Tag Archive | shapes

Christmas gifts: soapsicle

What is it about making everyday things into unexpected shapes that is so appealing? Square crackers: eh, that’s alright. Circus animal crackers: fun! Straight drinking straws: gets the job done. Twisty straws: fun! Chunks of breaded chicken: edible. Mickey Mouse-shaped nuggets: fun!

That’s the principle at work here. A bar of soap is purely functional. No fun to be had. But soap shaped like little popsicles: that’s funny.

This was a really easy project that Konik and I made for his cousin. We started with two bars of transparent glycerin soap. I couldn’t find uncolored soap, so I was hoping that the orangish-tinted soap we did find would take on more interesting colors. You can see our supplies: soap, a popsicle mold, popsicle sticks, and food coloring.

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The hardest part of the whole project was getting the soap to melt. After I chopped it into smaller pieces, Konik loaded up my Pyrex measuring cup and I heated it in our little NuWave oven.

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It took several minutes of cooking, stirring, cooking some more to get the entire batch liquified. In retrospect, this probably would have gone much quicker in a saucepan. I think the reason I chose the Pyrex cup was for ease of pouring, but the thing was so dang hot, that I had to do it instead of Konik anyways. The soap was surprisingly stubborn when it came to melting.

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He was happy to drip food coloring into each little popsicle mold. Then we took a stick and stirred the coloring around. You can see that we didn’t always get it mixed through and that was due to all the contours and divots in our particular mold. If I were to do this again, I would choose a simpler mold.

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The soap begins to harden fairly quickly. We had to hold the sticks steady and centered for just a minute before the soap had congealed enough to support them. Then we set the whole mold aside for a couple of hours to finish hardening all the way through. Aren’t they pretty?

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Getting them out was a little tricky, again due to the shape of the molds. A few careful jabs with a table knife was enough to release them, though, and they looked none the worse for the wear. I don’t know why I didn’t get pictures of the finished project. I wrapped each soapsicle — or “pocksible” as Konik calls them — in cellophane tied with a ribbon so that they wouldn’t stick together.

Konik is a pretty good little crafting partner. He follows directions well and really tries his best. I’ll have to try to come up with more little crafts for us to do together throughout the year just to keep his crafty spirit alive!

The Grand Crayon Experiment

My kids have two containers packed full of crayons of varying sizes. Over half of them were broken nubs that were no longer deemed good enough to use anymore, so the kids will paw through the boxes trying to find the few remaining long crayons. I’ve heard of people melting down their crayon bits into fat, usable crayons. It sounds great and I really had nothing to lose; the kids won’t use them anyways.

I didn’t tell the kids what I was up to, but I did enlist their help in sifting out all the broken crayons into a bucket. That was the easy job. Then Rana and I peeled the paper off all of them. I remember this being easier to do as a child. I think they must be using some kind of glue nowadays. Once peeled, we sorted the crayons by hot or cool colors. I figured that would make them easier to deal with once we got to the melting stage.

Sort 'em, sort 'em, sort 'em, get those crayons sorted

Try #1: Cookie Cutters.

It seemed fun to have different shaped crayons. I chose cookie cutters that had bold shapes, but without too many fiddly bits that might break off easily. I laid the cookie cutters in the biggest pie tin I have and made sure they were all level before filling them with crayons. Then I stuck them in my little NuWave oven and set it for 4 minutes on high.

They melted. Oh yes, they melted. All together. I stopped the oven and pulled out the pie plate to press the cookie cutters down into the seeping wax, hoping that would prevent a complete and total dam break. It seemed to help a little. Once all the crayons had finished melting, I set the pie plate out on the front porch to cool and came back about thirty minutes later to assess the damage.

Well, I ended up with shaped crayons, although a bit thinner than I had intended. Maybe my cookie cutters are warped, or the pie tin is. Either way, I needed to try an alternate method.

Try #2: Muffin pan.

I loaded up my little muffin pan with more crayons and stuck it in the oven, set it out to cool, etc. This definitely produced thicker crayons and obviously, no seepage. Plus marks for that.

The negative side is, they are extremely brittle. The same can be said for the first batch, too, but I didn’t expect the full on crumbling from normal handling. Also, no one ever tells you about the sickening melted crayon smell. So now I’ve told you and you’ll know what to expect.

At least right now, the kids enjoy the novelty of them, so maybe I have extended the life of those crayons by a little bit.