How-to Recycle Those Crayon Stubs Into a Swell Homemade Gift

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Introduction: How-to Recycle Those Crayon Stubs Into a Swell Homemade Gift

It's recession time. You want to save money while trying to be "green" and you like the idea of your kids making some homemade gifts. Plus you're the not-so proud owner of a ginormous stubby crayon collection comprised of every crayon your kid has received from the time he was able to grasp objects and half of which is made up of those barely used restaurant crayons you felt so bad leaving on the table all those times you've dinned out with the kids. Why not recycle those babies into some cool, fun-shaped new crayons that scream "look at how cool I am being all green and spending special parent and me time with my kid and stuff." You'll make your mother-in law smile and your sister-in law green with envy seeing how you truly are the better parent.

Step 1: Gather Necessary Materials

To turn ugly broken crayon pieces into beautiful, fresh, shiny new fun-shaped crayons you'll need:

Crayons and crayon pieces of all sizes and colors

A plastic candy mold (yes, fully aware this purchase is not so "green" but remember you're trying to achieve an "eco-friendly" gift that's also something a kid would actually want to use so you can justify the purchasing this piece of cheap plastic knowing that you'll love this project so much you'll want to do it often)


Extra Items include:

Old cups to melt your crayon pieces into

Spoon

Microwave


Pretty Packaging Items:

Clean cereal box

small plastic treat bags (again not so green--still thinking of a way to package the crayons using a recycled material)

holiday stamp

ink stamp pad

stapler


Step 2: A Crayon Hunting You Will Go

Take those hands and dive right in to your crayon graveyard. Search for colors that you have a lot of and that compliment each other.

Step 3: Peel Away

Peel the paper off of the crayons. Might want to grow your nails out for a few weeks prior to this because after what will seem forever peeling paper you're sure to develope some serious fingertip soreness. Ouch! This is probably the most time consuming portion of this activity so make sure those kids help. Tell them "look at how much fun we are having bonding together over crayon paper peeling and stuff. And this isn't even the funnest part of the project."

Step 4: Breaking Up

Break longer crayons into small pieces. The kiddies love this step. This is the funnest part of the project.

Step 5: Filling the Mold

Generously fill each candy mold with desired color combination. Then, you'll place the candy trays outside in direct sunlight. When the crayons are melted in the sun they won't completely mix together. The result is a very cool looking swirl effect. Look at you using solar energy as your source of heat...how green.

Step 6: A Day in the Sun

Place filled candy molds outside in direct sunlight to melt. While they are melting go inside and take out the keeper crayons and your favorite Batman coloring book and color away. Make sure to stay in the lines!

Step 7: Not So Hot

After half a day. Go outside and check on the molds. Discover that not only do you need direct sunlight but apparently you need surface of the sun temperatures to melt those crayons down to a swirly-whirly liquid. Not wanting to let the kids down you'll need to move to plan B.

Plan B:
Time to use an alternative heat source to melt those babies. . Although the results won't be as swirly-whirly cool or as "green" you'll still end up with some pretty impressive fun-shaped crayons.

What we did was melted crayons in the microwave by placing crayon pieces into a microwave-safe cup and heating on high from 3-5 minutes. Unfortunately you can't place candy molds in the microwave as they aren't microwave safe.

The plus side to the microwave version is that you can do a quick mini-lesson with the kids in solids, liquids and gases. Look how smart you are!

Next year you'll start this project in July.

Step 8: Hot Liquid

The next step is best completed by an adult as the melted crayon liquid is very, very hot.

At this point you can continue your intriguing discussion on the physical properties of matter with the as you show them how their solid crayons have turned into a hot liquid that's giving off the most horrible smelling gas (try not to inhale) when they were melted in the microwave. And while the solid kept it's own shape when placed in the candy mold the liquid took the shape of the candy mold when poured.

Next, pour the extremely hot liquid into the candy mold and ask your mini chemists "what do you think will happen next?"

Step 9: Waiting for the Results..yet Again

Allow liquid crayon gook to cool and harden. This is a pretty quick process. Five to ten minutes at the most.

Drag kids back into the kitchen to see what has happened. Next, lay on tons of verbal praise when you share with your little one the results of your experiment explaining that their predictions were right when they said that the hot, hot liquid would get cold and turn back into a solid. Then, give them a hug, kiss and a cookie for being so knowledgeable and for using the words "liquid" and "solid."

