Atlas / DIY / Preschool Projects

Melted Crayon Valentines: How I Spent Too Much Time On A Pinterest Project, With Printable

I am not a crafter.  I do not dream of my own craft room.  I do not own a sewing machine.  Every time I use a glue gun, I manage to burn my hands.

But I love the beauty of handmade things.  In my mind, I am able to sew my son a quilt with drawstrings, make my daughter pillowcase dresses and hair bows, and refinish the furniture that I’ve been hiding in our closets.  I search Etsy and Pinterst for inspiration, thinking that just maybe I will find a project that I can pull off.  Every so often, these delusions of grandeur get the best of me and I decide to attempt something beyond my means.

This is one of those projects.

It looks easy enough.  Four pictures.  Easy-to-follow instructions.  Personal, handmade Valentines with a classic cheesy greeting.

Atlas was stoked to make heart crayons for his friends, so we set out to pick up the silicone heart pans from the dollar spot at Target.  But I was too late.  They were sold out.  According to the blogosphere, I’m the only mom on Earth without the foresight to buy them in January.

I could have just called it a day and picked up a box of Transformers Valentines on the spot.  Hindsight.  Instead, we spent two afternoons covering my dining room table in shards of wax.  Because Atlas had his heart set on attaching crayons to tie dye paper that read “Have A Colorful Valentine’s Day.”  And he is far more bullheaded than I.

I thought for sure Atlas could pull off the papers and break up the crayons on his own.  We quickly learned that this was not the case.  I used an exacto knife to cut the papers for him to peel, but the crayons were just too hard to cut with a dull knife.  I put them in the microwave to soften them, but it didn’t help.  So I stepped in with a big knife and chopped them in to pea-sized bits while he picked up the pieces that flew across the room before Pearl could eat them.  How’s that for teamwork?

When we had a big bowl of chopped wax, I oiled the pans and Atlas filled them with chopped crayons.  We baked them at 230 degrees for 20 minutes and I let them sit to cool.

As they came out of the oven, I realized I had no plan to get them out.  With some trial and error, I learned that whacking the shit out of the pan on the counter provided the best result.  If you’re playing along at home, use a towel to protect your surface.  I have never had to purchase a replacement countertop, but I’m guessing it is more expensive than a box of store-bought Valentines.

At that point, I had 24 swirly round crayons in hand, and that should have been the end of it.  But upon inspection, the back half of our melted crayons were translucent wax, and when we tried to color with the that side, they didn’t work at all.  I have no patience for simple things that don’t work.  I mean, they’re crayons made from crayons.  How did that go wrong?  Frustrated, I returned to the table and began to whittle the cheap wax off the back of each crayon.  

An hour later we had functional crayons and I was ready to put this project  behind us as quickly as possible.  We printed the greeting on the back side of tie dye paper, stuck the crayons on with poster putty and sealed them with a foam heart.  Then I began the long process of picking wax shards out of every crevice in our kitchen, and wishing I had never heard of Pinterest.

Total time:  About 4 hours, mostly chopping and scraping.  Here is the template I created for the cards, having that could save you some time.
Total cost: About $18 including replacing the two mini muffin pans that are bent to hell from whacking them on the counter.
Difficulty:  Moderate, unless you are the Geppetto of wax crafts.
Veteran’s advice:  Use Crayola crayons.  Give yourself a few days lead time.  Make sure you either bag your crayons on cards or wrap them in paper or they will draw all over the inside of the kids’ mailboxes.  That would be a bummer.

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