Saturday, October 2, 2010

Crayon Melts: Fall Leaves

I made crayon melts with my pre-school kids a long time ago, but after re-visiting this project, I remembered how much adult participation it takes.  It’s a cool project that uses materials you most likely already have in your home, but if you plan on doing this with young ankle-biters, realize that you will be doing most of the work.  On the plus doesn’t take that much time.  Child participation really depends on you and the age of your comfortable are you with your child using an iron? ...etc.  Supervision is the name of this game! 
  • Crayons - this is a great way to use up all those broken crayons you may have lying around.  This projects works best when using really tiny bits of crayon, so shavings are ideal (use an old cheese grater or pencil sharpener).  You can also bash then up (like I did) in a plastic baggie using a hammer or rolling pin...just make sure the crayons are in tiny bits.  Crayon crushing could be fun for the kids if you allow it.  ;-)
  • Wax Paper - two equally large pieces
  • Ironing Board & Iron
  • Old Towel (that you don't have strong feelings for)
  • Paper Towels - enough for several layers
  • Leaf Template (or eyeball it if you can)
  • BlueStik re-usable mounting putty (for sticking leaves to window) - I find it works better than tape on the wax paper. It’s great stuff...comes off cleanly & easily, but holds really well. I use it all over my house.
  • (Optional Supplies) - whole punch, fishing line, brown construction paper (for a trunk if you want to add to your leaves for a fall tree decoration.
  • Sharpie permanent marker
Turn your crayons into rubble or shavings  (remember that finer = better)
Place the not so loved towel on your ironing board and then one sheet of wax paper atop the towel.
Sprinkle your colorful rubble onto the wax paper, spread it out and cover with the second layer of wax paper...
like so
Place several 3-4 layers of paper towel (or another cloth towel that you don’t love) over the wax paper sandwich.  YOU WANT TO DO protects your iron from getting all waxy.
Now it’s time for your iron (which is set to medium to medium high heat and WITHOUT steam) ... in sections, press and hold for a few seconds, being sure to cover all the waxy territory.
Firmly smooth your iron all over and smell the melty crayon goodness.
Lift up the paper towels and sneak a peek every now and then to see if all your colors are melted and marbling together.
...should look something like this
Enlarge or shrink as you wish
Using a template (or free-hand), lightly trace a leaf shape on your cooled sheet of wax (a Sharpie is a bit better on the waxy surface) can also just cut blindly without a traced image if you have the skills (this eliminates the marker lines).  You can make one huge leaf to put in your window, or cut out lots of smaller leaves.

Because the crayon cools and hardens, cutting can break up the wax along the edges.  After your shapes are cut, place your leaf/leaves back in-between the towel sandwich and run your iron over them again to re-melt and seal the edges.
See how the edges are separated?  Back under the heat they go!
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR FALL LEAVES! (anything that involves a window and light)  
Punch a hole (with your hole puncher) and hang them in front of a window with fishing line.  They look so pretty swaying and twirling in the air. 
Cut a tree trunk out of a piece of brown construction paper and make a tree window decoration.  Attach the trunk and leaves to the window using the BlueStik mounting putty (or you could try little tape rolls).
Or...just stick them to the window and call it macaroni.  Have fun & get messy!  ~ Jenna

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