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Upcycling Broken Crayons | Bannor Toys

Upcycling Broken Crayons

If your kids love to color, then you know that crayons are not the most durable art supply out there. And if you’re like me, you probably have a baggie of broken crayons sitting in a cabinet somewhere. I never had a clear plan for what I wanted to do with these, but I knew I didn’t want to just throw them out. Once my baggie was so stuffed I couldn’t even get it to close anymore, I realized it was time to give these broken crayons a new life!

Before we could get started on upcycling our crayons, we needed to remove their wrappers. I was amazed by how committed my kids (3.5 and almost 6 years old) were to this process – I was much more frustrated by it than they were! I found that the trick that worked for me was to run a pushpin along the length of the crayon. This created a slit down the wrapper, making it much easier to remove in larger pieces. This did leave a scratch on the crayons, but for the crafts we did, it didn’t matter. Once the crayons were all unwrapped, we repurposed them in three different ways.

 

 

New Crayons

The most classic thing to do with old, broken crayons is to make new ones!! This is a great activity for even young kids. All you need to do is break the crayons into small pieces and fill the cavity of a candy mold or muffin tin. We mixed colors to create tie-dyed crayons, but you could make them monochromatic as well. Bake them for 20 minutes at 200o F, until all the pieces are melted. Let the new crayons cool completely before removing from their molds.

 

A few thoughts/suggestions:

  • There is a possibility of staining, so I suggest not using your favorite baking items for this craft. We used silicone candy molds that I was able to find inexpensively at a craft store.
  • If you’re using an unstructured silicone mold, place it on a baking sheet before it goes in the oven.
  • Be mindful of the shapes you choose. We made building bricks and fish. Though adorable, the tail on the fish was a bit too narrow to be practical as a writing utensil.
  • When you’re breaking the crayons, try to make them consistent(ish) in size. There was a lot of size variation in ours, and as a result they didn’t melt at the same time, which made the baking time a little bit hard to pinpoint.

 

 

"Painted Rocks" 

My kids love to paint rocks and leave them around the neighborhood. Instead of paint, you can use melted crayons! Choose your rocks, and bake them for 15 minutes at 350o F. Using tongs, take a rock out of the oven and place it on a baking rack that has wax paper below it. Press a crayon onto the hot rock, and as it melts it will “paint” the rock. The harder you press, the darker the color will be. Be careful not to touch your fingers to the rock! Allow the rocks to cool completely before handling, then hide them around your neighborhood or display them in your garden.

 

A few thoughts/suggestions:

  • Because of the hot rocks, this activity is better for kids who are a little bit older. For reference, my 3.5-year-old did not participate, but my almost 6-year-old loved it.
  • Don’t take all of your rocks out of the oven at once because they do cool pretty quickly. Only take out as many rocks as you’re actively working on and leave the remaining rocks in the oven until it’s their turn.
  • We originally placed the hot rocks onto a trivet covered in wax paper. This resulted in a puddle of melted crayon that ended up solidifying to the rock as it cooled. We were able to break this off, but we found it worked better to allow the crayons to melt off the rock and through the baking rack instead.

 

Wax Paper Suncatcher

This is another variation on a craft my kids love to make – suncatchers! Place a piece of wax paper on a baking sheet and add tiny pieces of crayon. We used a plastic knife, but a pencil sharpener or grater would work, too. Once you add the colors that you want, add a second piece of wax paper on top. Bake at 200o F for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and press to fully melt the crayons and fuse the wax paper pieces. It will be too hot to use your hands for this; the back of a spoon works perfectly! I bet a rolling pin would, too. Allow to cool completely. Cut to whatever shape you’d like and hang them in a window.

 

 

 

 

A few thoughts/suggestions:

  • Lighter colors will be more transparent. Darker colors will create a galaxy look like ours.
  • Spread the crayons into a size that is a bit bigger than the shape you want to make sure that the paper is fused all the way to the edges of your suncatcher. We made a popsicle stick frame for ours, but that isn’t required.
  • When spreading the crayons, be mindful of air pockets and be sure you press the top paper down consistently. You can see a few air pockets on ours. It’s not a big deal especially since they are less noticeable when hanging, but it’s something that I’d pay closer attention to next time.

 

I hope you and your kids enjoy giving life to your old crayons by trying one (or all!) of these crafts. Do you have other ways that you like to use broken crayons? Please share them in the comments!

 

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