Crayon and Wax Paper Window Hearts
I've wanted to make the crayon and wax paper hearts for quite some time now. I have a binder that I file away all the crafts I want to do when I find some extra time and this one has been tucked in there for what seems like forever. I saved the page from the Martha Stewart Magazine that had the photo, but not the instructions. Yay me. You can find the instructions both on her site and in her book.
It's pretty easy to do, even without the instructions. Fortunately for me, I'm now the proud owner of Martha's book "Handmade Holiday Crafts", so I was able to look back and see what I did wrong. To make these you will need: Crayons, wax paper, an iron, ironing board, scissors, heart templates, heavy craft paper, an old micro planer or pencil sharpener, needle, thread, tape and a couple of hours.
I used brighter colored crayons than Martha did. In her photo she has some lighter, more translucent hearts hanging in her window. I originally started with carnation pink crayons, but I botched it in the beginning and chalked it up to a learning experience. However, I'm kind of digging the brighter colors. I live in the Pacific Northwest and it's been a bit dreary here lately and the hearts bring some much needed cheer to the room. So when you're choosing your crayon colors, pick crayon colors that you love. I'm thinking about making some non- traditional turquoise ones to add to the mix myself.
Shredding the crayons: Obviously you need to shred down the crayons. The instructions say to make the wax shavings with a pencil sharpener. I bet that works great, although it is going to leave you with a little nub of a crayon that you can't really use. I opted for an old micro planer that I bought for zesting lemons. I was able to use every bit of the crayon and it got them down in to tiny, tiny pieces. I just have one word of warning... my method was a messy process. But I did have a ton of tiny uniform pieces to work with.
I separated out my crayons by basic color tones, peeled off the papers and started grating them. I put a big piece of wax paper down to collect the crayon bits and then tipped the shavings in to individual bowls and most of it made it in there, the rest were easily vacuumed up.
I didn't measure out my pieces of wax paper. I just ripped a piece off, folded it in half and then pre-crimped the edges. For the first one, I prepped the paper on the counter and then moved it over to the ironing board. This method didn't have great results for me. The crayon shavings shifted all about and I ended up with thick lumps of crayons and sparse areas in between. I then decided to prep the wax paper on the firm surface of the counter, and then I moved it to the ironing board before adding the shavings to the mix.
Speaking of the ironing board, you will need to protect both your iron and your board. Several years ago Marathon Man bought me a nice Rowenta ironing board. It doesn't get as much use as it probably should, but I still wasn't in a hurry to destroy it. The instructions called for putting down kraft paper, which I don't happen to have. I do however have an over abundance of brown paper grocery bags. Im not sure if my iron was too hot (I don't think that it was) but something moist was seeping through the paper bags. I ended up using quite a few layers of bags but it seemed to get the job done.
Applying the crayon shavings: I crimped (folded) the edges of the paper in an effort to help keep the melty crayons inside. I tried crimping the edges after I put the shaving inside but the movement of doing so shifted my crayon bits all over the place. So I crimped, opened, added the shavings and then just flipped the edges back up together. It worked great for me. The crayon shavings need to be applied evenly, but not heavily. If the crayon is applied to thickly you'll have a couple of undesirable issues. (Note that there are not any carnation pink hearts hanging in my window.) :p First up, your hearts won't be transparent and that sort of defeats the purpose here. Two, they'll look like cheesy globs of crayons, and finally, if the crayon layer is too thick, the wax paper will separate from the crayon when you go to cut them out.
I'm really glad that I pre-grated my crayons and that I separated them out by basic colors. I wanted to have some solid colored and some mottled colored hearts. I simply used a spoon to scatter my shavings and I'm pleased with how it turned out.
I googled "heart templates" and printed out a selection. In the book, the hearts are all the same shape but are of varying sizes. Instead I opted for a variety of shapes and sizes. The cooled crayon sheets are easy to see through so I just set the template pages on the table and traced the heart patterns directly on the crayon and wax paper sheets. I fit as many hearts as I could on each sheet. Once they were all drawn, I sat down with some scissors and cut them all out, stacking them in piles by color as I went. As far as cutting them goes, they cut very, very easily. I tore a few trying to turn my scissors in the top cleft of the heart. I ended up cutting up one side from the bottom point to the inside of the cleft. Then I flipped it over and cut out the other side. (I was always cutting the right hand side of the heart from the bottom up.) Don't worry, you'll be able to see the cutting line from both sides of the paper.
Hanging. From the photo in the book it appears as though I used both a heavier thread and a different method. I threaded a very long piece of thread on to the needle as I didn't want to keep threading the needle. I pulled it though, held it up to the window in the approximate place that I wanted it to be, double the thread and then clipped it. I tied a knot, stuck a short piece of tape on it and then secure it to the very top of the window frame. In the photo it looks as if she used a much finer thread, folded it in half, slipped the folded end through a small hole and then thread the cut ends through the folded portion of the thread. I bet this method would actually help the hearts to hang straighter, but honestly... I didn't want to spend that kind of time on this project.
Placement of the hearts: I decided which window I wanted to do first. I looked at my pile of hearts and I happened to have the least amount of hearts in the darker color, so that is what I started with. I tried to evenly distribute the darker hearts and then filled in the gaps from there. I thought about going from one side of the window to the other but I really worried that I'd run out of hearts, or that the colors wouldn't be evenly distributed.
I'm so glad I finally got around to making this Valentines craft project. The hearts are fun and while it may still be a bit early for Valentines day, they make me smile every time I walk in to the room. Martha Stewart gets a thumbs up from me for this one!