Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Stained Glass Number Line!

Back to school!

Crazy town, right? I cannot believe that we're into August already. Where did the summer go? Where is 2013 going? And didn't we just do fall?

Apparently, we're about to do it again.

This year, I'm sending my oldest off to "school". And by school, I mean preschool at one of our local churches. She is so super excited about it.

Last year I did some homeschool stuff with her. Not much, really, and we were pretty relaxed about it, but I truly believe that she is way ready for pre-k this year because of that head start. And I'd like to do the same thing for Daniel.

Since I plan working with Daniel, I wanted to get our room ready. The room that we use for school is really just our play room, but the activities are a little more organized (when the room isn't a wreck) and I've got shelves and cabinets which house my curriculum books (both current books and books that I've saved from my years as a teacher), art and craft supplies, and other odds and ends that we use during the year.

One of the things that the room was sorely missing last year that I wanted to remedy this year was a basic number line, something that Daniel will be able to look up and reference when we're working on number recognition.

There are plenty of these available for purchase. But I have beef with most of them. They're not always cheap, for one. And secondly, most of them are too cutesy for my taste. I wanted something functional and easy on the eyes. Oh, and free. Free works.

The other major problem I have is that our room was built as a sunroom, which means that there are a lot of windows. I love windows, don't get me wrong. But it does make things difficult when I have so much to hang. Wall space is at a premium. Basically, I wanted something that I could hang in the window.

So I made it myself! (surprised?) It was easy, it was quick, and it gave me some ammunition for our next Friday's Art Smarts, which, let's all hope, will be more successful than last week. ;)

Here we go.


1. old crayons
2. manual pencil sharpener
3. ice cube tray (or other tray with several compartments)
4. wax paper
5. parchment paper
6. iron
7. cardstock or old file folder
8. pencil
9. scissors
10. hole punch
11. thread or string (I used waxed string)

This is a great way to use up all your old, ratty crayons. I don't know about your house, but we have a ridiculously huge crayon collection. I don't know where they've all come from, but they came, and we have them, and now we have to figure out how to use them.

Pick out a few in the colors you'd like to use and sharpen them with the sharpener. Make sure you catch all the shavings in the ice cube tray to keep the colors separate.

For this project, one crayon filled two cubes with shavings, which means I only used seven crayons.

Not gonna lie. It's tedious sharpening all those crayons to bits. And it makes your fingers hurt. But it's worth it in the end.

On your ironing board, lay down a large piece of parchment paper. On top of that, lay out a large piece of wax paper.

On top of the wax paper, scatter your shavings in a way that pleases you.

Cover your shavings with a second piece of wax paper. On the very top, lay out a final piece of parchment paper.

The wax paper is what you're fusing together. The parchment paper keeps the wax paper from sticking to the both the ironing board and your iron as it melts. Read: it's very important.

Set your iron on a low setting; mine was set on "silk." Make sure you've turned off the steam.

Start ironing over the parchment paper, moving fairly fast. Don't let the iron sit in any one spot for more than a couple seconds. You'll find that the crayon shavings melt right away and begin to merge.

The whole process should take no longer than a minute.

Let the wax dry. I left mine alone for about 20 minutes.

While your wax is drying, draw out your number stencils on an old file folder or piece of cardstock. I made my numbers five inches tall and free-handed them, with the aid of a ruler.

Cut them out and trace them onto the wax paper. I used a pencil to trace them out.

Finally, cut those numbers out and - ta da! You've got some beautiful numbers ready to string.

I punched two holes in the top of each number and threaded my waxed string through. Then I hung them!

I love how colorful they are and I love, love how they look with the sun shining through them.

This is one of those standard crafts from my childhood that I'm so glad I resurrected. I can't wait to do a similar activity with my kids later this week. I think (I hope!) they'll have some fun with it!

I know a lot of you are getting your own homes ready for school this year (or classrooms!), and I'd love to hear it if you've used or modified this idea in any way. And send me a link if you blog about it!!

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