Friday, November 15, 2013

crayon casting -- planes edition, part two

Hi again! As mentioned in my last post, I went off-label on this project. By which I mean that the package for the crayon mold explicitly states, "For Use with Melt'n Mold Factory Only".

Have you seen the Crayola Melt'n Mold Factory? It looks pretty cool. It's kind of like an Easy Bake Oven for crayons: there's a heating element that melts old crayons down to liquid wax and guides it into a mold via a metal tray. And it's a kids' toy, marketed to kids age eight and up. I don't have one because I'm a grown-up who owns a stove, I have little excess storage space, and also, these run from $40 (Target) to $54 (Crayola) to $69 (Fred Meyer).

I love creative toys, but I'm also a fan of creative methodology. And recycling.

So, as it turns out, we're planning a bit ahead for a "Flying Things" birthday party after the new year, and coincidentally, I bumped into the Melt'n Mold booster packs in the art aisle at Target the other day. They had an airplane one, from the Disney movie Planes. Dusty Crophopper, for you fellow parents of preschoolers. It was in the $7 range.

I bought the mold under the assumption that a mold is a mold is a mold. If I can use it with the Factory kit, I should be able to use it without the Factory kit. I poked around on-line before opening the box to see if anyone else had used it that way, and turned up nothing. Luckily, it works just as any other mold works.

 I will say, this kit comes with twelve crayons and claims to make four planes. Coupled with the size of the images on the box, I believed this meant the mold inside would make crayons approximately three crayons large.

But no. The mold makes planes that are a little over an inch in wingspan, and each uses about one crayon's worth of wax. The other two crayons worth of wax must be considered waste wax or something. I got twelve planes using the materials in the box (and then a few dozen with my own materials). Here's how.

First, I got out the crayons. I had a largish box of salvaged thrift store crayons leftover from the last two crayon casting projects (here and here), so I sorted them into groups by color family.

Here's a little glass jam jar with a few varied-color broken crayon pieces in it, heating in a pot of simmering water . If you don't stir or shake the jar and let it simmer over medium-low heat, you can maintain some color separation necessary for that neat marbled effect.

Here's the mold, filled. I used a paper towel to pick up the jar, then gently poured the hot wax into the propped-up mold until it was filled to the line. You'll note a lot of excess at the top of the mold, which can later be broken off and re-melted.

I say to prop it because I discovered the best way to fill the tiny tail fins completely is to rest the mold against something at an angle.

Once each plane crayon cooled, I pressed the center together with my fingers while prying the mold carefully apart. When the bottom half of the mold was off, I turned over the mold and popped the plane out onto a soft paper towel cushion. It mostly worked like a charm, except for the occasional broken propeller or tail fin when breaking off the excess wax.

I tried to use up a lot of my crayon stash and to make some nice swirls; some were more successful than others, but all will make nice party favors. I would recommend that if you want to make a lot of these, having two molds will make the work go faster. It takes about ten minutes for the wax to melt and ten minutes for the castings to cool, so I had the stove on for the better part of a day.

Still, not bad for a $7 investment!

Remember: using art and craft materials against their intended use can be dangerous, so please take precautions to protect yourself! Heating crayon wax in simmering water is not child-safe, and neither is handling melted crayon wax. Grown-ups only! Careful grown-ups only! Safety glasses! Aprons! Gloves! Etc!!!!

That said, I really liked the way the mold worked for this project.

Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

Canuto DeLeon said...

Such a great post, thank you for the detailed insight. I just purchased the "ring bling" melt n' mold for my daughter and she will absolutely love them!