Last year, block crayons crossed my radar as I was gathering supplies for my preschooler. I’m a *sucker* for the beautiful, natural inspired Waldorf toys, and these crayons are what they use in Waldorf Kindergartens. Block crayons are great for small hands, and the children are encouraged to cover the whole paper with color.
I was intrigued, but NOT intrigued enough to pay over $20 for a set of beeswax block crayons. (affiliate link) Not when I can buy a box of 24 Crayola crayons for .50 at back to school sales.
But of course, that got me thinking: could I MAKE these for a fraction of the price? I always have a stash of extra crayons that I tuck away during the back to school sales. My Mom was an art teacher, and we used to make crazy crayons out of our old leftovers…so I felt certain that it was going to be doable. Turns out, it’s really easy to make your own block crayons!
[bctt tweet=”DIY #waldorf crayons for $2! My preschooler LOVES these. http://gwens-nest.com/?p=6967″]
Here’s What You’ll Need
- standard size crayons: I bought about 4 boxes of the super cheap Crayola 24 color crayons. Each chunky block crayon requires 8-9 regular sized crayons, so I blended a few of the colors, and made up the rest from our crayon scrap bucket from last year.
- a heat source: crayons melt between 120 and 150 degrees. I used a bottle warmer to melt my crayons, and small plastic cups so I didn’t have any clean up.
- a mold: to make your block crayons.
- optional: an xacto knife to make the peeling process LOADS easier, and wooden popsicle sticks to stir your wax.
My total cost in this was about $2!
The thing that had me stumped was the shape. I couldn’t think of any type of mold or container that was the right shape. I looked at soap molds and storage containers…all too big. I looked at ice cube and candy molds…all too small.
And then the solution presented itself and it was already in my desk drawer:
The little plastic boxes that hold office supplies are the PERFECT size for block crayons! With our supplies all in hand, we went to work!
How to Make Block Crayons
Step 1: Pick your colors.
Each one of my block crayons used 8-9 standard sized crayons to fill the mold. Depending on the size of your mold, you may need more or less. I didn’t have 8-9 of the exact same colors for many of the ones I wanted, so I just mixed and matched the colors that were close and raided last years crayon bucket to make up the extras. Each color was placed into its own little plastic cup and waited its turn in the melter. Step 2: Peel your crayons.
This was a team effort, and it was tedious because Crayola is SERIOUS about gluing those wrappers on with lots of glue! We got tiny shreds at a time, and it was taking forever. Until it occurred to me to grab my X-acto knife and just slice through the papers.
After I figured out that trick, I became the official cutter and the kids were able to take the papers off easily. We blazed through the piles of crayons!
Step 3: Melt your Crayons!
I used my handy (Thrift store purchased) bottle warmer that I often use for making things like herbal oils and salves. I put it to good use for this little project, and it worked beautifully. If you don’t have a bottle warmer, you can melt the crayons by putting them into a low oven, or a crock pot (with a little water in the bottom) or even in a microwave.
I used wooden popsicle sticks to stir and blend the colors, and to make sure that all of the wax was melted. This one is almost ready!
Step 4: Pour into your mold.
Or have your 4 year old do it…to the best of his ability. Bless his heart. He was SO excited to help make his crayons!
I used the same mold for every color, and the crayons just pop out cleanly when they’re dry. It just took a few minutes, and by the time the green was dry, my next color of wax was nearly melted and ready to go in.
After removing the crayon from the mold, you can use a butter knife to tidy up those top edges if you like. We had fun scrubbing down the edges on some brown paper to make them nice and smooth.
P.S. Using the bottle warmer, the wax was hot but didn’t burn, and popped off of skin almost instantly as it cooled. So I felt safe allowing both of my kids to help with this project.
[bctt tweet=”Making block crayons was a really fun (and cheap!) afternoon project http://gwens-nest.com/?p=6967“]
We LOVE Block Crayons!
Making block crayons was a really fun (and cheap!) afternoon project, and the kids were SUPER excited to use them.
We stacked them in this little organizer basket, and both of my younger kids (then 6 and 4) had a blast coloring and drawing with them.
My youngest made a BIG letter on his page with the short side of a crayon…
and then used the corner to draw skinnier lines.
My girlie was a little more skeptical. Since we’d made these for the preschooler, she felt like they’d be too babyish. She started out with just a border…but then drew a page full of colors in just minutes. This was FUN!
Then she went on to draw this awesome robot! She enjoyed playing with the crayons to create shapes: squares, rectangles, and she even swirled one around to make a circle.
My kids both love to draw and color, and they’ve enjoyed using the block crayons along with their regular crayons all year. They love these for adding in backgrounds, sky, water, and just getting BIG color on the page quickly. In fact, they’re scattered across the desks right now from a drawing project earlier today. The block crayons have held up really well, and are super sturdy!
I highly recommend this DIY project if your kids enjoy coloring. Have you ever used block crayons? Do you think you’ll give this a shot?
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