My daughter is nearly two and over the last few months at daycare she has begun finger-painting, sponge-painting and coloring with crayons. I am not yet brave enough to venture into the realm of toddler-painting at my home, but crayons do not seem nearly as daunting. The regular crayons at the PX here at JBLM are too small and fragile for her sweet, chubby little hands to grasp and use effectively. I saw some chunky toddler crayons online for a pretty penny. So, I spent an afternoon creating some star-shaped homemade toddler crayons. These crayons are great for regular, home-use but they also make fantastic party favors.
You will need some specialized supplies for this crafty DIY, so plan ahead. Be sure to use non-toxic crayons and a BPA-free silicon mold or an oven-safe baking tin. This project is an excellent way to make use of broken crayons in your home, or you can purchase new crayons. I bought some crayons in bulk from amazon and purchased a Wilson star-shaped silicon mold. (Keep in mind that once you use the mold for this crayon-project, you cannot bake in it again, so do not use your favorite baking mold to make toddler crayons!)
- First, you need to peel the paper off the crayon. This is a great step to involve younger children in. (Tip: an adult can slit each crayon wrapper with a pair of scissors or a knife to facilitate quicker removal).
- Preheat the oven to 250F.
- Organize the crayons by color if you want. This will make it quicker to sort the crayon bits into the cups. Start planning the color of toddler crayons you want: contrasting colors, complimentary, rainbow, single color, tonal, etc.
- Break the crayons into small pieces and drop the pieces into the silicon mold cups. (Tip: 3-4 crayons worth of pieces should be enough per mold cup). Get creative and mix colors, layer them, place them strategically in the corners and see how the designs come out after baking! (Tip: do not combine more than 3 colors into one mold or the crayon will tend towards a brown/black color).
- Bake the crayons in a 250F oven for about 30 minutes. (Tip: Ovens vary! Watch the crayons as they melt; when there are no more chunks in the mold cups, they are done).
- Take the crayons out of the oven. Now at this point you can either be done, and let the crayons dry, or you can use a straw or toothpick to swirl the colors inside a mold to get a neat effect once dried. (Tip: if you don’t desire the ‘swirl’ effect, I still recommend stirring solid colored cups because this will reduce the appearance of the white waxy layer’).
Now, depending on the quality of crayon wax, when you melt down the crayon chunks, a layer of wax may form at the top of the crayon in the mold after baking. You can either try to stir the melted crayons (if solid colors) to somewhat reincorporate the wax, or you can allow the crayons to dry and rub off the wax layer on some paper before giving the crayons to your toddler.
Your toddler WILL chew on these! That’s why you want to use non-toxic crayons to start. That’s also why the star shape is so fun; there are five corners to chew!