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It happened: that overconfidence that comes with a series of successful crafting attempts. This week I decided to go for a more ambitious project – creating my own Wikki Stix at home. For those of you that don’t know, Wikki Stix are basically wax covered yarn. I know. Amazing, right?
Alright, so that might not sound like much, but Wikki Stix are kind of great. You can use them for many therapy activities. Here are just a few examples:
-Build letters, numbers, or shapes.
-Raise the outside boundary to assist with coloring forms within the guidelines.
-Emphasize the baseline on a writing worksheet.
-Lay two down on a piece of paper and have the child cut in between them for a tactile and visual guideline.
My biggest reason for attempting this pin was due to the fact that the regular Wikki Stix I use at my clinic are just too short for some projects. When I use them for handwriting worksheets, I find myself wishing they were long enough to reach all the way across the baseline without piecing a bunch together.
They do make “Super Wikki Stix”, which are 3-foot strands of waxy yarn awesomeness, but the set costs around $20! As you may know by now, there is no way I can justify that kind of cash for something I could so easily make at home.
Or so I thought.
Now wait, this pin wasn’t a total disaster. The process itself was easy in theory. I used the recipe most commonly found on Pinterest, from Happy To Be Called “Mommy”:
1. One Toilet wax ring (My nemesis in this whole process.)
2. ½ cup candle wax (Most recipes call for paraffin, but that’s more expensive and would have added a whole other trip to my supply collection adventure… so, no thanks.)
4. Wax paper to lay the Wikki Stix on to dry.
5. Aluminum foil to line the double boiler. (After my mistakes, I recommend heavy-duty foil for this job.)
From there the directions are simple. First, use a double boiler to melt the wax. (You can also create one like I did using a bowl set in a pan.)
Tip #1 The wax ring is a sticky, smelly nightmare. I understand that this is necessary in order to get the Wikki Stix to adhere to whatever you want them to, but oh my, what a mess. You might want to remove your jewelry before handling it. My rings are still smothered in brown goo, along with my camera, the utensils, the counter… you get it.
Tip #2 Wear a gas mask and a hazmat suit as you melt the wax ring. I’m pretty sure I released some toxic fumes when I melted that thing down. My house smelled as if a nearby chemical plant had caught fire and someone forgot to tell me to evacuate. Gross.
Tip #3 Don’t try to stir the melting wax with a knife, because that puts a hole in the foil and the wax fills the bowl, rendering your fast cleaning set-up useless. You might think this goes without saying, but hey, some people (like me) might not think these things through.
Along those line, toss out the melted wax quickly when you are done, because if it hardens in the bowl it is much more challenging to get out.
Tip #4 It takes about 40 minutes to melt down the wax. During that time you can cut your yarn and tie it to a stick (or a metal skewer like I did). This moves the dipping process along much faster. Just make sure to cut the yarn extra long, since not all of it will fit down into the bowl.
This process of dipping the strings was easy and quick. I just let them sit in the wax for a few seconds. You could also hand dip the strings a few at a time if you wanted, just make sure to separate them a bit on the wax paper as they dry.
The wax doesn’t take long to dry once they are out of the pot. Just snip the yarn off of your dippin’ stick and you’re pretty much done. I stopped after about 30 “stix”, but I could have made a whole lot more since I didn’t seem to put a dent in the wax supply.
These Wikki Stix essentially move, bend, and stick like the real thing, they are just a little thicker around, as you can see in the following pictures. (They are also a whole lot smellier, which fortunately you can’t tell from the following pictures.)
The ratio of toilet wax to candle wax could maybe stand to be adjusted, because my Wikki Stix transferred a little bit of the brown wax onto my hands and the paper I was using. But bonus – you get to carry that delicious industrial smell around with you for the rest of the day.
Tip #5 Find anything other than a toilet wax ring to use. There has got to be something else, right? I mean, I feel strange allowing children to play with a product that seals a toilet to the ground.
With that said, I don’t think I’ll be using these Wikki Stix much. They turned out pretty well in terms of stickiness, and they only took about an hour to create, but I just can’t get over the smell. It didn’t seem to bother some people when I used just one at a time, but for children with sensitivities to smell, or those that simply have the sense of smell, these are a no-go.
The total cost of this project was $6.50, so that’s a $13.50 savings compared to buying the Super Wikki Stix. However, if I can’t even use mine without killing my remaining brain cells, it might not be worth it.
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