Re-cycling crayons for a fun do it yourself activity. Here’s how…By
I just spent hours in the kitchen making fun crayons for the church nursery. If you want to do something fun for your kids or a family in need that has children who like to color, you may consider re-cycling crayons.
I had a large bag of crayons – some broken, paper missing, some okay, some with just chips left. My Mom taught me “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”, so I rarely throw anything away (much to my husband’s chagrin) but I do have the neatest quirkiest things to work with when I decide to DIY (do -it yourself) or craft. At any rate, after homeschooling our 6 children on and off throughout the years, I had a horde of crayon leftovers that Santa would have been envious of.
As luck would have it, I saw something at the local flea market that I thought would be useful and it triggered the notion to re-cycle the crayon leftovers. What I saw was an alphabet ice cube tray set for $1. Perfect, I thought, exactly what we need in the church nursery….ABC crayons! Hmmm, that got me thinking. I also have silicone molds for stars, hearts and shapes. I bought the alphabet trays and headed home. As soon as I got home I got a hold of my daughter who had already made her own crayons for my grandchildren – she used muffin tins. Between the two of us, a couple of webpages on the net, and experimentation, I now have a nice box full of all kinds of fun crayons for church tomorrow.
Want to know how to make them? Here is what I did.
1. Lay all the crayons out – if they are near new and whole with the wrapper on, set them aside (I have a large tin of them that I didn’t use set aside now for grandchildren’s visits).
2. Separate the crayons and bits of crayons into colors.
3. Using a pin, score the paper wrapper down one side of the crayon all the way through – this will help you remove the wrapper a lot easier without having to peel it off (saves sore fingers). I was tempted to use an exacto knife but decided I liked my fingers intact, so didn’t in case the knife slipped on the round crayon. The pin worked great.
4. I used Dixie plastic disposable bathroom cups, because that’s what I had handy, but you can use two small similar size plastic containers of whatever you have at home. Two yogurt containers will work well. You are going to need 10 to 12 sets of them. One set for each color.
5. Put water in the bottom of one cup – approx 1/2″. In the other cup snap the crayons into smaller pieces and fill the cup 1/4 to 1/2 full of pieces. Don’t put too many in, it gets seriously messy if you do. (You don’t want to see the inside of one of my microwaves when the blue popped with a pocket of air because I filled it too full – it looks like a Smurf blew up in there). It does clean up, but who wants a big mess if they can avoid it?!
6. Set the cup with the crayons inside the cup with the water to create a mini double boiler. The hot water helps the crayons melt easier with no hard spots.
7. Microwave the crayons for 1 minute at a time. Let it sit for a few more seconds after nuking it so the hot water will help melt the crayons, and then stir. I used a bamboo skewer to stir with – you can buy a whole pack of a lot of them at Wal Mart for very little money – I already had them in the house handy. Depending on what brand of crayons you use, you may have to microwave them from 1 to 3 times. Crayola and the cheap brands microwave well. Prang does not – those crayons get gluey and almost refuse to melt – they are too hard. Do not – I repeat – do not microwave metallic crayons (yeah, don’t ask – just take my word for it, don’t!).
8. Carefully pour the hot wax crayons into the mold you have chosen – fill it full. I only filled the mold part way and when I was getting the letters out they broke because they were too thin – imagine how much use they are going to get from the children- make them thick. Regarding molds: I really liked the results from using the plastic ice cube molds – the crayons came out bright and shiny, almost like I bought them at the store from Melissa and Doug products. However, I didn’t really like how they came out when I used the silicone molds because they came out matte and a little dull. I liked them a lot better using the plastic molds.
9. Let the crayons cool – it doesn’t take long. I left mine for an hour or two but then I was making crayons for hours so I didn’t pay attention to how long it took to cool. Oh, do not spray anything in the molds, it will leave a film that interferes with the crayons coloring okay, and it’s not needed. The crayons will pop right out with no problem. If you want them to cool faster, stick them in the freezer for a bit. Gently rap on the counter and the crayons will pop right out.
If you break or chip a crayon or don’t like how it turned out – no problem. Just re-melt it and do it over. Voila! Lotsa fun on the cheap using something you didn’t have to go and buy