Wednesday, February 27, 2019

I Made A Necklace Version Of The Melted Crayon Table!


GUYS. Have you seen the melted crayon table going viral on Instagram?

SO PRETTY.

 It's by Chris Salomone of Four Eyes Furniture, and I can't stop watching his videos of making it:


 

I love that combination of a melty rainbow and wood grain, so I decided to try making a drastically scaled down version... as a necklace.

 
 And it kind of worked!

Here's the second one John and I tried:


 

There are some definite issues here, since we learned a lot of what NOT to do... by doing all those things, ha. I've been talking with other Maker friends about sharing more of my "fails," though, so let me show you what I learned. I know some of you can take this further and make it better - or if you're like me, you might find inspiration at the half-way point, and think of a completely different direction to take it.


First you need a wood pendant piece. These heart cut-outs from the craft store are a great size, and cost less than $2 for a pack of 6:


They're also thin enough that you can cut them with a craft blade:


Once John cut out a jagged line, I glued the two halves to a second heart for a backer: 


 Now we have a channel to melt our wax.

Here's where it gets tricky, though. Yes, already.

PROBLEM #1: We need a dam to prevent the wax from spilling out the ends of our channel.

 Metal tape won't melt and sticks OK, so that ended up being our best option. 
(Turns out duct tape is flammable. Oops.)

PROBLEM #2: The crayon wax melts INTO the wood, sealing and darkening it, like so:

 (I just noticed there's a heart in the heart! D'awww.)

To prevent this you'll need to seal the wood first. You can coat just the inside channel with a layer of wood glue, OR seal the entire heart with a wood stain or clear coat.

PROBLEM #3: Because these hearts are end-grain wood, they soak up stain like nobody's business, ending up way, WAY too dark:

This was a medium brown stain, if you can believe it.

So if you use a wood stain, use the lightest color possible - or just go with clear.
 
To recap: Seal your wood BEFORE adding the crayons, using a clear or extremely light colored stain. Then dam up the ends of your channel with metal tape.

Now let's talk about the actual wax part.

PROBLEM #4: Getting the crayons into those tiny cracks!



I first tried shaving the crayons with a blade, then adding the shavings with tweezers. This was excruciating and a near total disaster, DON'T DO IT. The heat gun blows the shavings all over the place, they stick to EVERYTHING, and then they melt down to nothing, so you have to repeat the process 3-4 times to fill the groove.

(I should mention we Dremeled out that swirly groove, so it's VERY shallow. However, it does eliminate the need for a dam, so... ?)

To keep the tiny shavings in place, we used a candle lighter first to get them to stick, then followed up with a heat gun.

While figuring all that out, we accidentally set this one on fire.


We're embracing the Fail today, y'all. EMBRACE IT. FEEEEL THE POWER.
 ("Oh, yeah. I can feel it.")


Eventually I figured out larger chunks of crayon work much better:

Though you'll probably need to add more, since they still melt down a lot.

And the heat gun can still blow these around, but not nearly as much as the shavings. You'll only need to barely bump them with a lighter, then follow up with a heat gun to fully liquefy the wax.

Here I am packing in more crayon after our first melt:

You can see we used wood stain on this one, which led to....

PROBLEM #5: Tape won't stick to freshly stained wood... and I hate waiting.

Granted, if you have some patience this won't be a problem. I, however, forged ahead before the stain had fully dried, which meant the tape fell off the wet wood and we had a bunch of Wax Overflow. Again, oops.

See how it ran out on the red side? We had to sand off the excess wax from the edge.

We added more wax and tried again, eventually reaching my "good enough" stage:

GOOD 'NUFF.

See that slight green stain on the front? That happened before we stained the wood, and we couldn't sand it all the way out. More proof you really need to seal this thing before adding crayons.

And last but not least, we have:

PROBLEM #6: Sealing the wax

For his table Chris used resin over the melted crayons, but I was afraid it would leak out our channel and make a mess. (Plus see the aforementioned IMPATIENT thing.) I tried some clear nail polish on our swirly test piece, which looked fantastic for about an hour, then started to break down into a dull goopy mess.

