Hiya Beautiful Creative Monkeys!
Upcycling is a new term–not yet mainstream–that Webster’s Dictionary should consider as a new word for their next edition. Purposeful alike recycling, upcycling is a way to take something used or broken and transform it into something new and useful. This concept appeals to the creative monkeys at our house as I constantly find cut up tissue boxes, toilet paper rolls and other assorted would-be-recyclables, stashed under my daughters’ beds.
This week’s projects can be done in two parts, or combined for a nice full afternoon of togetherness. Upcycle some old crayons into new colorful ones, and then get out in your garden and rub your trees and you’ll end up with some really pretty wrapping paper.
♥ old crayons
♥ Exacto or sharp knife (or you could skip this step and peel the wrappers by hand)
♥ baking tray
♥ preheat oven to 250° F/120° C
♥ paper for tree rubbings
As we constantly make crayons at our house for our craft fairs, we’ve got crayon prep down to an art, so I’ll share some special Monkey Chi Monkey Do secrets that will make your crayons turn out magnificently.
Ready? Ok, Turn off ALL mobile and electronic devices, ignore your home phone, and BE completely present with your loved one(s). Your full presence and undivided attention is a true gift to yourself and your monkeys, a present you all deserve.
Shhhh, here’s Monkey Secret #1: Put your crayons in the refrigerator for a couple hours ahead of project time. This will shrink the crayons a little and simplify wrapper removal.
When you’re ready to peel the crayons, preheat your oven to 250° F/120° C.
Using an Exacto knife, er wait, what’s that noise? EeEeEeEe—(Cue the announcer.)
WE INTERRUPT THIS TUTORIAL TO BRING YOU AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM SAFETY MONKEY.
Safety Monkey says, “EeEeEe … Safety First! Be careful and pLEeEeEeze… ADULTS ONLY should use Exacto knives! Monkey Chi Monkey Do projects should never wind up in the EeEeEemergency Room. EeEeEe, thanks.”
Got that? Ok, back to the fun stuff.
Using an Exacto knife, CAREFULLY cut a straight line along the crayon wrapper seam. Pass crayons to your buddy to remove the wrappers. (Oooh and SAVE THE WRAPPERS! We have a future upcycling project that will transform these colorful little bitsies of paper into something beautiful.)
When the crayons are shivering, arrange several tinfoil cups on a baking sheet. Snap crayons in pieces and cover the entire bottom of cup–at least two crayon widths deep–to make nice chunky-sized crayons.
We sometimes sort by color, all greens in one cup, making one swirlywhirly green crayon. Experiment and have fun. Lay out an entire rainbow in one cup cover with another layer of color on top for a surprise crayon.
Monkey Secret #2: Preheat your oven and then SWITCH IT OFF when your crayons go in. This helps to reduce color and paraffin separation. (Sometimes when crayons melt, the color pigment and wax separate and you end up with a white film across the top of the crayon … a film that will not color. If you let too much heat out, you may need to turn the oven on again, but don’t leave it on above 200 otherwise crayons may smoke. (If you end up with a little film, not to worry, just take a veggie peeler and peel the edges down to the colorful part.)
Old crayon friends ready for melting? Okeydoke, now quickly place the cookie sheet in the preheated oven (250° F/120° C) and TURN OFF THE OVEN. This is more fun than watching grass grown, so stay near your crayons and watch them melt. It will take just a few minutes depending on your oven’s heat intensity, but do not leave them longer than necessary otherwise they may smoke. Once the crayons have melted and you no longer see any of the original shapes, carefully remove from oven and place somewhere away from oven to cool. If the monkeys are getting restless, you can place them in the fridge once they’re not burning hot to cool them faster (Abbey asked me to clarify after posting this …. put the crayons in the fridge NOT the monkeys). Once cooled completely, they will easily pop out of the cups.
Here’s part 2. Grab some paper and head outside to start the treerubbing part. Place paper against tree trunk, grab crayon and rub the flat side against the tree. We also recommend hugging the tree too, it adds good Chi (energy) to the whole experience! When we went tree rubbing, we didn’t stop at trees. I think everything except our Jackson, our dog, was rubbed in our back yard, the picnic table, swing set, trees, leaves, toys.
Next time, we’ll try colored paper, larger sheets, and also paper that’s already been used on one side—oh again with the UPCYCLING. We are so trendy!
What do you think of these ideas? Don’t you have a stash of old crayon friends just begging to be reborn as jewels? Are you going to use the word Upcycling in your everyday conversation? How bout tree rubbing … gonna give it a try? Come back and comment to let us know how it goes.
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Sending you LOVE and wishes for a wonderful happy CREATIVE togetherness experience!
Becky and the Monks