Thursday, November 3, 2011

DIY: Recycled Crayons

Really, tutorials for this are all over the Internets, so we hardly need another one. This isn't really a tutorial so much as a "seriously, this is so easy, give it a try!" bit of encouragement. At any rate, recycled crayons in cute shapes were on my holiday gift to-do list, as part of the presents for a four-year-old niece and three-year-old nephew, so here is proof of my successful progress!

I've recycled crayons before, but I used a muffin tin, which could go in the oven. This time, because I wanted cute shapes, I used candy molds (this set; what a bargain!!), and those can't go in the oven. So I needed an interim step--the hot water bath.

After peeling the crayons, we sorted them by color into tin cans and broke them into smaller pieces. The colors are going to blend when they melt, and it ends up as one uniform color, so keep that in mind when sorting. (The two-color ones in the top picture were made by pouring two different colors in the mold.) For the first batch (not shown), we sorted warm (red, orange, yellow) and cool (blue, green, purple)--I only had two tin cans. We ended up with red and blue. This batch yielded purple, brown, and green. Put some water in a pan and place your cans in. I used a pan I no longer use for cooking (it belongs to the kids' play kitchen now), which was smart, because some wax ended up in the water and deposited on the pan, and I don't really have to scrub it off because who cares if the pretend soup gets wax in it?

Boil your water, but keep an eye on your crayons. When your glasses get fogged from taking off the cover and peeking, your helper will go find her sunglasses so they can get fogged because she is still at the age when she wants to be just like her mama.

She's holding a bamboo skewer there. I used that to stir my melting wax so the chunks would all melt. Once the wax is all melted, carefully pour it into the molds. (Not a job for the child helpers, obviously.)


Once they're set, wiggle the molds a bit to pop them out. The helper wanted flowers, so those are for her.


The brown ones look a lot like chocolate, but they are not. Don't eat the crayons.


How cute are these?? And so, so easy. I have a set of numbers for each giftee, plus vehicles, balls, hearts--enough crayons to put together a really cute gift bag, and my kids helped make them. (All the kids helped peel; my daughter was the only one home when I made this batch.)

See more creative folks at our creative spaces!




13 comments:

Shell said...

Thanks for posting this Amy. I've never done this before and I'm in the process of peeling paper off crayons at the moment with my little girl.

Michelle said...

Love the number molds! I made some creepy finger and mummy ones for halloween last year for the girls' cousins, but I can't remember how I melted the crayons. I'm sure it must have been a mess and I blocked it all out. Your method looks way easier. :)

Julie said...

OH! Muffin tins in the oven. Hadn't thought of/seen that one. BRILLIANT. Now I wanna recycle some crayons that don't need it, just for fun!

Plus I've got a one-year-old on my Christmas list who'd get a kick out of them, and find them easier to use than regular crayons, I bet.

Thanks!

Julie said...

OH!!! SILICON MOLDS! In shapes, can go in the oven, AND are flexible for ease of extraction.

Oooooo, my brain's hopping now.

amy said...

Julie, yes, I've seen the silicon pans used before too. I wanted cute shapes, plus I'm too cheap to buy a silicon pan to use just for crayons. ;) I was going to buy another muffin tin not too long ago and was SHOCKED at how much the regular ol' tin ones are these days.

You're right on the shape being easier for a toddler, too, and the muffin tin ones are good for rubbings because they're wide. You can see a pic of what they look like here: http://abh21.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/traveling-art-box/

lamina @ do a bit said...

They look fantastic... love all the different molds :)

Bells said...

they are amazing! I've never heard of doing such a thing and I love it!

Seaweed and Raine said...

I think melting them in tin cans first is a MUCH better idea! I tried microwaving mine - which didn't go so hot. So we popped the silicone molds in the oven. Only problem being that the wax and the pigment settled at different rates that way. much better idea to stir them first I think! :) My molds were left with traces of pigment all over them. Thanks for popping by my place! :)

GirlAnachronismE said...

That's a really clever idea, and such a nice personalised gift!

Rose Red said...

That is a great idea! Love it!

Robin said...

This is one of my favorite crafts to do! I would love it if you linked it up over at The T-shirt Diaries Upcycling Linky party: http://tinyurl.com/upcycled70

amy said...

Sure, Robin--thanks for the invite!

Kim said...

Great idea...I have a ziploc bag of crayons that needs to be made into cute shapes.