The Trash Stash: Recycled Crayons

I loved to color as a kid spending hours with my crayons and coloring books.  My favorite box of crayons was the 64 count with built in sharpener. But it was soon replaced with a new favorite when they started introducing “special colors” and “limited edition” varieties in the 96ct. Oh the joy of my past little girl self… Today I still enjoy crayons, whether it is sitting down to color pictures with my kiddos or making my own special color shaped crayons.

“Making your own?” some of you may be asking. Curious how I do it?

Crayons - Pieces.jpg

Well, it all starts with a surplus of crayons. Yes, I “rescue” rejected crayons. Former co-workers, friendly strangers I meet at craft shows, and pre-school teachers have all donated their old, broken or otherwise no-longer wanted crayons to me.  I even save the free crayons they give you at restaurants with the kids’ menu when my little ones are done playing with them. First, I separate them into their basic color families. Then, I begin the painstaking process of removing all the paper jackets. Once removed, into plastic baggies until melting time.

To make the fun shapes, I visited my local craft store and bought some plastic chocolate molds, the kind you use to make chocolate covered pretzel sticks. I found that these work really well, but in order to use them I had to first add a dab of hot glue to stop up the pretzel slot.

Crayon - Molds.jpgTo melt the crayons, I found that a “double boiler” style method works best. I used an old glass measuring cup that had lost its markings (ie: no longer an effective measuring cup), an old pot, a spatula and a pot-holder (or other heat protective device, such as a heat resistant towel.) All of these items are dedicated to my crayon making efforts.

Crayons - Pot and Beaker.png

Time to melt. I place water in the pot and set the heat to medium high. Then, I place the glass beaker over the edge. Next, it’s time to break up the crayons into smaller pieces and add them to the glass. I like to experiment with a variety of color mixes. My mold takes anywhere from 2-1/2 to 4 crayons each to fill, so I work in batches of approximately 8-9 broken up crayons. Stirring occasionally with the spatula, it takes a little while for them to melt down. Once all the chunks have melted, I carefully lift the glass with the pot holder and slowly pour into the shapes.

Crayons - Cool Down.pngNow, it’s time to cool. I let them cool down slowly. I tried to speed up the process once by sticking the crayons in the refrigerator, but that resulted in very brittle crayons that didn’t hold up well. So, a slow cool down on the counter is best. After about 20-30 minutes cooling in the mold, I turn them out onto paper towels and let them finish cooling for another 2-3 hours.

Crayon Group.jpgAnd that’s how I do it. Fun shaped, unique colored crayons. I keep some of them for my own personal stash, and the surplus I sell at craft shows. I hope you found this interesting and perhaps got a little inspired to look at your old crayons in a new light.

Crayons - Packages.jpg

 

(Disclaimer: Making your own crayons can be a dangerous activity and this is just a glimpse of how I do it.  Should you decide to attempt this craft, please be careful, do your research and proceed with caution at your own risk.)

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