Tutorial:: Upcycled Crayons
With three grade schoolers and one preschooler the end of the school year means lots of use school supplies coming home. Some will get reused next year, but others will be added to the family craft cupboard and bins to use for numerous projects this summer and next school year.
Crayons … have you noticed that they are the one craft item that seems to multiply ten fold in the craft box when no one is looking? And once they are old, broken and ruddy, they aren’t so fun to use anymore and are quickly forgotten. Add the return of 100+ crayons to our already growing supply, and I thought I’d share a fun project my children and I discovered a couple of years ago thanks to Family Fun’s up-cycled Valentine card idea. What is an up-cycled crayon? Old broken crayons melted into a new crayon. They can be all one color, similar shades, two-tone, or multi-colored.
Start by collecting all the old crayons in the house … odds and ends, bits and pieces from the craft drawer, leftovers from the school year, everything that’s lost it’s interest to be played with. We put everything in the mix: Crayola, RoseArt, freebie crayons from restaurants, fat, skinny, washable, glow in the dark, princess, you name it we used it. Each has their own unique melting qualities, and that made for some fun added dimensions when looking at the end product.
Next, remove the paper wrapper from around each crayon and if you like, sort by color. Cereal bowls or custard cups work really well for sorting. You may also need to break the crayons into smaller segments if they aren’t already. Let your child experiment with how to mix the colors and have them make predictions about how the crayon combination will look after they are melted.
You will need a mold to melt the crayons in. Silicon or metal muffin/cupcake tins work really well. As you can see I used a star shaped mold. Silicon molds come in so many fun shapes – nearly every theme or shape imaginable is available – and they make releasing the crayons very easy.
Melting the crayons will take a watchful eye … turn on the oven light and let your kids watch the magic happen! I baked ours at 350 for about 15 minutes and let them cool for a couple of hours on the counter, a friend using a metal pan melted hers at 350 for 10 minutes and Family Fun says to melt them at 250 for 15 minutes. I think it all depends on the kinds of crayons you are using, how big your molds are (FF’s are no bigger than 2″, and mine 2.75″), the brand of crayon you are using, and possibly the pan (silicon vs. metal?). So turn on your oven light and watch them closely. It takes them a while to cool enough to remove from the pan, so plan a trip to the library or the pool to make the waiting period easier!
We’ve done this project a couple of times and have given them as gifts, and included them in care packages and holiday packages to cousins. They also make really cute party favors for birthdays. If you’re looking for just the right shape for a birthday party, check out PreschoolDoll Designs on Etsy. She’s got tons of great shapes and some of them right now are discounted, so you can get some great deals.
If you opt to make your own, or need to package the ones you purchase, I use clear plastic treat bags. Cut a square of cardstock slightly larger than your shape – for the stars, I cut them 3.25″ square. Place the square of cardstock in the bottom of the plastic sack to create a bottom. Stack 2-3 crayons up in the bag on top of the card stock and tie with a ribbon.