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Recycle Broken Crayons Into New Crayon Shapes!

Updated on November 27, 2014

Melting the old bits into new, fun shapes!

We've all had broken crayons before...they usually just go in the garbage. Now you can turn them into new, exciting crayons in lots of different shapes.

I worked in Childcare for 15 years. After one year of throwing away broken crayons (LOTS of broken crayons) I figured out a way to make them fun again!

Preschool teachers I worked with would grate the crayons and melt them in muffin papers in the oven. When done you would have a large blob of multi-colored crayon bits. It was fun for a little while, but it was not really easy to color a picture.

I started to make these crayons for the childcare. Then it became a fundraiser for us...we would sell them for stocking stuffers at Christmas time, or to hand out for treats at Halloween.

Now, you can make exciting, new crayons using a double boiler method and candy molds! Read on, and I tell you how...

Tools Of The Trade

You will need some basic things to get started:

  • Electric fry pan

  • Empty soup or vegi cans (1 for each color of crayon you're making)

  • Stir sticks (bamboo skewers, chopsticks, etc.)

  • Candy Molds

  • Paper towels

  • Broken(or unwanted) crayons

Prep Your "Tools"...Now That You Have Them!

There are only 2 major preparations you need to make:

1. Squeeze the top edge of your melting cans into a pour spout.

2. Peel the paper off of the crayons, and separate them by color.

The cans bend pretty easy just with your hands (use pliers if you want a better spout).

Peeling the paper off of the crayons has got to be the worst part of this whole project! Picking at the paper just gets wax and paper stuck under your fingernails, and it's not fun when you're doing a lot of crayons.

I discovered if you soak the crayons in ice water for a few seconds (20 - 45 seconds), then tap them, vertically, on a hard surface the wrapper will slide off! Also, if you work at a Childcare Center, you'll find that the kids LOVE to tear the paper off the crayons for you! Then you can make a color game to separate them.

Let's Make Crayons!

1. Set your Electric Fry Pan to a little above the warm setting, and fill with a little water. How much water depends on how many crayons are in your melt cans...I usually only fill them 1/4 to 1/3 full. You want the water at the same level as the crayons in the cans, or lower. Don't let it start to bubble.

2. Put your melt cans in the water and mix with stir sticks frequently.

3. When all the crayons have melted you're ready to pour. Have your molds on a flat surface. Pick up the melt can with 3 or 4 layers of paper towels (to protect you from the heat), and pour slowly into the molds.

4. Allow the filled molds to sit until completely cooled. This can take from 20 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the pieces.

5. When cooled completely...turn the mold over and gently bend and push on the mold to release the new crayons. Deep mold designs will sometimes take a little work to release. Set a folded towel down, hold onto the bottom corners of the mold and hit the top corners of the mold on the towel. The force and the angle will convince stubborn crayons to let go!

Congratulations! You made your first crayons! Go on....color with them. You know you want to!

What's Your Favorite Crayon Color?

I've heard it said that blue is the most popular color. When it comes to making crayons red is the most difficult color to find, so that means it must be the most popular right? Let's find out for ourselves. I've listed some crayon colors below...

Which of these crayon colors is your favorite?

See results

Little Helpful Learning Moments

Things I wish I would have known when I started.

I never realized how many green and brown crayon shades there are until I started making crayons! Green and brown colors can get ugly if you use too many "Olive Green" or "Burnt Sienna". Try to use enough bright colors to offset the dull ones. If you want a bright red color, then make sure you have true red crayons and not reddish colors (like red-orange).

I used a piece of paper to check the "real" color of the crayon. It may look blue, but it colors a whole different color! Different companies make slightly different colors.

If you find some specialty crayons (scented or sparkly) use just one or two pieces to make the whole batch scented or sparkly!

There are some crayons that don't melt...or melt at a much higher temperature. If you find all your crayons in the melt can have melted except for one, then just remove it with your stir stick.

When I started getting serious about fundraising with these crayons, I needed a lot of crayons. I asked local stores if I could put up little bins for people to donate their broken crayons. I soon had more than I could use! Yard sales are another good place to find old crayons.

Good luck, have fun, and happy coloring!

With your help and comments I hope to streamline this lense and make the process of recycling crayons less confusing. Let me know what you think, and how your crayons turn out.

Crayon Quips: Leave a note about the person, the process, and the lense!

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    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      Really fun - my type of craft. Easy and economical. Pinned to 2 boards: crafts I love and my homeschooling board.

