When we want a warm, homemade meal, we reach for our slow cookers. But when we want to make a DIY project, a homemade gift, or a scented candle? Well, we should reach for our slow cookers then, too! Believe it or not, you can make everything from candles to play dough to lip balm to crayons in your favorite appliance. And similar to making dinner in a slow cooker, you can set these projects and come back to them when they’re ready. These hands-off ideas are the easiest DIYs ever.

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated December 18, 2017
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*Note: If you’re using a slow cooker you also cook in, you can protect the inner bowl with a plastic slow cooker liner for easy cleanup. Melting ingredients in heatproof glass jars rather than directly in the bowl can also help keep your appliance clean. To ensure food safety, don’t use chemical dyes and only add candle dyes after removing the melted wax from the appliance.

Ice Cube Tray Crayons

If your kids have a huge collection of broken crayons, your slow cooker can transform them into a fresh batch. Just melt and pour into silicone ice cube molds in fun shapes.

  1. Peel the wrappers off old crayons. Group them by color, then add about three full crayons to each heatproof jar, breaking each crayon into smaller pieces.
  2. Place the jars in the slow cooker and add water to the bowl so that the water level reaches halfway up each jar. Set on high and let melt for about 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. When completely melted, remove each jar carefully with an oven mitt and pour into the crayon mold. Let set completely before removing your new crayons.

Pink Peppermint Lip Balm

For a little gift or a cute party favor, mix up your own homemade lip balm. One batch makes at least 10 sticks, so you can keep some for yourself too.

  1. Combine 6 tablespoons coconut oil and 2 tablespoons beeswax pellets in a glass jar, then place the jar in the bowl of your slow cooker. Add water to the bowl, so that it reaches about halfway up the jar. Wrap the slow cooker lid with a dishtowel to catch any condensation. Set on high and let melt for 30 minutes.
  2. Once completely melted, carefully remove the jar and stir in a small bit of lipstick to tint and add a few drops of peppermint essential oil if desired.
  3. Use a small funnel to pour the mixture into empty lip balm tubes. Let cool completely (about one hour), then label each tube with washi tape.

Crystal Light-Dyed Pencil Cases

Kool-Aid dye was a 90s classic, but for a fresh spin, we used Crystal Light.

  1. In a slow cooker, stir together 5 cups water and 6 0.13-ounce packets of Pink Lemonade Crystal Light.
  2. Add a pouch or small bag made from natural fabric (such as cotton or silk, we used these). For the most even color, wet the item before adding it to the dye. Set on high and let sit for about one hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. Turn the slow cooker off and let it cool slightly. Remove the pouch, wring it out, and let dry. Use as a pencil case or makeup bag.

Homemade Playdough

We’ve all played with the store-bought stuff, but how many people can say they’ve made their own? Grab your slow cooker, and all of the ingredients can likely be pulled from your pantry.

  1. In a slow cooker, combine 1 cup flour, ¼ cup salt, 2 tablespoons cream of tartar. Then stir in 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.
  2. Cook on high for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
  3. Remove the mixture and let it cool down, then knead it until a soft dough forms. Mix in food coloring.

Slow-Cooker Scented Candles

Make these super simple candles at your next DIY and wine night.

  1. Fill small heatproof glass jars with soy wax chips and place in the bowl of a slow cooker. Add water until it reaches about halfway up the side of the jars. Wrap the lid with a dishtowel to catch any condensation.
  2. Set on high and let melt for about 45 minutes. When the wax melts, top off each jar with more wax chips. Let heat for another 30 minutes, or until completely melted.
  3. Very carefully remove each jar using an oven mitt. If desired, stir in wax dye or essential oils.
  4. Attach a length of wick to a metal tab, and place in the center of the jar. Wrap the end of the wick around a chopstick or skewer that can rest across the top of the jar. Let cool completely, at least an hour, before trimming the wick.

DIY Dip-Dye Candle

If you want to add a DIY touch to a store-bought candle, use this dip-dye method.

  1. In a slow cooker set on high, melt soy wax chips in a tall, thin jar.
  2. Very carefully remove the jar and stir in candle dye.
  3. Dip a white taper candle. If the color is too pale, you can try dipping a second time, or add more dye to the wax.

Lotion Bars

For a fresh spin on your usual moisturizer, try these mini lotion bars. Rub them between your hands or on your elbows, and your body heat will slowly melt the bar and moisturize your skin.

  1. Place a slow cooker liner in the bowl of your slow cooker, then add ½ cup beeswax pellets, ½ cup shea butter, ½ cup coconut oil, and 1 tablespoon vitamin E. Set to high and let melt for about one hour. If desired, you can add skin-safe mica (found at Bramble Berry) to tint the bars.
  2. When completely melted, use a heatproof measuring cup to pour the mixture into a mini muffin tin filled with paper liners. Let cool completely.

Simmer Pot

And here’s a gift for your friend’s slow cooker: a naturally-scented mix of citrus and cinnamon that will make their house smell like the holidays.

  1. In a large glass canning jar with a waterproof seal, layer orange slices, fresh cranberries, rosemary sprigs, and cinnamon sticks. Fill the jar with water.
  2. Add a tag instructing your friend to simmer the mixture on a low setting, with the lid of the slow cooker removed. Each packaged simmer pot can be stored in the refrigerator for about one week.