So don't use nail polish.

Next I found a crafter online who sealed her melted crayon project with Mod Podge, so I tried that.

NOPE.

Shocking absolutely no one, the Mod Podge peeled right off the wax. Then I had to sand the Mod Podge off the wood, which made it look kinda fuzzy and ugly and by this point I was SUPER done with the whole project.

So I glued some necklace bails on the backs and called it a day.

Boom. There 'tis.

(You can still see tiny bits of Mod Podge stuck in the one on the left, lol.)


The next morning the stain had fully dried - so the wood was a little lighter - and I took them outside for some beauty shots in the sun. Beauty shots make even semi-failed projects look pretty good, you guys:





And heart #2:


The wood isn't very pretty on these, but it's hard to say if that's the wood's fault or the fact that we kept spilling colored wax and stains on them before trying to sand it all off again. :D

I think the heart with the smaller crack is my favorite:


Obviously this is not a necklace you'll want to leave in a hot car, but other than that, it's fairly durable. So what do you think, gang? How would you make this better? Would you try encasing it in resin? Maybe dremel out a different pattern in the wood? Use different colors, maybe try some metallic wax? (OooOOoooh.) C'mon, brainstorm with me!

*****

And as always, if you'd like to help me and John keep doing what we're doing (though hopefully better than THIS), you can shop through our Amazon links here: USA, UK, Canada. or support us directly through PayPal! You're already helping in the most important way, though, so thanks for just being here to laugh at our ridiculousness. Love you guys.

65 comments:

  1. Why not heat up the wax beforehand? I don't necessarily mean melt it completely, but make it soft enough, that you can mold it a bit, like play dough? That way you can pack the groove tightly right away. I have no idea about sealing (I'm not crafty like that), but I think the resin would look good :)

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    1. Innnnteresting. I will say the wax cooled off FAST, because I was working with so little of it, but if you had a larger cup going to pour from, that could work!

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    2. If you had one of those lightbulb heated crayon makers (I had one for YEARS before the crayon mold finally crapped out on me :( ) you miiiiiiight be able to melt the wax in that and then tip it up to pour it into the heart channel. Or, instead of getting a fiddly bit of equipment that may or may not work, make a narrow foil boat, melt the wax in that, and pour into the heart? Since it'd be foil, if the wax started to harden in it too soon, you could just hit it with a lighter or heat gun to get it moving again.

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    3. For Christmas we bought our daughter a crayon melter, made by Crayola, that works like a hot glue gun.

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  2. What about popping the wooden heart (or shape) into a metal cookie cutter? Then filling the groove with coloured chunks and the rest with WHITE wax (e.g. from a paraffin candle?) Then put the whole lot in a warm oven?

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    1. I like this idea. Just gotta find the right size cookie cutter!

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    2. Maybe something like this?

      https://www.hobbylobby.com/Crafts-Hobbies/Clay-Molding-Sculpting/Clay/Heart-Clay-Cutter-Set/p/23108

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    3. Kroger had tiny heart shaped cutters during Valentine's day

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    4. Silicon baking molds work well for crayon melting. I picked up some small ones (I think chocolate molds) from party city after valentine's day last year.

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    5. Ooh ooh ooh oooh, could you use the Make your own Silicone Mold technique posted here (last year?) to make a custom mold around the outside of whatever shape wood piece you use - well, I'm kinda assuming that once it's fully set you can pop it in the oven at a low temp safely :-)

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  3. I'm similarly thinking about an oven; I know you can 'make your own crayons' by melting broken bits of crayons together in a cupcake pan, my family did that when I was little! I wonder if wood would, uh, survive an oven, if you did a low enough temp... maybe if you soaked the wood first? (Or just kept a fire extinguisher on hand!)

    I also think a quick layer of the UV-setting resin might work great for these, if you kept the metal tape on to prevent it from gooping out! UV resin goes on in very quick, thin layers, and it's only like a minute or two under the UV lamp, right? So it would be hard for it to goop very far! (Alternately, if you created a mold in silicone around the wood hearts, you could pour any kind of resin on top that you wanted!)

