Last Friday, I listed some of my favourite art materials to help children express themselves and emotionally regulate through artistic creation, and one of them was block crayons. As many of you could have guessed, our block crayons are homemade.
Ella is surprisingly good at not breaking her crayons… I am actually the culprit behind many of our broken crayons. I have no idea why, but whenever I engage with crayons, I break them. Ella has actually started selecting colours for me to avoid having me breaking her favourites.
I started collecting our broken crayon bits, but also purchased a few packs when they were on an amazing sale with the intention of making block crayons. The packs of 24 crayons were on sale for 50cents to $1 at the beginning of the “normal” school year. I meant to compare the results of the Crayola and Prang crayons, but we ended up needing to mix the crayon bits, but both appear to have performed equally well, so I would just buy whatever’s on sale or use what you have.
The most tedious part was peeling the crayons. If you have a toddler or preschooler who loves peeling labels, this is the job for her! Unfortunately for me, Ella is not one such toddler, and she quickly abandoned this work to test out our crayons. The process went much quicker once I started using an Exacto knife to cut through the label…
We broke up all of the crayons and sorted them together in two silicone baking molds. The heart-shaped crayons were made with a silicone muffin tray purchased from a dollar store, and the brown square mold is a Wilton Brownie Square mold.
We then baked them at 350degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes (or until completely melted). They set quickly, maybe an additional 10 minutes, but I would let them cool completely before removing them to avoid breakage.
Our block crayons have held up surprisingly well and are a big hit with Ella’s friends, especially those who are a bit younger, but they are preferable to stick crayons when doing things like leaf rubbings or trying to fill up a page quickly. Ella has recently (a month or so) transitioned to the pincher grip with her drawings, so I think she may not like the sensory input of having a block crayon against her palm at this developmental phase. I actually think it would be beneficial to use them to transition between fist holding and pincher grip if a child’s fingers were long enough to securely position them, and I hold that they are a better material than stick crayons during times of upset as they pose less risk of breaking and frustrating the child and are able to create soft sweeping images quickly.
We made 24 block crayons and 6 heart-shaped crayons with less than four packs of crayons. There were several crayons left over, mostly in colours that didn’t really match the others or in colours that we had too many of — I was really disappointed in how few pink crayons were included!
Total cost for this DIY was $3.
Which DIY art material would you like to see next?