obviously. . . it didn’t take too long, though I have to admit that I put them out on the back porch (in freezing weather) because I didn’t want to wait!
We then had a fabulous time coloring with what T has dubbed her “magic heart crayons.” According to Puffy Wonder, they’re magic because “you don’t know what color is gonna write!”
Puff admires some pretty bits of wax that were too tiny to make it into our new crayons.
To those of you who might try this, don’t worry, her fingers are dyed from the markers she had played with earlier in the day – not as a result of our crayon destruction!

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