What starts as one little box of crayons can multiply into a massive basket as soon as you turn your back--instantly you've got a mess of waxy fragments of questionable color and origin on your hands. These pieces have a way of falling to the bottom of the barrel in favor for the pointy, shiny new crayons, but this craft project will give them a new lease on life. Get the little ones involved with the upcycling--they can help with the label peeling, breaking up bigger pieces and picking out color schemes, but be sure to be careful as soon as the oven comes into the mix!
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Step 1: Gather Your Materials
For this project you'll need:
Crayons (a hefty handful will usually fill up a mold sheet)
Silicone molds (we found these ones online)
Muffin tin or small bowls
Plastic wrap (optional)
Step 2: Prepare Crayons
Remove all the labels and adhesives from the crayon pieces. It can be a little time-consuming at first, but eventually you'll hit a rhythm and find a removal strategy that works for you. Once the paper's off, any remaining adhesive will usually come off by rolling it off with your fingertip.
As you go, sectioning them off by hue in a muffin tin or small bowls helps if you're going to be particular about your color mixing. Otherwise, go nuts!
Step 3: Breaking Up the Crayons
Depending on how you want your end product to look, there are a couple ways to break up the crayons:
For larger segments of uniform color in the mold, just break them up by hand into small enough pieces to fit into the molds.
For a more speckled appearance, wrap up a handful of crayons in several layers of plastic wrap and tap gently with a hammer until you get small pieces. Keep an eye out for holes in the plastic; it helps to do this step over newspaper to catch any crumbs.
Step 4: Fill the Molds
Work some color magic and fill up the molds to your color preferences. You can keep things uniform or go hog wild with multicolor combinations.
When filling, heap up the crayon pieces a little bit above the top of the mold. As they melt, they'll fill in the empty space and settle into the mold quite a bit.
Step 5: Melt Crayons
In a warm oven (around 200 degrees F), put the molds in on a cookie sheet to keep them flat, as the silicone will be wiggly and full of hot liquid wax when you take it out. In 10-20 minutes, the fragments should be melted down into liquid. As they melt, keep an eye on them to see if you need to add some fragments to keep the molds full.
Once the chunks are just melted down, carefully pop the mold sheet into the freezer to harden. You may notice a thin layer of clear wax on top of the molds, this happens as it's in the oven longer and the pigment starts to separate. It won't really affect much, but to avoid it just take them out when they've just melted.
After they're completely cooled, pop the new crayons out by carefully inverting the mold. Take extra care around thinner parts like the necks of the figurines, as they may snap if too much force is applied or if the mold wasn't filled up enough.