There is no way that my students need more candy for Valentines Day. Yet what is a toddler going to do with one of those paper Valentines? I turned to Pinterest and found inspiration.
One of my coworkers and I had a crayon-melting party to make valentines for our students! They turned out so beautifully, the process is very therapeutic, and the kids loved them – how’s that for success?!
First of all, we gathered up crayons. TONS and TONS of crayons. Luckily, our family has been hoarding crayons since the 1980s, and we had a huge drawer full of them. (This is about 6 inches deep.)
Sara and I then took the paper off a whole bunch of crayons. We kicked ourselves, realizing that we should have let our kids do this. Just the other day, mine discovered that they could take the paper off the crayon – what a fine motor workout! I bet they would have been all over it!
Oh well, we worked at it for an hour or two. Some of our crayons were so old that the paper was literally stuck to the crayon. Overall, though, it was a therapeutic exercise.
Sara suggested that we separate them into warm and cool colors. (This was a very good idea.)
We also broke the crayons up into pieces. Some of them were already broken of old age, but those we couldn’t snap apart with our hands, we just hammered!
Sara had this silicone heart mold she wanted to try out, so we filled up half with cool colors and half with warm colors. Some instructions I read said only to fill it halfway or so, but we filled ours up all the way, since it was such a small mold, and they were fine.
There was no way I was trusting my hands to hold a silicone mold and not spill crayon juice everywhere, so we set it on a cookie sheet.
We baked them in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 or so minutes.
When they came out, they were works of art.
Some of them looked unsuspectingly plain on the back, but when we removed them from the mold, their other sides were gorgeous!
The most difficult part was holding them steady while transferring them from the oven to the counter to cool. (If you move the liquid around too much, it all blends together to make brown.) We wanted as many cool swirly designs as possible!
They actually cooled a lot faster than we were expecting. I saw recommendations for “cheating” and putting them in the freezer, but ours cooled on the counter in about 20 minutes before we easily removed them from the mold.
Interestingly, we did notice a difference between the warm and cool colored crayons. The cooler ones took longer to cool – some of them ended up being a little smeared on the bottom. Also, the warmer colored crayons turned out thicker for some reason, even after we filled them up evenly in the molds.
We made 4 batches, because once we started, we just couldn’t stop! (Also, because once my mom saw how pretty they turned out to be, she wanted some for her third grade students.) So… we made 96 heart crayons. No big deal.
I took some extra ones to school and let the toddlers color with them before Valentines Day so they would know what to do with them when they took them home.
For the Valentines, I placed the a warm- and cool-colored crayon in a snack baggie, then stapled a note to the outside.