My daughter went through a phase when she was first using crayons when she loved to break them but then wouldn’t use them after they were broken. So we have quite a collection of crayon pieces just sitting around.
Pinterest has a trove of ideas for melting down and recycling crayons. The first crayon craft I pinned was actually a product: recycled crayons in the shape of letters. I wanted to make some myself, and I recently found a set of ABC ice cube/candy molds at Hobby Lobby in the “spring shop,” which also has lots of great bright-colored kitchen and garden tools in small sizes (naturally these will now never be for food). So it was time to try making my own crayons.
There are a couple of different methods popularly used to melt down crayons — I have pinned an oven version (you have to scroll down quite a bit but there are some good tips here besides that one) and a stovetop version. I decided to try the oven method because I was too lazy to clean a can to melt the wax on the stove.
What You’ll Need
See, I told you we have a lot of broken crayons! (And yes, the molds have the whole alphabet, I just used the first tray.)
- broken crayons (with the paper taken off)
- alphabet mold or other mold of your choice
- oven pan (just in case!)
What You’ll Do
- Heat oven to 275. Break up crayons and put in mold. I tried to keep the colors harmonious, but if you use different colors in the same mold they’ll make cool effects. Put mold on the oven pan and stick in the oven.
Crayons ready for melting in molds.
- Heat until the wax is melted. It will probably take at least 10 minutes, depending on your mold and the amount of wax you used. Keep an eye on it. I think mine took about 15 minutes to get all the wax in the H melted.
The crayons fresh out of the oven.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from mold.
The first time I tried this the crayons looked great, but I managed to break most of them when I tried to take them out of the molds.
I don't know how the B and D managed to hang on!
The Bit didn’t mind at all. I put the plate of broken crayons on her coloring table and when she spotted them she started singing the alphabet song. She insisted the D needed to go upstairs for some reason. It’s still up there.
I always wonder about bloggers whose kids always seem to play naked. It just happened that the Bit was trying to take off her shirt right before this. Toddlers.
Still, I thought I could do better, so the next day I tried again. I put the broken bits back in the molds and added more crayons to the top, thinking maybe a thicker crayon wouldn’t break as easily.
I also stuck the mold in the freezer for 20 minutes after it had gotten cool enough that the wax was relatively solid again.
Then I took my time taking the pieces out of the molds — it took me a good 10 minutes to get these nine letters out of the mold. But the combination of all that did the trick and I got them all out whole the second time around.
Ah, whole letters! The recycled crayons are a success.
The Bit enjoyed these, too, though she kept trying to get them to color by dragging the letter across the paper, and that wasn’t working all that well.
Recycling crayons this way is super easy and kind of fun. You can use any mold you have on hand (including muffin papers if all else fails), but who wouldn’t love coloring with crayons shaped like letters? It just occurred to me it might be fun for a birthday present to do crayons that spell the child’s name. We’ll have to see if I can get on that…