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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Melted Crayon Art: Using Old Crayons

Have you seen the crayon art on Pinterest? I don't know who originated the idea, but here's a link to an artist selling one on Etsy:

It looked like a fun project, but then it seemed so wasteful to buy a new box of sixty-four Crayola crayons to melt. I also couldn't think of a place to hang this rainbow art except maybe a kid's room, and my kids are too old for that. Then I thought, Hey, we have a huge box of old crayons. Why not make use of those? Instead of using the whole rainbow of colors, we chose a limited palette. I went with a sunset-inspired theme, Chloe chose mostly purples, and Phoebe stuck to blues. Here's how my version turned out:

I want to go back and add more yellow and melt down some of the bigger pieces of crayon but doing it this way--instead of the original way of only affixing the crayons to the top of the canvas--took a lot of time. I don't really want to see or smell crayons for a while. Here's the easy how-to:

Old crayons
Glue gun

Step 1: Peel the paper from the crayon.

Step 2: Choose your color scheme.

Step 3: Lay down a line of glue.

Step 4: Affix crayon. Repeat.

Step 5: Melt crayons with hairdryer.

Some tips:
Do it outside! Unless you are very adept at controlling your hairdryer, the melted crayon drips and splatters in unpredictable directions.

Use the hot and high setting of the hairdryer. Lean the hairdryer on the edge of the canvas. You need to be that close to the crayon to melt it. Otherwise, you'll have to wait a long time before anything happens.

Lean the canvas on a step stool to create a slight incline so the crayon can drip down the canvas.

Take breaks. It helps to stop and look at how the crayons are melting. I covered only part of my canvas to begin. Then I added more crayon pieces after I got an idea of how the colors ran into each other.

You might want to start with lighter colors. We found the melted purple crayons looked too dark and muddied the other colors.

If you spread the crayons out like we did, break them up into small pieces. We found a lot of whole crayons in the middle or bottom of the canvas were not only awkward to melt with a bulky hairdryer but also just ran off the canvas.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Shrinky Dinks Jewelry: DIY Puzzle Necklace

I saw these cute puzzle necklaces on anthropologie.com:

What a great take on the best friends necklace! Here's our version made with Shrinky Dinks, plastic that you can shrink. You can get a package of 10 sheets for about $5 at Michaels.

Shrinky Dinks paper
Colored pencils
Hole punch
Chain or string

Step 1: Find two pieces that fit together.

Step 2: Trace the pieces on the dull side of paper.

Step 3: Decorate with colored pencils.
(That's Chloe's design!)

Step 4: Cut out.

Step 5: Punch hole. Note: Hole will shrink, too!

Step 6: Lay on paper-bag lined oven tray.
Fold one corner for handy removal later.

Step 7: Shrink in 325-degree oven for 1 to 3 mins.
These 4" pieces took 3 mins.

Hee-hee, looks so funny!

Step 8: Press with casserole dish to prevent curling.

Step 9: Attach to chain.
Some tips:
Use a sharp or mechanical pencil to trace. A medium-point Sharpie is too thick and results in the puzzle pieces not fitting together properly. You can always go back and outline with a Sharpie if you like.

Phoebe's first attempt: whoops!

If you want to write something on the pieces, write it backwards, as the dull side of the paper is the bottom. Note: The artist originally wanted "Friends Forever" (see following photo) but wrote the words on the wrong pieces. I like "Forever Friends" better anyway--less overused.

By Lian: she made the colors match up--so smart!

The Shrinky Dink package indicates that you can expect the plastic to shrink about 1/3 of its original size. We found that a large 4" puzzle piece shrank to about 1-1/2", which we put on a 16" chain. The only drawback to the larger size is that it's more likely to curl. You can try heating it up again and smashing it flat.

The smaller puzzle piece (2-1/2") formed a thicker pendant that suits smaller necks, 14" chain. Also, the hole to pendant ratio seemed more appropriate.

By Halle: Rainbow & Dots

Friday, January 13, 2012

Nondairy Gingerbread Cookies


Adapted from Martha Stewart's gingerbread cookies recipe

3 cups flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
2 t ground ginger
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/4 c + 2 T grapeseed oil
1/2 c brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 c unsulfured molasses

Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. Mix oil and sugar together in an electric mixer. Add egg and molasses. Turn mixer down to low and add dry ingredients.

Divide dough in half  and shape each half into a ball. Pat each ball into a disk by flattening the dough with the palm of your hand. Shaping the dough into a disk now will make it easier to roll out later. Wrap each half in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place dough on a piece of parchment paper dusted with flour. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Return dough to refrigerator for 15 minutes. 

Roll dough from center out to edge,
not back and forth.

Turn paper 1/4 turn, then again roll from center to edge.

Cut dough out into shapes.

Remove scraps around dough,
instead of moving cut out shapes.

Gingerbread men retain their nice shape!

Return cut dough to refrigerator for 15 minutes. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, rotating pan halfway. Cool completely before decorating. Makes 8 large cookies.

Non-Dairy Icing Recipe
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 t almond milk
1 t honey
1/4 t vanilla
Food coloring