It is my 4-year-old daughter’s first year in preschool, which means it’s the first time she gets to hand out Valentine’s Day gifts. After a considerable amount of searching for suitable craft ideas (since that’s much more fun than buying something pre-made from the store), I came across this excellent DIY crayon recycling project.
We found this to be an awesome idea because it accomplishes several goals all at once:
• It’s a creative idea for kids to hand to her classmates that doesn’t involve more sugar;
• This is a craft the kids will love and definitely use (the hearts are the perfect size for their little hands); and
• You have a great use for all the broken home crayons and “leftover restaurant” crayons. Surely, I’m not the only one who feels bad that those three or four free crayons will just be thrown away after the kids have barely used them.
Of course, the greatest part of this DIY project, especially for this non-crafty, wanna-be-crafty mom, is that it was so easy!
• Broken/unwanted crayons
• Silicone cookie/candy mold and/or Non-stick cookie/candy mold
• Cutting board
Step 1: Gather all the broken crayons lying around the house
Much to my daughter's chagrin this can prove to be quite the treasure hunt!
Step 2: Peel the paper from the crayons
All of it. No exceptions.
Step 3: Chop the crayons into smaller pieces
The smaller pieces allows for more mixing of the new crayons you are creating. You could break the crayons, but since we were working with quite a few crayons, I opted for having my little one watch while I did some chopping.
Step 4: Divide the crayons into the molds
We had a silicon mold and a shaped muffin tin mold and you don't need to worry about greasing up the molds because the crayons will just pop out when cooled. You'll probably want to pay close attention to which crayons you mix together to ensure the colors don’t blend towards a muddy brown. We tried to keep complimenting colors with one another (like pink, orange, and red) so even if it did all blend together, you'd at least have a variety of hues.
Step 5: Baking Time!
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Once the oven is ready, place the molds into the oven and heat the crayons for approximately 20 minutes. Do be careful as you remove them from the oven, because you don’t want to spill the hot wax inside the oven or on someone’s skin. But as you can see, I accidentally bumped my pan a little, and the crayons still came out fine.
Step 6: Cool Down
6) Let your crayons harden for at least an hour. We left our crayons to harden overnight. If you were in a rush you could pop them in the freezer, just make sure the molds are on a level surface. Cleanup is also a breeze - just run some warm water over the molds and wipe away the melted crayon bits.
Step 7: Removing the Crayons
Once the crayons have hardened, just turn the molds over and pop out the crayons. For the silver mold, they just fall right on out. For the silicone mold, you’ll have to really push the crayons out, but they didn't stick. When we do this again, I'll probably just stuck to the metal tins just because it was easier to get the crayons out and into the hands of my daughter.
Step 8: Create Your Valentine!
We really couldn’t believe how wonderful the crayons turned out. My daughter was very skeptical the first time we tried this DIY project, but she loved the results so much, we tried another batch happily. We even had to keep a few, because she didn’t want to give them all away. She, unlike me, is great at crafts, so she’s now busy at work making handmade Valentine’s Day cards for her classmates. Once she’s all done, we’ll use some double-sided tape to attach a crayon or two to the outside of the envelopes so that everyone in her class can enjoy a great Valentine’s Day.
Maybe next time we do this I might add some really fine glitter - has anyone had success with that?
If you like this idea for recycled crafts you can check out our blog Project: Greenify
(a sister site of Bounce Energy
) for more great crafty ideas.