Wax – Birthday Cupcake Candles (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , October 19, 2008 9:04 pm

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.



20 Responses to “Wax – Birthday Cupcake Candles (Weekly Unplugged Project)”

  1. Nature Mama says:

    What a great project and fun!! We didn’t get a chance to do a wax project this week :( We’ve been up to our ears in leaves *grin* as we put together a fall leaf lapbook but hopefully next week we’ll get to join in again. I miss it! Have a fantastic week.

    Nature Mamas last blog post..Fall Leaf Acrostic Poems

  2. Those cupcake crayons look so fabulous! I love cupcakes!

    Did the crayons smell bad when you were melting them? I melted one for our project and didn’t notice anything but I had read a lot of warnings about how they can.

    Have you seen those faux cupcakes that people make out of plaster of paris? They look so real. You could probably find them on a search on flickr or etsy.

    Julie K in Taiwans last blog post..Wax ornaments and wall hanging

  3. Karen B says:

    WARNING: Don’t try to burn the crayon part of the candles! They stink! I’ve been warned by friends who make candles that you can use a little bit of crayon to color plain candle wax, but you won’t want to use much because of the smell.

  4. Christie says:

    We haven’t done an unplugged project in a few weeks but we have been busy. I had an idea for this week…well maybe tomorrow. These cupcake candles are darling. I can’t wait to hear how long they last.

    Christies last blog post..Who needs fine food when there’s McD’s

  5. kedakeda says:

    What delightful little cupcake-crayons! I thought of a crayon project, but we have had a really busy week and didn’t get a chance – yours are really SO cute!

    kedakedas last blog post..Wax, or The Scary Near-Drowning Incident

  6. Amazing all the things to do with broken crayon bits. Very cute cupcakes.

    Hmm… THIN. Not sure if we will get to it this week since we have lots of family coming in from out of town but I will be very interested to see how everyone interprets the theme. Doesn’t seem like an obvious one. Thanks always for the fun inspiration.

  7. Jilann says:

    What a great idea! I love it! We have so many old crayons. I might have to try this. I have a DD with a birthday coming up soon, too.

    We didn’t tackle this “wax” project. But, as a kid, we collected empty bottles from around the neighborhood, and then dripped melted candles down the outside. It was pretty and fun! I may have to try that one with my kiddos as well. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Heather says:

    Those came out so cute! I am jealous of your stove and chairs in the pictures! I had planned to do crayon resist Halloween pictures for the project, you know draw a spooky scene and add some white ghosts and then paint with black watercolors BUT no luck. I’m having baby #4 on Friday so “thin” is certainly not going to be inspiring to me anytime soon, you could have maybe gotten me with fat or round or HUGE!

    Heathers last blog post..“Little Stamp” Signature Stamp Giveaway (and COUPON)!

  9. KateinNJ says:

    Princess and I joined in this week, now I need to help her make candle cupcakes..she loves yours! ;-)

  10. Claire says:

    They look fabulous!

    We’ve had a lot going on here recently and haven’t been doing the project (or much else for that matter) but hope to back into the swing of it soon.


    Claires last blog post..

  11. Bobbie says:

    re wax paper
    you know I also think it wouldnt work with leaves now I think about it… I was able to peel some of the paper apart… but the parts that had lots of oil crayons were fine as it was help sticking it… leaves are probably too big and then it will come undone… interesting…

    Bobbies last blog post..Wax Challenge – Unplug Your Kids

  12. Alicia says:

    What fun! We make little heart shaped crayons in a muffin tin I keep just for that but I’ve never thought of making pretend cupcakes! The kids would love that, and they could still draw with them… Good idea!

    We made crayon transfer T-shirts this week for our wax project. Thanks for the fun theme!

    Alicias last blog post..Unplugged Project: DIY Shirt Transfers

  13. Jessica says:

    Those are absolutely adorable and I can certainly see why your little one thinks she should be able to eat them. LOL We had a few ideas for wax, so we decided to share them all.

    Jessicas last blog post..Unplugged Project: Wax

  14. I absolutely love these cute cupcakes. I can’t wait until our crayons run down because I know what i’ll be doing with them, candles and all!

    If you didn’t have the candle and just used sprinkles they would look like toffee that you buy at the school fetes (well, here in Aust. anyway)

    The Sugar Fairys last blog post..Unplug Your Kids – Wax Challenge

  15. Meg says:

    We’re a little late, but we did have fun!

    Megs last blog post..Unplugged Project – Wax

  16. Gerky says:

    Ack! I’m a day late and I’m always a dollar short so I guess it is ok…lol. this week we made marbled paper from melted crayons. You can read about it at http://homefrontlines.blogspot.com/2008/10/unplugged-wax.html. Off to think of a project for thin.

    Gerkys last blog post..Shrunken Apple Heads

  17. Chris Sauter says:

    Those look delicious! My kids and I just discovered your blog today – thanks stumblebutton!

    Chris Sauters last blog post..Miami Cream Cheese

  18. Julie says:

    I’m also a bit late…thanks for hosting and giving fodder for fun projects.

    Julies last blog post..Preschool Art Group

  19. […] promised an update on these candles (that we made out of old crayon bits) once we had tried burning them, so here it […]

  20. Meredith says:

    What a super fun project, I think we have enough crayons to give this one a go if it’s not too late to jump in!! I keep saying I’m gonna do one of your great unplugged and then regular stuff gets in the way, aack!!! This is going to be the one to tip the scale to being unplugged :))) Many blessings for all that your share for others!
    .-= Meredith´s last blog ..Late Autumn Daybook ~ November Begins =-.

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