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    Replies
    1. I've been looking for an excuse to play with UV resin! And I'm liking the oven idea, too - or maybe a toaster oven, so it's less overkill, ha.

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    2. What about an EasyBake oven?

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  4. Yeah I second the oven comment. Those are so small you could put your oven on the lowest setting and still get melt.

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  5. I think coating it in resin would be a good idea, otherwise what if you're at a convention and running hot, then it could melt a bit on front and stain your shirt. Resin would keep it isolated from the body heat most likely. Such a cool idea though, both the table and the necklace!

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  6. For a project this small, a batik tool (Tjanting) and melted wax would likely work.

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    Replies
    1. I have never heard of this, but that sounds like an amazing idea.

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    2. Is like the wax tool for making the Russian Easter Eggs (which is designed ti be melted wax)?

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  7. I love when you share your works-in-progress! Makes it feel more real to how it would go with one of us..! <3

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    1. Believe me, I'm totally one of us - I just usually try a LOT of things, then only show the ones that work! I'm realizing I need to be more transparent about that, though, so thank you. <3

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  8. You could make the entire 'crayon' section out of rainbow colored resin instead. Once it cured, it would never melt.

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    Replies
    1. True, but resin is a lot more work, and way more expensive along with all the resin dyes! It's also more intimidating for most crafters (myself included), so I was hoping to find a work-around.

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  9. Crazy idea - but can you color resin? Maybe skip the wax entirely and just pour in drops of colored resin? You'd really need good edge molding to prevent seepage but if you don't have to worry about a heat gun - things like duck tape become available to you again.

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    1. You can! I just added a comment on this above.

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  10. They'd be great for logos (like Scouts or a company) or best friend necklaces. What if you used colored hot glue instead of crayons?

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    1. I bet that would work! We once tested the metallic gold hot glue as a "wax" seal, and it totally worked. I haven't seen other colors of hot glue, though.

      I've also heard of crafters putting crayons IN their hot glue guns to melt them. It probably destroys the gun, but I want to play with that someday. :D

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    2. They're all typically glitter filled colored hot glue, but I've seen multicolored packs of mini glue stucks at Dollar Tree, and we carry them as a regular item at Dollar General as well.

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  11. This would be great for Hogwarts house logos or other geeky symbols. You could even make something in your favorite colors of orange and teal! Might be worth revisiting someday now that you've worked out the kinks.

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  12. Everyone already suggested it but I second using an oven instead of a heatgun for something so small. I'm also thinking you need a better quality wood.

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  13. I have actually purchased a cheap mini glue gun just for melting crayons! Regular size crayolas with wrapper removed fit exactly into a mini glue gun and they you can control the color and how much wax you are melting!

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    Replies
    1. Yessss, I want to try this!

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    2. So I did the crayon as hot glue stick thing and ended up pouring molten wax down my hand from the backside of the glue gun. It had melted the whole crayon inside and was not coming out the front. Let me tell you it is not fun. I did end up holding the crayon to the outside of the metal tip and melting it off of that to make wax drip pumpkins. That worked much better. Be safe if you try shoving it through the gun though!

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    3. Jen, did you use a high temp or low temp glue gun?

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  14. I love the original table and your little hearts. Do you think masking the surface of the hearts with the metal tape would keep it safe as you melt the crayons? To add to an earlier comment - yes you can use colors in resin, if you don't want to spend a lot on resin colorants you can add powders, glitters, or seed beads, or even drip acrylic paints into the groove. If you go with the strong opaque basic colors of acrylic paint it should look about like the melted crayons. If you are working with crayons, would an embossing gun give enough heat to melt them without the blowing air of the heat gun? Hmmmm, fun!

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    1. Oooh, good point: masking the surface with metal tape WOULD prevent all those stains we got. And thick paint instead of wax? ...innnnnnteresting.

      (Does an embossing gun not blow any air? The heat gun doesn't blow MUCH, so I figured they'd be the same.)

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    2. What about, like, puffy paint? Probably not the exact same kind, but I'm thinking of the sort that used to be popular (mainly in neon colors) to use to decorate t-shirts when I was a kid in the 80s and 90s....

