I have worked and studied all over the world. I taught preschool in and taught high school in California. I worked on a masters degree at the University of Liverpool, England. I studied Spanish in Venezuela for a month. I taught English in Israel and in Poland. When planning to go away for months (or years) at a time, one packs differently than for a short vacation. Whenever I move abroad, I make sure to bring along a box of 64 colors of crayola crayons.
Classic toys are classic for a reason. Crayola crayons are indeed classics. While it is possible to get wax crayons all over, Crayola is the best brand. The colors are intense. They work for coloring, of course. They are also the best choice for other art projects.
One of the things I love to do with Crayolas is to make custom shirts for friends. I will draw heavily on a smooth piece of paper. Paper designed for laser printers is excellent for this purpose. Drawing heavily here is the key. The wax has to be on very thick.When I am done, I will smooth out a shirt onto an ironing board and turn the iron up to a cotton setting. I then lay my picture down where I want it place it and press. It takes a bit of ironing, but the dye from the crayons will transfer into my shirt and I have a customized gift for a friend. This does not work with other brands of crayons as the dye concentration just isn’t high enough.
Another favorite Crayola activity is to decorate candles with them. If I am having a dinner party, and want unusual candles for the table, I will grate Crayola crayons in the colors I want onto a piece of wax paper. I’ll mix up the shavings and spread them out along an area at least as long as the candle is tall. Then I will dip the candle quickly into some hot water to just soften the surface, and I’ll roll the candle into the shavings.
Another favorite project involves coloring the brown paper grocery bags – not the thin lunch bag variety, but the heavier grocery bags. First, I create a design with a heavy outline of black Sharpee markers. Next, I fill in the design with Crayola crayons. The heavier the application of crayons, the better. Turn on your iron to its cotton setting. When it’s ready, turn the paper wax side down onto newspapers and iron. After a minute or two of ironing, pick up the paper bag and spray it with water or use a sponge to moisten it until the paper is just damp. Crumple the paper, and then iron again. (Remember to do this on newspaper and to do it wax side down.) Repeat over and over until the paper becomes soft and pliable. The paper will take on the look of soft, worn leather. This is great with an art project that has a western theme. This worn leather look also makes beautiful custom book covers. Crayons with a lower dye content do not work for this project. Because the paper takes on a soft leather feel, I have also used it to make Halloween costume pieces that required leather.
Of course, Crayola crayons are great for coloring. They inspire flights in the imagination. With the incredible variety of colors, there is almost nothing one cannot create. With a box of Crayolas and the right music as inspiration, I’ve been transported into forests, up onto mountains, and even beyond the stars.
Crayolas are easy to use. Crayola is non-toxic. At one point, this was a laughable sort of issue. Today, with all the recalls of Chinese toys for reasons of toxic content, having something that has always prided itself on being non-toxic is a good thing. When I taught preschool I learned that no matter how closely one watched the children, someone would stick a crayon in their mouth. It is in this situation that I learned that not only are the crayons non-toxic, but they work as an effective laxative for children. (Perhaps it is the wax that makes everything slide smoothly….ewww…)
Crayola Crayons are a great distraction when friends with children come to visit. There are times the grown-ups want to talk. Nothing can keep a child better occupied than a 64 pack of crayons and some paper. My crayons tend to get lots of use. If a child breaks one, I do not care. Crayola are a great value and easily replaced. I do not know what colors come in today’s 64 count box, as I replace crayons with whatever colors I love.
I may go on away for a week or two without my Crayolas, but a house is not a home without a box of them. When we are children, we all love to draw and create. It’s a shame more adults do not take advantage of the inspiration available in a simple box of crayons. I’ve taken mine around the world….and they’ve taken me all kinds of places, too.