Monday, February 10, 2014

Valentines Crafting: Melted Wax Butterflies

Here's a fun and creative Valentine's Day project that is really fun for the preschool crowd. It is also a great way to use up some old crayons that tend to accumulate whe you have littles around.
Make butterfly Valentines like we did, or just go crazy playing with melted wax!

You'll need:
*regular paper (I used blue, standard printing weight paper)
*parchment paper
*old blanket or towel
*an iron
*hole punch
I did this project with my 3.5 year old daughter and she had a lot of fun with it.

For starters, de-label and chop up some crayons into small pieces. I tried using a chopping knife. It worked, but it was going to take forever so I ended up using my mini food processor to make dust out of them with a few pushes of a button. I made 3 batches: a red/pink one, a blue one, and a yellow/orange one.
I made small piles of each color on a tray for my daughter to easily access.

Then I setup the work station. I layed an old blanket in the table first. Then I grabbed a long piece of parchment paper, folded it in half, opened it back up flat, and set it on the blanket. 

For each Valentine, I cut an 8.5x11" sheet of blue paper in half, then folded the half in half. I placed it on top of the parchment paper for decorating.

I let my daughter sprinkle wax on one half of the folded paper:
Then I folded both the blue paper and the parchment paper with the blue paper sandwiched between the parchment paper:
I circled the iron over the parchment paper for about 3 seconds:
After setting the iron aside, the card could be pulled out, and the melted wax design revealed: 
For rapid cooling and hardening, I threw each card in the fridge for a couple of minutes:
Once hardened, the paper could be used to make the Valentines butterflies.
We folded up the cards and we cut out a simple butterfly shape:
Then punched some holes:
And inserted some suckers:

An important tip:
Show your child to be sparing with the wax. Too much wax leaves a thick and brittle layer on the paper that cracks off easily. A thinner layer stays more flexible. In the above picture, the butterflies on the left are much less messy and easier to handle than the two on the right.

Another tip:
Either leave blank spots  on the wings for any writing, or make a second butterfly layer out of a clean sheet of paper for writing on. Most markers and pens will not write well on the now-waxy paper. We went with the second layer option since my girl isn't very good at writing her name in a small space yet.

Here are her folded up butterfly valentines right before they got their suckers inserted. The blue waxy part is inside the white:
The finished product:

We even added a science piece to the whole activity by discussing solids and liquids with hot and cold.

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