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  15. What about doing a clear coat of nail polish over the whole thing, then doing drips of different coloured nail polish in the crack? A UV lamp to help it set since the thicker the polish the longer it takes to dry... but then a second (or third) coat of clear over top would seal it.
    I think the coloured glue or wax in the oven then sealed with resin would work out best (and quickest), but there are so many different potential options. What about painting the bottom and sides of the crack, and then filling it with clear resin full of glitter ( shapes, chunky, fine .. so many kinds of glitter... or there's the nail art 'glitter').

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    1. I was thinking something similar, but with clear polyurethane. Coat wood & dry, add wax, melt in low toaster oven, add another layer of poly over to seal and shine?

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  16. You could try a terrarium lamp for a localized slow melt. I once boiled bubble gum with one, so they definitely get hot enough. I would love to use glitter crayons, maybe even just the dark ones to make it look like the Milky Way!

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  17. Crayola makes a crayon melter. Though if you search cray-pen on Amazon, I think theirs may have come first. They both let you paint with melted crayons/wax.

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  18. What about using an iron over waxed paper? We used to make “stained glass” designs with crayon shavings that way when I was a kid. I have a teeny tiny craft iron (about the size of a guitar pick) for basting quilt designs. I may have to try this.

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  19. I think your technique seems just fine, it's the slightly rough and flimsy end-grain pre-cut wood hearts that are letting you down a little bit. Try sawing out a heart from a prettier (and thicker) scrap of lumber that would take a finish better and wouldn't need to be glued onto a backing?

    Kimstu

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  20. Ok, this comes from my experience with heat embossing. Aim your heat gun UNDER the piece and melt from underneath. would painting a thin layer of gesso work to seal the wood? I can only imagine that the colors would pop even more with a white background. Last suggestion: glossy accents to fill. and as an aesthetic choice but might work to dam the edges, copper foil tape wrapped and glued around the edges? Just some ideas.

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  21. I, personally, am too afraid to mess with resin. However, there's a 'mock resin' product called Dimensional Magic from Mod Podge...I'm wondering if mixing that with paint would work? It takes a while to set up but dries to the point of putting on a second layer in about 1-2 hours. Maybe do it in layers? I may try that in a bezel before working up the nerve to try it on wood.

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  22. Um...I've been really wanting to try crafting things for conventions but I have severe osteoarthritis so needlepoint and stuff are out. But I can think of so many things to do with this idea. Would it be offensive to you if I started making these kinds of things myself? I'd reference back to both you and the woodworker if I ever posted about it. I just don't want to 'steal' an idea.

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  23. There’s this thing called a cray pen. It gets hot, and has this small metal tube on the end that you jam into the crayon of your choice. It basically fills with melted wax, and deposits onto whatever surface you touch it to. It sounds lame, but it’s pretty cool. Here’s a link. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017V22KDY/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_hQXDCbMSQ0HDX

    I’ve also heard of people running them through their hot glue gun, though I can’t vouch for that. You can buy wax used for wax seals, like on letters, and I believe some are made to fit in hot glue guns. Or you could melt in the little wax bowl and pour in, like making a wax seal.

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  24. I think a heart shape dremeled out would be great. It would give you a bigger space to put color in and MORE RAINBOWS!

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  25. I'd have gone with acrylic paint. Primaries, or even the fun glitter and metallic paints. Wood stain with the vivid rainbow road is beautiful on its own, why bother with colored wax? Use a bit of dental wax to block the channel up for each color, add one color at a time until it's MOSTLY dry, pull each color into the next color with a toothpick . . .

    Or, y'know, just paint it on, 'cause I'm lazy and don't have a dremel.

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  26. What about Sculpy instead of crayons? You can make a rainbow snake, push it into your channel and then back it to make it nice and solid, spray with some poly to seal it all up and make it shiny?

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  27. Your one swirly heart looks like the heart of Tefiti!

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  28. You could also try a tjanting tool (used for batik) you apply the melted wax directly to the project: It would give you more control, but you could still get the cool swirly patterns! P.S. Your 'fails' are beautiful!

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  29. Oh man. I really want to do this now. I have ideas. Evil, evil ideas.

