Thursday, February 13, 2014

valentines (or an ode to biting off a bit more than i want to chew)

since having finn, i have really loved making handmade valentines with him (read: crafting by myself). this is the first year he will have a valentine exchange at school, and being that finn isn't a huge fan of candy, we scoured pinterest for some candy alternative ideas.

finn picked these marble crayon things. i am sure you have all seen them before, and the idea seemed pretty simple - take the paper wrapper off the crayons, break the crayons up into little pieces and melt them into a silicone mold. what could possibly go wrong? (spoiler alert: EVERYTHING!)

we ventured to ikea in search of some (inexpensive) silicone molds- side note: a trip to ikea in vancouver has become quite the trek. there is an ikea somewhat near our house- a 10 minute drive, but the employees there have been on strike since early last year, so to show a smidgen of respect, we have been half-heartedly trying to avoid shopping at ikea all together, but when we simply MUST get something super important (like a silicone mold), we have opted to drive an extra 20 minutes to the further away ikea that's not on strike. long story short, this was kind of an excessive venture.

it took me a good hour to get all the paper off the crayons. some were really glued on there, and even with the use of a knife, it took more work than i was expecting. then the breaking of crayons. a lot harder than you would think. my thumbs ached after, and i still needed to use a knife to cut them into smaller fragments- getting little tiny wax crayon shards EVERYWHERE.

so - we got the mold, gathered and processed the crayons (150 in total to make 25 big crayons in the end), lugged out the microwave (which we keep in storage because we don't use it)… so lets get started!

we started using the ikea mold- the one jeff so kindly pointed out to me that said 'for water only' on the side. to which i replied 'it will be fine!' big surprise, the mold MELTED in the microwave! i didn't want to spend a ton of money on a mold that would really only be used for this project, but Michael's had a perfect heart shaped one (meant to be used in the oven!) but at $17, i was definitely reluctant. after a week of flip-flopping, a 50% off coupon landed in my inbox, and i bit the bullet.

from this point on, it was pretty much smooth sailing. the crayons turned out SO sweet, and besides a huge mess of wax covering most of the surfaces in my kitchen, i am happy with the results. would i do it again? probably not.

so in conclusion, here are my words of wisdom if you still want to take on this project:

  • use an oven safe silicon mold- duh! (i found some less expensive ones online through amazon, and had people mention they found them at Target- i had no such luck/ time for either of these options)
  • if you have a cheap cutting board or craft mat, use this for cutting the crayons, as i may have totally ruined one of my bamboo cutting boards in the process. argh.
  • don't use your microwave. ever. for anything ;) 
  • a bottle of wine consumed while making this project may be helpful
  • remember to make one for your own kid to keep, or you may end up scrummaging through all the crayon boxes at 11:30pm to gather enough scraps to make one rainbow crayon for said kid
  • next year i will probably pick something cleaner/ easier - like this or this
  • bake the crayons at 300 degrees for around 10 minutes. carefully remove and let cool completely before attempting to remove them (you can also put them in the freezer to speed up the cooling process) - repeat until all crayons are made. 
  • the mold i used was quite large in diameter, so i only filled them 1/3 - 1/2 full