    • karatepooh profile image
      Author

      karatepooh 4 years ago

      @anonymous: That only happen to me when I used a bigger (wider) mold. I suppose different types of crayons could play a part. Please post again if you find out what did cause it!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Do you know why my new crayon shape would sink in the middle?

    • tfsherman lm profile image

      tfsherman lm 5 years ago

      Brilliant! Why have I never seen this idea anywhere before? But you'll see it soon on my melting crayons lens because I'm stealing, err. borrowing it from you. (You're so right about the crayon lumps.)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My three-year-old daughter and I made heart-shaped crayons for "Valenday times" treats for her Mother's Day Out class. She had a lot of fun watching and directing! We're experimenting with the leftover crayon wrappers, too--homemade paper!

    • noner profile image

      noner 5 years ago

      Neat idea. I was looking for some party favor ideas for my sons birthday party in a month, and I think I might try to make some crayons to put in the favor bags.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I teach 2nd grade.....once the crayons are broken or dull, kids don't want to use them anymore. I've got quite a collection of old crayons. I'm pleased to find a creative way to reuse them! Thanks! (There are never enough red or black crayons, in my experience.)

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 5 years ago

      My 2 year old grand-daughter just loves to color! Usually she insists that I color with her--on the same page. AND she picks out my crayon. Since she is just 2, there are lots of broken crayons at my house! Thanks for the instructions and I love the way you have us separate the crayons by color and use the candy molds.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      i use an exacto knife to slice down the crayon, then the paper peels off easily. will definitely have to try the ice water trick though

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      Great idea to recycle crayons! thanks!

    • freaknoodles1 profile image

      freaknoodles1 6 years ago

      I've seen this done before, but the thought of peeling the crayons has always kept me from doing it myself. I'm going to try your ice water tip and see how it goes. Thanks!

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 7 years ago from Vermont

      Great idea for recycling crayon bits - I've seen the "chunky" new-from-old crayon crafts, but this one makes more sense and I bet is lots more appealing to children (and adults) who love coloring. Me, I love coloring so much I draw and give away lots of coloring pages. Lensrolling to my coloring lenses ... 5*

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Nice idea! Seems like fun.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      What a great idea. I'll pass this along to a friend who teaches art at a pre-school.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      My mom used to read the Pooh bear books to us when we were kids. They were so much fun and we used to split our sides reading them. I think Pooh is the awesomest!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      When I was little I used to leave crayons in the sun on pieces of paper and then play with them when they became soft and squishy. This sounds like loads more fun. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Zion 8 years ago

      Wow! This is a great info for all of us.

      I really like your lens! so I gave you 5*.. how about that?!...

      Please try to stop by my lens. I would really much appreciate if you could rate mine too!

      Thank you so much!

      Zion

      http://www.squidoo.com/effective-best-acne-treatme...

    • karatepooh profile image
      Author

      karatepooh 8 years ago

      Hi Spirituality, in answer to your question....the melted crayons are poured into the crayon molds. Whatever molds you buy determine the shape of the finished crayons.

    • karatepooh profile image
      Author

      karatepooh 8 years ago

      Hi Spirituality, in answer to your question....the melted crayons are poured into the crayon molds. Whatever molds you buy determine the shape of the finished crayons.

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Where do you find the shapes to turn them into?

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Where do you find the shapes to turn them into?

    • Robyco profile image

      Robyco 8 years ago

      Great idea, I will have to let the kids try this, supervised of course!

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 8 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      What a great idea. I'm sending a link to my sister who has a little boy. I'm sure she'll find it useful.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 8 years ago

      How fun! I love anything recycled and this is just too cool, I never heard of it before! 5*

    • profile image

      gods_grace_notes 8 years ago

      I love it! I hate to give the kids a container filled with broken crayons... I've used candy molds for many different crafting projects, but haven't tried them for crayons. Thanks for the inspiration and how-to's!

      Connie

      You've Been Peeped By a Giant Squid!

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 8 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      This is wonderful! A super duper tutorial that offers all we need to do this ourselves! I'm lensrolling this to my playdough lens.

      You are herebyBlessed by a Squid Angel.

    • Lou165 profile image

      Lou165 8 years ago from Australia

      What a fantastic lens, I wish I'd read it a few years ago!

    • profile image

      Tarra99 8 years ago

      5 stars and a fav from me!...my kids will love this! What a great idea!...and thanks for visiting and commenting on my Scrabble Tile Pendant Lens...I really appreciate it! :D

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      What a neat idea! There are so many near recycling ideas. We just need to think of them.

      Great lens.

      Lizzy