Step 10: Pop Those Babies Out

Remove the fresh and shiny fun-shaped crayons from the candy mold carefully by twisting the edges of the candy mold back and forth. The new crayons should pop right out.

Turn the crayons face up and prepare to be amazed at how sweet the new crayons actually look.

Step 11: Optional Special Holiday Packaging

Package those babies up something nice.

Now, I do realize that the use of plastic treat bags aren't what you'd consider necessarily "green." However, they sure make a cheap, nice and mess-free way to pass out your gift. So, if it makes you feel better just "help" the recipient carefully open the package because they're sure to want to use these beauts right away. Then, tell them you'll throw away the trash but instead just tuck the wrapping right back into your purse to use again. There, now don't you feel better?

What we did to package our crayons:
Using small treat bags purchased at Michael's we carefully placed a crayon into a bag. Then we cut labels out of a recycled cereal box. Next, we set up a packaging assembly line. The littlest helper stamping a swell snow flake print on the front of the label then passed it to the big brother who wrote out the label which I would've liked to have read "Eco-friendly and 100% Recycled Crayon" however I felt the "Eco-friendly" part was kinda false advertising so the boy just wrote "100% Recycled Crayon. Made by..." I sealed the deal by stapling the label to the packaged crayon. I think the results are sorta cute.

And judging from the excitement level of my two picky consumers I think the recipients of our recycled crayons should have a good time coloring with these fun-shaped gifts.

Now to go with these sweet crayons we'll make some recycled paper.

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    58 Comments

    Recyclable bags
    I'm not sure but I've seen little bags made of wax paper( think bakery Dept at grocery ) good luck

    Cute idea. I would make it, but I have the crayola crayon maker which saves time but costs a bit which might not be worth it if your children don't like this activity. Is also a bit less green, but if you're concerned about time, the crayon maker woild be a better option. This is still a brilliant idea!! :) :)

    Make a solar oven by placing the candy molds on the dashboard of your car. Park in a sunny location, and roll up the windows. Leave the car and go have a Popsicle or play with the garden hose while watering the garden. Come back in about an hour or so and your crayons will be very melty. You can also amplify solar energy on your sunny patio by using a clear "bubble" umbrella. Search for homemade solar hotdog cookers for more solar oven ideas. Love this project.

    Oh, what a cute idea! Thanks for sharing! My little ones are grown now, but this would have been fabulous not so long ago. Neat!

    use a razor blade to cut off crayon labels

    You could always reconstruct your cereal boxes into smaller crayon boxes, instead of just tags. I'd put the brown, papery side out and decorate it to give a fully recycled gift. Old string or yarn would work great to keep the box closed and make a pretty bow.

    Was there a lot of wax left over in the molds?

    What if u put the crayons u wanted 2 melt 2gether in mugs, put them in the microwave, and used that? OK, it's not very "green", but at least it's more efficient (is that spelled right?).

    you could package the crayons in newspaper :) just an idea

    I used a box cutter to cut along the wrapper then let the kids peel them. It took way less time and helped a lot.

    Great idea!!! (Funny comments, VERY fun to read :)). I was thinking what to get for my kid´s classmates that was unexpensive yet attractive, and now I know. By the way, the idea about using the ceral box is of great help.... thank you!!!!

    im glad to see other people do this as well. we used to have our class do this and sell them to kids at lunch and help keep it going. another fun thing to do is dip crayons in melted crayons of another colore and possibly repeat theyre really fun to use.

     I often keep little plastic trays from sweet or easter type treats for use as moulds for plaster of paris  & candle crafts, they would also suit this crayon project!  
    Nice inst' ;o)

    If you don't want to microwave the crayons you could try putting the molds in your car for the day. I know as a child many of my crayons were melted this way.

    1 reply

    You could create a mini-greenhouse to make the sun thing work. I would put the molds on a cookie sheet & put some clear plastic on top.  That, and a nice sunny day in July, should melt them nicely.

    oh good idea about the sun. we've tried pouring melted crayons into candy molds without much success. i like this idea!

    This is adorable. I think I'm going to try it on monday. Candy molds can be really expensive, though, so I probably will try the dollar store. Do you think it would work to pour them into paper cups and make disc crayons?

    1 reply

    Yeah, there's an Instructable with muffin tins.

    My daughter was peeling and complaining a little and we filled up a container with hot water and some dish soap and soaked the crayons in the water for about 20 minutes, then you can just start to pick out the crayons. The wrappers fall right off.

    i'm thinking of selling these in my yard sale more recycling