Introduction: Solitaire Game With Crayons
I’ve seen many creations over the internet that used crayons in epoxy as medium for builds and I told to myself that it was something I wanted to try. When the idea came to my mind to make a solitaire game, I knew it was time to try this new technique. Here’s the story of this build.
I quickly checked on the internet, but couldn't find the exact origin of this game. There are many variants of it, changing the pattern and the amount of marbles on the board.The objective is always the same : to empty the entire board except for a solitary marble in the central hole. The one I made is known as the English version with 33 holes. If you want more info on this, you can check the Wikipedia page : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peg_solitaire
- Plastic sheet for the mold
- Hot glue
- Crayons (Obviously ^^)
- Epoxy resin
- Spray varnish
- Cork sheet (used as a pad)
- Hot glue gun
- A saw to cut the crayons (Hand saw works, bandsaw is better)
- Router (+bits)
Step 1: Mold Making
First of all I made the mold using a plastic sheet that I had laying around the workshop. This material is practical because its surface is smooth and the epoxy won’t stick to it that easily. Another solution here could be to use a cake mold made of silicone.
I cut two strips in the plastic sheet and make a circle that is a bit higher than 3cm (1 ½ inch) and with a diameter around 30cm (12 inches). I glued the strips with hot glue and sealed the outer perimeter. Be careful with the seal, if it is not watertight, you will have a resin leak when pouring.
Step 2: Cutting Crayons
Step 2 is to cut the crayons, you will need patience for this one. I first tried to cut the crayons with a handsaw and a miter box, but I quickly realize that it would take me ages and that the cut wasn’t very clean. So I switched to the bandsaw with a medium blade (10-12 tpi). I build a simple jig that allowed me to make repetitive cuts quite easily while keeping my fingers far enough from the blade.
In the end, this step took me more than 3 hours, cutting crayons 6 by 6. I can tell you that I was relieved when it ended !
Step 3: Resin Pour
First thing is to place all the crayons vertically in the mold. I used a piece of wood to prevent the crayons from falling every time I moved the mold. This is again a game of patience, but there is something satisfying about filling the mold piece by piece.
Once the mold is full of crayons it is time for the resin pour. I mixed the resin in a cup and added a black pigment. This improves the contrast with the crayons, and I didn’t want to see through some spots. The pour is easy, just let the resin sink between the crayons and wait for the surprise. That the moment when you check if the mold is watertight, and mine wasn’t totally. Nothing to worry, I put more hot glue and paper tissue to block the leak and it was done. Second surprise is that the crayons started to float, making an uneven surface on the top. To prevent that, the best solution is to put a weight on top of it.
Step 4: Unmolding and Preparing the Blank
After letting it cure for a full day (depending on the resin used) the resin had harden. Unmolding was not a problem thanks to the smooth plastic sheet. But because the resin had leaked, I had to use a chisel to remove the excess stuck to the wood underneath.
Now the blank that has been unmolded isn’t quite perfect. The bottom face is flat enough, but the other one is irregular due to the crayons floating. To correct that I used a router with a flattening jig made out of scrap wood. That jig allowed me to create a flat face parallel to the bottom one in a few minutes.
Step 5: Machining the Solitaire
The blank was now straight but not perfectly round, so I made another jig for the router. It is just a piece of plywood which I fixed to the router using the screws from its plate. Then I traced a mark 15 cm from the router bit (half the final diameter) and drill the plywood. I drilled the crayons blank too in the center and used the drill bit to align the plywood and the blank. The router could spin around the blank as a compass would do, so I equipped it with a straight bit and cut through the blank 5 mm (⅕ inch) at a time and obtained a perfect circle.
While the router was attached to the jig, I took advantage of it to make the groove that catches the marbles out of the game. All I had to do was changing the bit too a round one and make a second hole in the plywood 2 cm (¾ inch) from the first. That way I can make a second circle with a smaller radius. Before putting away the router, I used it to make a round chamfer on the outside perimeter. Then I drew lines on the blank to mark the position of the holes where I have to drill. Once it was done, I used my drill press to have control on the depth and the straightness of the 33 holes I did. The diameter and the depth of the holes don’t matter here, the point is just to make a groove on the board so the marbles keep still while playing.
Step 6: Finishing
Finishing started with sanding the board with high grit sandpaper as the router already leaves a quite smooth surface. First I used my sander with 120 grit sandpaper then switched to 180 before sanding by hand the sharp edges left.
I applied 4 coats of spray varnishing sanding with 240 grit sandpaper between coats. The varnish protects the crayons, preventing them from “drooling” later. To hide the irregularities on the bottom face, I glued a cork sheet on it with contact glue. It hides the defects and acts as a pad under the solitaire.
Now the solitaire is ready to be played. It makes a great home decor on a table and always catches the eye of your guests ;)
Runner Up in the