Mmmmm… cupcakes. Looks good, doesn’t it? This photo is quite deceptive. We have not been baking. Don’t try eating this yummy birthday cupcake because it is made out of old crayons!
This week’s Unplugged Project theme was wax. When I picked the theme I thought we might do something to recycle our crayons, but I didn’t know what. However this morning as I was lying in bed, I dreamed up these Birthday Cupcake Candles. The kids were enthusiastic, so I decided to risk complete disaster and give it a go.
I am almost too embarrassed to post this one, because it is a little over the top! But we certainly had a blast making these, and the suspense as to whether they would be a success or a giant flop, simply added to the fun.
They were a resounding success and really not hard to make at all, so here goes a tutorial:
You’ll need broken crayons, a muffin tin, muffin papers (foil ones are best), and birthday candles. If you have glitter and/or sprinkles, little candies, etc. that will add to the fun and enhance the realism. I think those little silver balls would have looked fantastic, but unfortunately we didn’t have any.
The first task was sorting the crayons. We dumped them all out and began looking for broken ones. My two year-old enjoyed this tremendously and she was the official color sorter.
Getting the papers off some of them was a difficult task. Why is it that kids can peel off crayon papers all over the house, but when you want the papers off, they stick! We discovered that soaking the stubborn ones in a bowl of water helped, as did peeling them with a knife (my job).
We finally had all our bits unwrapped and sorted into separate colors. Pretty aren’t they!
My daughter put the liners in the muffin tins:
Then we filled the cups with the crayons, one color per cup, taking care to not overfill.
My daughter eagerly loaded them into a 350 degree oven (actually we started at 200, but that was slow so I upped it to 350 and that seemed perfect):
Then came the nervous waiting:
When they seemed about halfway done (15 minutes or so?), we could see where the level of the melted wax was going to be:
We took them out and added a few more crayons to each so as to hopefully bring the wax up to near the top of the cups.
Finally, after about 10 more minutes, they were done. Great excitement ensued!
We had to be patient and let them cool for about 10 or 15 minutes before decorating.
First my daughter found some glitter and decided to put that on:
Then we discovered that if we put a toothpick in one color and swirled it around in another color, we could make pretty patterns:
Finally, after they had cooled a bit more (still squishy but solidifying), my daughter pushed a birthday candle into each one. If you wait until they are cool enough, the candle will stand straight. If they are still too hot, the candle will tip over. If this happens, take it out and wait until they are cooler.
They were also cool enough to decorate with real baking decorations! Totally fun!
After an hour or so, they were completely cool and we could remove them from the pan without squishing the bottoms.
And voilà! We were all so impressed. My 2 year-old wanted to eat one and we had to explain that she would have to eat a pumpkin muffin instead. She was pretty insistent, and even wanted one after dinner. Oh dear!
I’ll post a follow-up tomorrow as to how they held up as candles. Even if they don’t burn for very long, at least they can always be used as…well…crayons.
(By the way: The liners (even the paper ones) kept the wax contained so there was no mess in the muffin tin afterwards. In fact I was able to use it for pumpkin muffins when we were through.)
EDITED TO ADD: In response to questions/concerns about smell, these really didn’t smell bad at all while melting. I did notice a difference in consistency between cheap crayons and the Crayolas as we were peeling them, so my guess is that they are made differently, or of different ingredients. Most of ours were Crayolas. Perhaps the cheap ones are the stinky ones? By the way, the crayon wax did not burn well as a candle, so no danger of odors there!
Did you do a wax Unplugged Project this week? If so, then please put a link to your wax post in Mr. Linky. If not, then please don’t link, but browse the great posts that are linked below. Also, read more about the Unplugged Project and how to join in here. Perhaps we’ll see you next week?
Next week’s Unplugged Project theme will be:
I have no clue what we will do for it, but the word just popped into my head.