    I think I'd go with a resin seal, simply because it's what does work, and while im usually good for a lil experimentation, I'm also the type to get frustrated fast ;)

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  30. You could always mix up your resin, then thin it with denatured alcohol and "paint" it on for a thin layer seal

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  31. What about something softer than crayons? Could you take something like lip balm, add coloring, pack it in the crevice and then heat that if necessary? The only question is if you could seal it with resin if it's that soft, I'm thinking.

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  33. I'm afraid I'm not crafty enough to give any legit suggestions (or certainly not any as good as the ones already here)....

    HOWEVER, can I just say that while reading through this, I kept thinking of Swamp Castle from Monty Python and the Holy Grail?
    "Other crafters said I was daft to make a melted crayon heart necklace, but I crafted it all the same, just to show 'em! The duct tape channel guards caught on fire, so I crafted a second one. The crayons melted into the wood and it never came out... So I crafted a third one...that one made it rain crayon shavings ALL OVER. It's like glitter, but waxier! Then I tried a fourth one. The crayons on that heart were melted with a candle lighter then a heat gun, and then it burst into flames! I can see you're getting impatient, so I'll cut to the chase...eventually, after the sixth mishap, the crayons were melted and the wood was not burning, and it was declared 'good 'nuff'."

    Yeah, so that was my thought process while reading this. :P

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  34. Jen, were you using a mini gun, or regular size? Because the 3 mini guns I have, only the tip heats. So, my idea is maybe use plain old tin foil, doubled... to block the leaking, and heat up a small pan with a lid, pile that crayon up super high and put it in the pan on super low heat until it melts. And for sealing... how about a mold slightly larger than than the charm? Fill it with resin just enough to cover the charm and use the dremel to sand it down to the right size and shape?

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  35. Okay, maybe this misses the entire point, but you could melt the crayon separately into whatever shape, use the cut pieces of wood to trace out the shape of the crevice on the crayon, and then carve the crayon to fit. Then glue everything together. If it doesn't fit perfectly, maybe you could even use a lighter to melt the sides of the crayon carving slightly.

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  36. What about moving away from the crayon mess entirely, and using opaque nail polishes? I think they would blend in a similar way, and cause a lot less of a headache

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  37. You could fill/seal over the wax using Ice Resin which still takes a while, or you could use Lisa Pavelka Magic Glos (this cures with UV light to a glass like finish and self levels).

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  38. We did a recycled crayon project some years back. We melted the wax in coffee mugs that were sitting in a large pan of water on the stove, then poured the wax into candy molds, swirling several different colors into each as we went. A lot of the pieces that resulted were pretty enough that we could have made them into jewelry. (We gave them back to the kindergarten teachers who had supplied the crayons initially.)

    So now I'm thinking you could create a slightly larger flat sheet of your swirled color, on waxed paper or something. When it's cooled off a lot, but still soft, you can use the piece you cut out of your heart as a pattern, and cut the perfect size piece of wax and slip it right into your channel.

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  39. I've been wondering if you could use the crayon technique to fill the seams on your table? Could be interesting.

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  40. Wax seal spoons would work for melting and pouring the crayons.

    Epoxy glues from the hardware store (something like gorilla glue that comes in double syringes)should be quicker setting than jewelry grade epoxy resins.

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  41. You do know that they make crayon melters? Or a cheap hot glue gun will do the trick and you have a lot more control of your melted wax. Just a thought1

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  42. Jen
    These were so cute and I am enjoying reading all the suggestions in the comments but what I really want to say is THANK YOU! Thank you for showing the whole process you went through. Too many times we see a completed project and think they did it in one take--it seldom happens that way (how many times have I frogged a crochet project!). As a chemistry teacher in college, the biggest hurdle my students have is TRYING something....anything....They won't start a problem unless they know they will get it correct on the first try. It is only by doing (whatever the task) that we learn. We learn so much more from our mistakes (or others mistakes which is why I make/encourage students to work problems on the board in front of class--I try to recognize anxiety-provoking problems).
    Great job and now I have learned several lessons from your "mistakes" or "fails".

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