Saturday, January 31, 2009

Crayon You Be My Valentine?

From the bean of Green Bean.

In the spirit of reuse, this is a post from my old blog, Green Bean Dreams. We're knee deep in melted wax right now, doing the same project again this year with a bit more kid involvement as the kids are a bit older. Just as fun the second year as the first.

As holidays go, Valentine's Day has one of the smaller footprints. Yes, there is the chocolate (consumable), the flowers (biodegradable) and the cards (also biodegradable). If you think Valentine's Day is green, though, you don't have school aged kids.

Last year, my boys brought home quite a haul in their heart stamped "mailboxes". Valentines with plastic wrapped gummi hearts. Valentines with decorative pencils and erasers (for my then 2 year old!). Valentines with stickers. Heart shaped lollipops wrapped in plastic. Valentines with tongue tattoos (huh!). Cellophane bags bursting with individually wrapped chocolate hearts or plastic trinkets. In preschool at least, Valentine's Day is big business beyond hearts and flowers.
How then do you ask a class mate, "Will You Be Mine, Green Valentine?" Make your own and make it with stuff you already own.

Last year, I read this article about making crayon heart Valentines to pass out. The project hit on everything I wanted to accomplish this holiday. Reusing or recycling (broken crayons), making instead of buying, involving the children and avoiding commercial Valentines.
Through out the year, we keep a plastic cup in the pantry for broken crayon bits. For me, organization is the key to reusing. Taking our bucket of busted crayons, we peeled the remaining paper and melted them in a glass jar in the microwave.

We then poured the molten wax into an old heart shaped ice cube tray and let it cool. Melting in the oven gives more control over which colors go into each heart but ovens use more electricity than microwaves and, more importantly, my ice cube tray would have been toast in the oven. I could have bought an oven safe heart mold, muffin tray or such but that would have defeated the purpose of the project.

Gathering thicker paper from around the house - poster board, leftover paper for cards, we cut out circles. My oldest neatly printed his friends' names and his name on one side. I printed a Valentine saying on the front and we hot glued the crayons to the paper.

Ta da! A low impact Valentine made from completely reused and repurposed items involving the kids. Eat your heart out!


Kellie said...

We're still in the collection stage of this project. Can't wait to try it out!

Electronic Goose said...

Great, great idea. I read this when it was posted on your old blog and I'll have to try it when Bean is older.

EcoBurban a.k.a. EcoWonder said...

LOVE this idea, get it? :) I am totally doing this one for my preschooler. Also, my three older boys in middle school??? No more dumb valentines! The trade off? Worrying they have one, very special valentine for a GIRL! Thanks for the idea, GB! Maybe I can convince my middle school buys that a crayon heart is good enough??

greeen sheeep said...

What a great idea, I love it!
I am sooo glad the Chitlins are beyond the valentine mailbox years. Although now they are moving into the balloon/candy bouquet being delivered to their sweetie at school stage. Got any creative ultra-cool ideas fit for a teen?

EcoBurban a.k.a. EcoWonder said...

Greeen Sheeep - Me too! Though with both a presschooler and three middle school students... I get both spectrums. At least my boys aren't that serious about girlfriends - yet. I don't even want to think about the boxes of candy and flowers in my near, high school future!! Some ideas in advance would be great!

Alline Anderson said...

Wow! I LOVE this idea. We'll have to use plain old square ice cube trays, but we'll think of a clever name, like "crayon love blobs" or something! Thanks for recycling the post - I missed it last year!

greeen sheeep said...

Hey Allie, what about cutting the paper into the shape of a heart and then around the crayon blob you could write "You melt my heart".

Farmer's Daughter said...

I remember seeing a project like this using the crockpot to melt the crayons. Don't remember where, though.

JessTrev said...

SO, so cute! Love this and thanks for sharing -- we have that exact ice cube tray! Gotta get cracking on something so that we can avoid the store bought valentines (which we've done so far, knock wood).

For those with the older kids having flowers delivered, one school I taught at collected newspaper bags all year and then delivered the flowers in them (run by the student council). Not perfect but at least some reuse....

kale for sale said...

These hearts are just as pretty this year as last. I thought I'd put a plug in this year for seasonal flowers in the same vein as seasonal foods. Like vegetables grocery stores generally import their flowers in the same way as the produce; sending them on a long road trip, through customs, inspections, packing, unpackaging, repacking, etc. Instead of fresh flowers they could just call them middle aged flowers. Smaller growers at the farmers' markets tend to have the freshest cut flowers, cutting the day before market. There are exceptions everywhere though.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Everyone!

Awww bless those crayon cards are such a great idea! It is such a great way to get the kids involved with arts and crafts! I am getting really stressed out over Valentine’s Day already! Last year I was really down, and to compensate I ate A LOT of ice-cream! I really hope this year will be different! Don't you think there is always so much pressure on everyone to "get it right" with Valentine’s Day cards/booking meals way in advance/flowers/gifts... the list goes on!! However, I have found a new way to send greetings, and this all down to my lovely friend Alice. She sent me an e-Card for Christmas, (she was in New Zealand over the festive season) and I thought it was such a cool way to send greetings, I have now been converted! I spent ages looking on the internet doing some research, and found a fantastic website that has a
Wide range of Valentine's Day e-Cards I am a big fan of this site and one of the best things about it is that it is totally free, so not only are you saving money on postage, but also on paper, so it is a great idea for the environment! They have a new range of Valentine's Day e-Cards with an added twist! They inject a bit of humor into Valentine's Day greetings! They have a cool application where you can upload a photo of yourself and incorporate it into the greetings! I just think it is a great way to make Valentine's Day much more light hearted! Just wanted to share my findings with you all! Hope you find this useful! Electronic greetings aren't for everyone, but I think they are definitely worth a try! Warmest wishes,


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