Giving Out Something You Made Yourself that Kids Can Use
When my youngest daughter was in fourth grade a pizza party was mentioned as a reason for their Halloween party. The problem arose when the class needed to find a way to pay for it. The teacher had a EUREKA moment when she mentioned that they could recycle their old crayons. (Every school has tons of broken crayons.)
The teacher asked for volunteers to help with this very interesting project and Rachel nominated her stay at home mom. She decided that if mom can knit and crochet she can figure out how to do this. How could I say “no” to that?
The next day Rachel started bringing home bag after bag of broken crayons. The whole school was getting rid of their broken crayons. At that time there were no readily available instructions as to how to do this. No computers, no internet. Just good old-fashioned intuition. The first thing to do was to take the paper off the crayons and sort them according to color. All the blues went in one pile, all the yellows, all the greens…and so on. We invented a new sort of ROYGBIV–(Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet). I then had to figure out how to melt the crayons and how I was going to re-shape them.
I had an electric deep fat fryer which I didn’t use so I knew I could heat up water in that to a consistent temperature and use it as sort of a double boiler. The basket could be used to hold different containers–one container per color. I started looking around for different containers and came up with quite an assortment of one pound metal coffee cans and even cans from various fruits and veggies. Each can had to be bent so pouring liquidfied crayons would be easy.
The next thing I needed was how to mold the crayons. Rachel (who is artsy and craftsy like her mother) suggested candy molds or popsicle molds. GREAT IDEA!! I searched all over Glendive for candy molds. There were none available. So, a trip out of town was needed. 225 miles up and 225 miles back just to get candy molds and we don’t figure in the cost of gas and meals away from home. This is just something that we’re used to doing.
The weekend was spent taking paper off, sorting and ultimately melting the crayons. The deep fat fryer was filled with water and plugged in…..containers were readied….and the crayons melted. It worked beautifully. The colors each formed a whole new color and the candy molds worked great. When the crayons were cooled they just popped right out of the molds. By Monday, Rachel had a whole batch of new crayons for school. The fourth grade then re-sold the crayons (at a nominal amount) to the kids at school. They went wild and even started trading different crayons.
The fourth grade learned a lesson about business and marketing and had their pizza party. I wasn’t invited.
HOW TO MAKE SIDEWALK CHALK: (You will need)–3/4 cup plaster of paris or patching powder; tempra paints; 1/4 cup water; candy molds, popsicle molds or even the tube from the inside of the toilet paper and rubber bands. FOR ONE STICK OF WHITE CHALK: Mix together plaster of paris or patching powder with the water until the mixture is thick like mashed potatoes or toothpaste. (If it’s runny keep adding plaster of paris by tablespoons until it thickens) (If too thick, add water.) Place a square of was paper on one end of the cardboard tube and fasten with rubber band. Spoon the mixture into the tube. Try to pop or push any air bubbles. Let the tube rest upright on the was paper for 3 to 4 hours or until set up. Peel off the cardboard tube (it will be damp). Let the chalk dry completely before using.
TO MAKE COLORED CHALK: Repeat the above directions but add tempra paint to the chalk mixture to color the chalk. If using dry tempra paint add 3 tablespoons paint to plaster of paris before mixing with water. If using liquid tempra paint, add it to the mixture after you add the water. (Use as much as you need to get the color you want.) This mixture can be carefully poured into candy molds or popsicle molds, hardened and released.