Sticky Sticks Preschool Resource: How to Make your Own!

My sister-in-law is a kindergarten and early elementary teacher.   She has raved about how marvelous these “yarn wax sticks” were, how she uses them in numerous way in her classroom, how easy these sticks are to manipulate and how they are a no-mess craft/activity.     They sound terrific – so I set out to make my own to use with our homeschool preschool.   If you are interested in buying them, check out Wikki Stix!

A DIY for wikki sticks - that you can make!

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Supplies Needed:

  • Yarn (cotton or velor worked the best, bumpy yarns were not suitable)
  • Toilet Bowl Seal
  • Regular Wax Candle
  • Pot
  • Tweezers
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Paper Towels

Instructions:

Put the wax toilet seal into your sauce pan and turn the heat on low.

Cut the yarn into strings that are roughly 8 inches long.

Cover a pan with aluminum foil (to make clean up easier)

Once the seal melts, you will need to remove the plastic and/or metal insert.   The seal I purchased was brown and I wish it were white or clear so my colors of yarn could be more brilliant.

After you’ve removed the insert, add a chunk of the regular candle wax.   The toilet wax is too sticky, but if you use regular candle wax it is too hard and will crack on the yarn.   I don’t remember the amounts I used exactly, it probably depends on the type of seal wax and house candle you are using.   I added a quarter sized chunk into the mixture, tested a strand, and probably added 2-3 more quarter sized chunks before the wax had the right consistency.   You want the strands to stick to eachother once dry but not leave a residue on the surface.

So once you have your wax figured out, drop several strands of yarn into the wax, wait 30 seconds or so for them to absorb the wax, then lift them out with the tweezers.   Line them up on your foil to dry.

As soon as I was finished I realized that the wax smears instead of wipes or scrapes off… OOPS!   I was able to remove the majority of the wax residue, by heating the pot on high and wipe out with the paper towels.   Be sure to wash in very hot water later.

One seal and roughly 1/2 a candle made nearly 100 strands!   Another perk, my hands were super soft from all the waxy oils!

And now, the truth.   This meager pile took all of nap time to create – more than two hours!!   Seriously, I doubt my kids will play with them that long!   If you have been reading Quirky Momma much you know that I love creating learning supplies and manipulatives to help kids learn.   This is one of the instances though where I think my time would have been better spent ordering them online!   I will post a few of the activities we did together with our “sticky sticks” (or Wikki Stix knockoffs) and please tell me if/when you try it what I could have made this process more efficient.   OR if you are not handy/creative, check out Wikki Stix.   Buying them online beats making them yourself!

I got the inspiration on how to make these on this forum, check out the thread at A to Z Teacher Stuff.

14 Comments

  1. Hi Rachel! Thanks for the comment on my tunic! In answer to your question, YES, it was easy to sew. And it would make the perfect maternity shirt! You should try it.

    My daughter loves Wikki Stix. I never thought to make them ourselves though. How great!
    .-= Jenny´s last blog ..First Project of 2010. =-.

  2. Well, it was good of you to offer a tutorial, even if it may be easier to buy these. I love trying to make stuff myself, so I think I’ll go ahead and give these a try – thanks for sharing!!
    .-= Mari-Ann´s last blog ..Fun with Canned Goods =-.

  3. My daughter liked Wikki Stixs, but I always thought they were pretty expensive for what you got – some wax impregnated string. So seeing the do-it-yourself was terrific! I feel much better about having spent the money, now that I know how much work it was.

    Your kids might not play with them for two hours to start, but just stash them away. They’re good as new each time you get them out, so they will get some good play time. I liked mine for restaurant entertainment, because they’re not messy.

  4. Very cool to make your own wikki Stix! My sons love using Wikki Stix. It will be fun to try to make these and to compare and contrast how they are with the store bought ones. When I do these, I will track back to you.
    Have a nice week and thanks for sharing! so glad I found your nice blog! Hope that you will come to check out my blog, too:)
    Colleen
    .-= Colleen´s last blog ..Making Memories- Montessori &amp Malaguzzi Monday- Family Fun at Area Museums =-.

  5. JDanile would love these. I love that you can make them at home. Stopping from Mom Loop!

  6. I made these tonight and they were great! My suggestions to speed things up… I bought a disposable roasting tinfoil pan and placed this directly into a frying pan of boiling water (homemade double boiler). Once the wax melted, I reduced the heat to medium. I cut my strings ahead of time and threw them in individually, but did 30 at a time. I don’t think it matters how long they soak; as long as its at least 30 seconds. Place on wax paper to cool and it took me about half an hour to make 100! The best part of the disposable pan is i let the leftover wax cool and placed it aside for my next batch. I figure the total cost was $5 for the batch (since i only used half). Thanks for the idea 🙂

  7. greentchr says:

    Another ‘double boiler’ idea for no clean-up: melt the wax inside a can that is placed inside a pot of water. When you are done, just throw the can away- no clean up saves time! This works well any time you are melting wax- to make home-made candles and other projects, for instance.

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