rainy day arts project: Crayon Cakes

Ah, day 4 of this dreary, rainy weather.  Are your kids bored yet?  Are the sounds of endless dvds and video games driving you mad yet?  Are you running out of ideas?  This spring I bookmarked a few good arts projects to have on hand just in case it rained during summer vacation (but four days in a row?  Come on!).  

Yesterday we made Crayon Cakes, a project I’ve seen in magazines and around the web several times, most recently at Kids in the Studio.  This is not a difficult project at all, and it’s entirely possible you already have all the necessary materials.  You’ll need: a kitchen knife, some old crayons, and one or two mini-muffin tins.

Peel the papers off the crayons and sort the crayons by color (this makes it easier to keep the chopped-up bits separate by color, so that your kids can have fun mixing their own combinations later).  An adult should use the kitchen knife to chop the crayons into pea-size (or smaller) pieces.  When I did this some of the crayon bits went flying, so take care – and you might want to spread out some newspaper on your work surface.  The chopping part takes a while, so put on some music and ask your kids to peel the papers off the crayons and sort them while you chop. 

Once the peeled crayons are chopped and separated by color, an adult can preheat the oven while the kids fill the mini-muffin tins with whatever imaginative color mixtures they like.  Amy at Kids in the Studio says to preheat the oven to 250 degrees, but Martha says 150 degrees, so I split the difference and set the oven to 200 degrees.  When your kids are happy with their assortments you can place the tins in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until the waxes have melted. 

When we took our melty wax “cakes” out of the oven, they looked kind of gross.  Not vibrant and pretty at all, and I thought we must have done something wrong, but oh well.  We let them cool to the touch, and they were stuck but good in the pan, but no worries – just pop them in the freezer for a little while and they’ll slide right out.  And then the fun surprise!  When you turn them over, they ARE vibrant, swirly fusions of color!  Hurray!  My youngest said it best when he marvelled, “…and we can actually color with them, too?” 

Yes!  JUST DON’T EAT THEM!

At Kids in the Studio, Amy describes putting her kids’ crayon cakes in her summertime Traveling Art Box.  We’re going to tape some long paper, like butcher’s paper, to the wall and create a summer mural with ours, for an ongoing summertime project.  What will you do with yours?

2 thoughts on “rainy day arts project: Crayon Cakes”

  1. I didn’t chop mine, we just broke them into pieces, so that could account for the temp difference, I’d think. We’re going to make more to have in the house, too–they’re great for making rubbings. I saw (at the Artful Parent) the idea of making rubbings and then painting over with liquid watercolors–we’ll be trying that, too.

    1. And maybe that’s why yours look so much better than mine, too! Bigger, broken pieces + fewer colors mixed together = prettier crayon cakes! Not that ‘pretty’ matters, just in photos. We had lots of fun making them; haven’t used them yet, since the sun finally came out! That crayon rubbing & paint wash project sounds like a good one, I think we’ll try that too.

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