This Christmas may feel a little different because of the coronavirus precautions, but there’s no need for spirits to be dampened. Make light out of darker times and create sustainable, DIY Christmas presents with the kids by upcycling old and broken wax crayons into glorious, colourful candles.
Most parents of school-age children will have a stockpile of old wax crayons lying around – kids’ crayons will usually be non-toxic, but be sure to double check first.
What you will need:
- - Wax crayons, sorted by colour
- - Old candles or new, clear candle wax (available online)
- - Tabbed candle wick (available in the UAE online or at supermarkets and crafting stores)
- - Two old ice lolly sticks (optional)
- - Glass or other heat-resistant receptacle to be your candle holder
- - A selection of microwave-proof paper cups
How to make the candles
Since crayon wax is different from candle wax, you will need to add some regular wax into the mix as well. If you don't, the candles won't burn very brightly, or for very long. Got old birthday candles or tea lights hanging around? They are perfect for this – otherwise you can also buy candle wax separately as flakes, pellets or even as a block (it’s better to slice this into smaller bits so it melts quicker).
Measure out enough clear candle wax or old birthday candles to fill your candle holder, plus some extra and set it aside.
Peel off any paper crayon wrappers and then ask your child to break up the crayons into small pieces. If the wrapper does not come away easily, you can soak them in water for a few minutes. You will need roughly 6 crayons per 1 cup (225 grams) of wax.
Ask your child to sort the crayons by colour: all of the shades of green in one paper cup, all of the shades of blue in another, and so on.
Ask your child to carefully place a tabbed wick in the middle of the glass candle holder and secure it with a drop of hot wax. You can also use a drop of super glue or a piece of double-sided tape, or some tabbed wicks come with adhesive attached. You can also place two ice-cream sticks to either side of the wick to hold it steady.
Melting the wax
Pick one of the paper cups containing one shade of coloured crayons. Top it up with candle wax, and then put it into the microwave. Heat in the microwave for around 2 minutes, stirring well in between with one of the lollipop sticks, until the wax has melted all the way through and the colour has been mixed evenly. Children will love watching the solid wax soften into a liquid, and this makes for a great opportunity to teach them the scientific principles of solids, liquids and gases.
Making the candle
Carefully our the coloured molten wax into the glass cup. Let this first layer dry for a few minutes and then do the same melting procedure with every other batch of coloured crayons, making sure to let them dry between each layer. And your beautiful crayon candles are ready!
First published on December 16, 2020