You know that lovely smell that happens when you crack open a new box of crayons? And then not too may days after that those crayons are peeled, and broken, and have lost that new crayon sparkle? Enter this super simple DIY crayon recycling idea. Learn how to melt crayons in the oven safely and how to make awesome new crayons shapes!
Grab the box of grubby, broken crayons that no one wants to use but you can’t bear to throw away. They are perfect for this crayon recycling activity! Everyone seems to have a bin like this!
You will also need some kind of mold in which to melt your crayons in. Silicone molds are super easy to use. Because they are so soft you can just “pop” the finished cooled crayons right out. We have a heart mold that has turned out Valentine crayons for several years worth of elementary Valentine’s day parties. Recently we used a silicone ice trays which turned out really awesome as well.
After using these little trays for crayons you could probably scrub them clean and fill them with muffin mix. But, I’m not gonna’ lie. At our house once we make crayons the trays are designated “crafting use.”
Prepare for the next step of crayon making by heating your oven to 300 degrees.
How to make crayons from…crayons….
Before learning how to melt the crayons in the oven you must first peel the crayons of their paper wrappers. I have to admit peeling crayons is like therapy to me. Once I start I want to keep doing it.
I use an X-acto blade to slice a line down the paper of the crayon, pass the crayon down to the kid, and let them peel away.
Snap crayons into small pieces and set aside. Depending on the age of your student you may need an adult involved to help cut the wrapper off the crayon. If your kids are older and responsible learning knife skills could be part of the crayon recycling lesson. I love fitting this type of “kitchen skill” in when we’re not hurrying to get dinner on the table.
Now is the time to fill up whatever mold you decide to use. Lay small pieces of crayons in the mold haphazardly or in a color coordinated plan. Whatever makes your little person happy here will work just fine. Don’t worry if the crayons don’t lay flat. As they melt it all smooths out.
How to melt crayons in the oven….
If you’re using silicone molds I suggest placing them on top of a regular baking sheet before they go in the oven. A flexible pan full of hot wax is not ideal for getting out of the oven.
Set your timer for twenty minutes and go peel some more crayons. The recycled crayons are done when all the crayon stubs have melted down to a smooth top. Occasionally some crayons take longer than others to melt down; either due to content or size. In our experience twenty minutes in the oven pretty consistently provides uniformly melted crayons.
Now that you know how to make crayons….
Wait for them to fully cool. They will try to trick you by looking all solid and done. But when you go to pop them out of the mold melt-y wax is hiding inside. Give them twenty minutes or so to cool in the molds. The top of the crayon (which will actually be the bottom when they come out of the mold) might look a little mixed and muddy in color. Don’t worry. Pop them out and take a look at the top- beautiful! If your kiddo mixed colors in each mold you will see beautiful rainbow crayons!
These are perfect for large scale drawing or rubbings like these leaf rubbings or these tissue paper rubbings. Normally for a rubbing you would be peeling a crayon and laying it on its side to use. These chubby DIY crayons give your kids something to hold onto and make the whole process a little easier! And depending on the colors they chose they might get a surprise of colors as they work!