Saturday, September 28, 2013

Finger Crayons

I had to pick up a few cleaning supplies and normally I walk right past the $1 bins of landfill fodder at Target, but I’m only human and when there is purple glow-in-the-dark dog poop shinning like a glorious beacon from heaven…well who could resist? But I shall save my praises of purple poop for a later post, this is about what was next to it. 

At first glance it looked like a silicone tray, which can be filled with broken crayons, tossed in the oven until crayons are melted and made into new interestingly shaped crayons. It’s been my experience that most of these new interesting shapes aren’t very conductive to coloring once you’ve matured past the scribble phase, so I was excited to see these finger molds which seemed like they might churn out more user friendly crayons.

At second glance, not that being in the $1 bin shouldn’t have been my first tip off, I realized this tray was more likely Silicone’s cheap trashy cousin and not Silicone at all. Not that I let that discourage me, it just meant a change of plan.

I didn’t think it would survive in the oven, even at a low temp. I could be wrong, but I have no intention of finding out. So after a little experimentation this is what I came up with. 
Not Pretty

I removed the crayon wrappers slitting down the side with an x-acto knife and sorted them by color. My first go around I layered colors which really detracted from the finger details, solid colors look best.

A heaping tablespoon of crushed crayon, which is about the equivalent of three crayons, was needed for each mold cavity. It really is a cheap mold and badly warped so it didn’t exactly fill level, some could have used a little more or a little less, but it's not like I'm getting graded on this.

I hammered the crayons between waxed freezer paper, so the smaller pieces would melt easier. If you don’t have enough of one color I suggest pairing it with one if its color wheel neighbors. Red’s with oranges, oranges with yellows, yellows with greens and so forth. 

To melt the crayons I half-filled a 6 oz. glass custard dish with hot water, dumped a heaping tablespoon of crushed crayon into a 3 oz. disposable plastic cup*, and placed the cup in the dish. Then I tightly covered them with plastic wrap to keep the plastic cup from floating up and tipping over.  

I poked a few holes in the top to vent, microwaved it for 45 seconds and let it stand for 2 minutes. 

Then I poured the molten wax into the mold and let it cool. Some of those with mixed colors I didn’t stir, which produced a mottled effect. I should have scrubbed the mold with hot water and a stiff brush in between batches because I got some color transference I didn’t want. 

Exhibit A
*These plastics cups** are not heat proof. See exhibit A.

I still used each cup multiple times because it seemed silly to waste a bunch of plastic while recycling. Despite being all warped and shrivelly, they worked fine. 

**I didn’t want to clean crayon off anything good, so I used what I had on hand.***

***These were left over from last year when I used them as jello molds for a lychee experiment. They looked good, if by good I mean looked like creepy eyeballs, but I didn’t care for the texture or flavor of the canned lychees. Only one person liked them, so will not ever be making again, but your mileage may vary.