Tag Archives: gifts for classmates

Back to School!

Today was Sir’s first full day of school, which means that I spent the last two days in a frenzy whipping up little First Day of School gifts for him and all of his new little friends.

At first, I had planned on just doing our homemade crayons (tutorial here) in handmade envelopes, but then (at the last minute, of course) I decided we should add a little something more.

So, I shrunk down some of the coloring pages I’ve designed, printed them out, cut them down to 4×4″ squares and tied them together with bits of colored string to make mini-coloring books. It really didn’t take much effort and it made for much better gifts than just a crayon or two.

I popped a little coloring book and one crayon into each envelope, wrote a quick note inside, and sealed them up with a sticker. Voila! Cute, useful, and relatively inexpensive (I determined that the whole project cost around $5 total – not bad for 11 kids) gifts. It was a tad time-consuming, but I’m sure the kids will love them and Sir was so excited to share presents with his friends, so it was totally worth it.

I am currently working on an envelope-making tutorial to share since several people have asked me about them. I’m hoping to have it up by early next week.

In other school-related news, I must admit that I was over the moon to receive our first Scholastic book order form today – probably a bit much, I know, but I used to LOVE ordering books when I was in school. Books and art supplies are the two things that we don’t really put strict buying limits on in our household, and Sir often reaps the benefits of this arrangement (despite the fact that every bookshelf in our house is practically overflowing). I can hardly wait to place our first order!

 Psst…this is my 500th post.






More cool stuff:

Making Crayons : A How-To

Friends, I am happy to announce that, with regards to crayon making, I have redeemed myself!

After ruining my first batch of crayons (read all about it here), I decided to change my methods a bit and give it another go. I learned three very important things from my first failed attempt at crayon making:

  1. Plain Crayola crayons work much better for this purpose than Washable Crayola crayons (I have no idea why, but it may be the difference in texture).
  2. Molds with small/thin parts (tips of stars, fish tails, etc.) are far more likely to crack than chunky shapes like circles and hearts. Honestly, the stars were a complete loss even on the second go-around. I won’t ever use them again.
  3. Crayons must be left to harden for 2-3 hours before being removed from the molds – the longer the better!

Take heed, people, and learn from my mistakes.

Okay, so, you want to know how to make crayons for real this time? Well, here goes.

Depending on the size/shape of your molds, this will make about 12 small crayons or 6 crayon sticks (if you’re using the silicone molds from IKEA, like I did). Adjust accordingly for the number of crayons you need.

What you need:

1 box of 24 Crayola crayons OR broken pieces of crayons you want to recycle
1 silicone mold with shapes like hearts, circles, etc.  (I bought mine at IKEA for $1.99 each)
non-stick cooking spray (optional)


What you need to do:

If using new crayons, peel the labels off and then break the crayons into small pieces (I broke each of my crayons into about 4-5 pieces).

Pre-heat oven to 225°.

Spray molds with non-stick cooking spray, if desired (I did this with the first batch and not the second and noticed no real difference when it came time to release the crayons from the molds).

Place crayon pieces into the molds. You can mix colors however you or your little ones please. Put enough in that they are stacked slightly over the top of the mold.

Place your mold(s) on a foil-lined cookie sheet and put them in the oven.

Watch crayons closely. They should melt fully within 10-15 minutes. If wax begins to smoke, remove from oven.

When all wax is evenly melted, carefully remove from the oven and allow to cool undisturbed for at least 2 hours (the longer the better). Note: some instructions suggest putting the crayons in the freezer to speed cooling, this DID NOT work for me and I think it may have been part of the reason for all of the cracking.

After crayons have hardened, remove from molds. Patience is key here – slow and steady wins the race (or, in this case, doesn’t end up with a bunch of broken crayons). Carefully stretch the molds around your crayons to release them. You may here some popping/cracking sounds during this process. Once all parts of the crayon are released, they should pop right out. Some instructions suggest running warm water over your molds to loosen the crayons, but I didn’t find this necessary the second time around.

If any of the crayons crack, place them back in the mold and re-melt the wax. Let harden again and remove them from the molds as stated above.

Other things that are helpful to know:

If most of your wax is melted, but there are some lingering chunks, carefully mix them in with a toothpick. They should blend in quickly and easily.

Wax will stick to your molds. To remove it, fill mold with water, microwave for about 1 minute, dump water, and wipe molds with a paper towel. I would still recommend using molds that you do not intend to use for any food-related purposes though.

Wax can also be melted in the microwave (although, I’ve not tried this method) for 1-2 minutes and then poured into molds. Just be sure to watch carefully so as not to overheat wax.


What to do with them:

Give them as gifts (we will be passing ours out to Sir’s classmates on the first day of school).

Use them as birthday party favors.

If your child’s school doesn’t allow food treats for birthday celebrations, pass crayons out instead.

Keep them for yourself and color, color, color!!!

photos : our lovely homemade crayons by yours truly

More cool stuff: