Thursday, February 9, 2017

DIY Waldorf Block Crayons

Block crayons are awesome for young children! They help promote proper grasps, teach different shading techniques and are super durable. These are commonly used in the early grades of Waldof Schools. For the purposes of this tutorial we used a new set of crayons because we were making them to include with Valentines for school but this is a great activity to recycle old broken crayons!

First you will need a rectangular silicone mold. I was looking for a way to make our own Block Crayons for quite a while, I was searching for the perfect mold shape that would allow us to make a bunch of crayons in one shot. I really struggled to find something that fit the bill. I've see a few people use plastic molds from eraser packaging but this seemed super labor intensive - making one at a time. I stumbled across this mold accidentally, somehow all the searches I did came up empty and finally while mistyping a search term this popped up! Order one for yourself here!

Block crayons are excellent for little ones to grasp and are awesome for shading and coloring large areas because of the wide sides, they also are much harder to break. This Mold is the perfect 1 inch by 2 inch size for making these specialized crayons. Its helpful to take a look at this video if you are unfamiliar with block crayons and how they are used. A few other fun Silicone Mold options also shown above are the Lego Men Mold  and Heart Shaped Mold (which is awesome for promoting a tripod grasp).

Start off with new or old crayons, make sure to sort them out by the different brands you might have in your stash.  Any non-crayola crayons do not do well in this project - cheaper crayons tend to have way more wax and the wax separates out from the color.  So if you need new crayons definitely grab Crayola Crayons.

Start the project by prepping them to peel by placing some warm (NOT hot, they will melt and you will have a mess) water and a pump or two of dish soap into a baking pan.  Lay out your crayons and let them soak for a few minutes. After a little bit you'll notice the paper will start to peel off of the crayon and you will be able to easily slide them out or unravel the paper. If you notice that your crayons aren't peeling try added some more warm water to your tray. If you would like to do a natural version of these using beeswax and natural pigments +The Hippy Homemaker has an awesome recipe on her blog.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Once your crayons are peeled and dry you can begin placing them in the molds. Fill them high! If there are a bit higher than the top of the mold that is OK the crayons will settle when they melt. If you don't fill them enough you will end up with tiny, thin crayons that will probably break when you try to remove them.

For kids the crayons may be hard to break with their hands. Adults can use a knife to chop them up or  if you want to have the kids involved try using these Handy wooden choppers that my kids used to make theirs smaller. They also love these tools for helping make dinner to chop carrots or other fresh veggies, make cheese cubes and more.   

Set a timer for 10 minutes, and with your mold placed on a cookie sheet put them in the oven. After the timer has gone off go back and check your crayons, if your crayons seem to low in the mold you can add a few additional pieces to them (these will melt faster if they are smaller pieces). Block crayons work best when they are nice and thick you'll want the spaces filled as much as possible.

Set the timer for another 5-7 minutes, after a few more minutes your crayons should all have melted. They will be ready to come out and cool. You can cool them on the counter or place in the freezer cool if if you want them ready faster. If you are making your crayons out of multiple colors I like to use a tooth pick to swirl the melted colors before they cool to give them a marbled effect.

Once cooled carefully remove your block crayons!  Our finished products turned out really awesome!



You may find If you have some colorless wax that separated from your crayons, simply shave it off using a vegetable peeler to smooth the backside of the crayon. I believe that quickly cooling your crayons in a freezer can help to reduce the wax separation on the back (top).  Its super easy to remove it and you will have beautiful and affordable block crayons you made at home!

In case you are making these for a Valentine treat! 
We've prepped a cute printable Valentine for you to include with your molded crayons! 

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