In each of the classes I have taught in I have always had a tray of broken wax crayons. It seems that children only need to look at wax crayons and they break. So I wish I had seen this activity back then and made good use of all those odds and ends. Typically now I don’t have access to lots of old wax crayons so ironically had to use new ones! PoundLand do a pack of 48 wax crayons so it didn’t break the bank. After doing a bit of research I also discovered my new-ish Ikea ice cube trays are now made from synthetic rubber and cannot be used in the oven. So I ended up buying an oven-proof silicone mould.
I experimented with two methods of making our own wax crayons. Both methods start off the same – taking off the paper from around the wax crayons and cutting them into small pieces.
Method 1 – using the oven
I heated the oven to 220 degrees and placed the oven-proof mould onto a baking tray to make it easier to get in and out of the oven. I then filled the mould with a variety of different coloured cut up wax crayons ensuring the small parts were covered. The tray went in the oven for 10-15 minutes. I checked it frequently until all the wax had melted. Once out of the oven I left the mould on the work surface overnight – but only because it was bed time. You could put it in the fridge to speed up the process or just leave them on the side for about 30 minutes until they are set.
Getting the gingerbread wax crayons out of the mould was fairly tricky.
Out of 8 men only 3 were fully formed although the rest of them could still be used. I was also surprised how shallow the wax had become so I would certainly put more wax crayons into the mould next time.
Method 2 – using the microwave
I was undecided about using this method. Google ranged from “its easy” to “highly flammable” so I was very cautious about doing it. However, curiosity won over. This time I separated all the wax crayons into different colour families. I placed all the shades of blue and green into a small old microwavable bowl and popped it in the microwave on a small plate. Being cautious I set the timer for 30 second intervals. It took 2-3 minutes for the wax to melt.
I had read somewhere that spraying the inside of the mould with oil would help to remove the shapes once they had dried so I gave it a try. Using an oven mitt I removed the plate and poured the melted wax into the non-oven proof ice cube tray. It took about half an hour for the wax to cool.
I found several disadvantages to using the microwave method. Despite using a wide selection of colours, the wax melted into one solid colour. It didn’t have the swirl effect that was created in the oven. It also required more crayons to create less shapes. The melted wax could not be removed from the microwavable bowls and they had to be thrown away. Although the oil did make it easier to take the shapes out it left a shiny residue over the crayons and the inside of the tray.
Adam enjoyed moving the new wax crayons around the page and spent a long time examining them. He wasn’t able to press hard enough to make much impact on the paper but that will come with time. We will definitely be on the lookout for some exciting moulds to use for the future.
There are many other ways of making wax crayons:
- Using an old saucepan on the hob – Nate And Rachael
- Using a tin can on the hob – Chic And Jo
- Using baby food jars – Fun On A Dime
- Or even in a slow cooker – Crock Pot 365
* Old wax crayons
* Sharp knife
* Chopping board
* Method 1 – oven and a silicone mould (ensure it is oven proof and that it won’t be needed in the future)
* Method 2 – Microwaveable dishes, a microwave and ice cube trays (silicone or synthetic rubber that won’t be needed in the future)
Adam was 18 months old.