Wednesday 29 August 2012

Tutorial - Home-made Crayons

~by Emi

With the advent of yet more rain, I woke up this morning and knew that it was going to be an arty sort of day. Now, as a family, we really enjoying creating in a vast array of mediums; painting, sticking, gluing, cutting up, ripping, sewing, guitaring, singing, song-writing... So many.

Apart from Pixie.

Poor little Pixie.

Too small for Ru's crayon rocks...

Too small to use Daddy's music software...

Too small to play Mama's guitar properly...

It seemed unfair for her to be left out simply because she is Little. Have you ever watched a child painting or drawing or colouring in? It's so wonderful to watch them be so engrossed in that moment, completely transfixed by their own genius. If toddlers were hipsters, they'd be saying 'Yeah, pencils are SO over-rated. I am so ALL about the crayons.'

There is definitely something almost 'healing' about art. There's a very good reason art therapy is so popular. In our family, for a toddler who can't express how frustrated he is about not being allowed a /seventh/ piece of salami, there is no better cure than angrily scribbling on a page. It's the one activity we come back to when we're ill too. Art will cure what ails ya.

But back to Pixie. She really loves Ru's crayon rocks, I thought, but she keeps putting them in her mouth. And she snaps the thin ones. If only, if *only* there were a way to make big, thick, baby-palm sized chunky crayons, perfect for Pixies.

And that is what I offer you today!

Giant crayons!

This is a really easy one to do, and a great way to use up all the random, broken crayons you invariably end up finding around your home when you have children.

Firstly, find your supplies. Gather up some crayons and some silicon cupcake moulds. Choose which colours will go into which case. They really do need to be silicon moulds, they are fantastic, you can use them again, they don't melt, and you can pick up packs of them from the pound shop easily.

I went for reds/orange/yellow (fire), greens/browns (earth), blues and white (water) and... purple/pinks (for air... alright, the colours are nothing like air, but I'd already used up the yellow and blue, and you know what? Screw it, I like pink. So sue me.)

Strip off the paper wrappers, then, using a chopping board and knife, cut them up. I discovered afterwards that the bigger the chunks are, the less they mix when melted. I wish I'd known this before hand as I had this idea in my head of amazing multi-coloured crayons and they are a little more mixed at the end than I hoped for. Oh well, live and learn.

Be careful with this part. If you're not using a knife, you can get your children to break the crayons up for you. If, like me, you got up before your kids to make these to surprise them at breakfast time and you use a knife, be prepared for little bits of crayons shooting off in every direction.

The cats, who were curiously watching me, fast retreated to a safe distance when they realised that there were tiny, wax based projectiles shooting out of my workspace.

And now, we bake. 220*C for 10 minutes.

When the time is up, take them out but for the love of ruined-Jesus-fresco-in-Spain, please Be Careful! This wax is hot, and I imagine would be a bugger to clean up off the floor or worktops.

You can leave them on the worktop, out of the reach of Little hands, to set, or put them in the freezer.

I'm impatient. Guess which option I picked?

Guess which option I picked... and then forgot that I had made them?


It was only later when my family all trundled downstairs, and my husband opened the freezer that I remembered... Just as Stephen asked 'Uh... Em? Did you make... freezer cupcakes?!'

Ru, upon hearing the word 'cupcake', practically launched himself across the room and was disappointed to find no tasty, sponge-based treats, only crayons.

'But I can't eat DEESE, Mama!' he says, looking a little sad.

'Well, no, but we can draw with them!' I answer, full of enthusiasm.

'Oh.' he says, clearly underwhelmed.

He soon perks up when I get the pads of paper out, and happily starts to test the new crayons with me.

But what I'm *really* pleased about, really pleased as punch about, is Pixie.

She saw we were doing something, and with all the grace of an arthritic rhino, crawled over to us, pulled the drawing pad off the table, picked up one of the crayons and proceeded...

To put it in her mouth.


After encouraging the baby fist-sized crayon out of her mouth and showing her what to do with it, she picked the crayon up again...

Turned it over and over in her hands...

And did this...

She looked so very pleased with herself. And confused. As if by magic, streaks of colour were appearing under her clammy, clumsy, perfect baby fists. Pixie kept picking up the crayon and looking underneath it. I think she was wondering where the colours were coming from. Very cute.

I then went to make myself a cup of chai, and heard Ru say "Dat weely good, Pickle. We not eat dem though. Dey only for a *pretend* eating... (pause)... I like drawing together."

I don't think the morning could have gotten off to a better start!

Aside from the cuteness overload from my kids, this activity could also tie in some science (solids, liquids, melting), and art (colour mixing). You're also reusing all the old stubs of crayons that are too small to properly use, and we all know that the earth loves a recycler! You really could use any silicon moulds too, a quick search on Ebay came up with hundreds of really cool ones (Is it wrong I REALLY want Lego-shaped crayons?!) and you could easily whip some up from a big batch of crayons as party bag gifts.

So there you have it, giant homemade crayons!

'Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.'
~ Pablo Picasso


  1. Brilliant! Such a clever idea and so much more fun than scrabbling through the broken bits at the bottom of the box

  2. AMAZING! Definitely going to do these!