April 29, 2011

Old Crayons, New Crayons

I'm always looking for non-edibles to fill goody bags, give as rewards, add to gifts, bring to school parties, etc.  Boy, having food allergic children sure brings out your creative side!  

In honor of Earth Day, I decided to take on a decluttering-repurposing project I'd had on my list of to-do's for awhile now (and, if you're like us, your house looks like an art supply store exploded...and that's on a good day).

Getting organized, one bin at a time
Our babysitter Natalie gave me this idea (she's a kid crafting guru), and inspiration came from Chica & Jo's post about recycling old crayons.  I channeled my inner Martha, dug down to the bottoms of our art supply bins to find a bunch of old, broken crayons, and collected my other supplies.

old crayons
silicone ice cube trays
newspaper for lining the table
aluminum foil lined pan
disposable plastic spoons (enough for each color)
foil cupcake liners (or used, cleaned tin cans) one for each color

Chica & Jo used the tin cans for melting the crayons (so eco-savvy!), but as I didn't have 8 used, cleaned, and dried tin cans laying around, I found the foil cupcake liners served the purpose.  I was also melting crayons on a pretty small scale, but if you're doing batches and batches, you might want to consider getting organized with the cans.

I had to buy the silicone ice trays.  You can find these ice trays at Ikea for cheaper than I'm willing to admit, but since I didn't have time to cross a bridge to our closest Ikea with kids in tow for ice cube trays, I decided to go to my local five and dime store (Laurel Village Ace) and get a few.  I picked up sticks and centipedes (I couldn't resist!), but they also had triangles, hearts, and other cute shapes.

Tristan separated the crayons by color, and I would've had him peeling crayons too, but I had a babysitter day, so off to the playground they went, and off to peel crayons I went.  A comment suggested soaking crayons in warm water for 10 minutes to loosen wrappers, and if you have lots, I would recommend following this advice.

Here are the rest of the steps:

1. Fill cupcake liners with color coordinated crayons, place in your lined pan, and melt in a 350 degree oven for about 8 minutes.  Repeat with each color.  I melted about 4 liners at a time for layering.  If you decide to melt more than four colors at a time, just keep them on the pan so they'll stay liquified for as long as possible before adding them to the tray.  Just remember you could always remelt whatever you need to.

2. If you're doing a rainbow or layered color crayon, use your disposable plastic spoon to add a thin layer, color by color, into each tray, tilting tray quickly and carefully to get into corners.  Let it solidify and mostly cool before layering the next color with a new spoon.  I waited about 3 or 4 minutes between layers.

3. For solid color crayons, I just poured the wax into the tray.  The liner will be hot on the bottom, but the sides should be manageable with bare hands (just PLEASE be careful!).

4. Chica & Jo say to clean the drippings from the tray between colors...you know, that sounds like a great idea and I really hope you try it--even though time didn't allow me to do it (ok, I was trying to multitask and finish some sewing in between batches).

5. Chica & Jo also say that once cooled, to just "flip them out onto the table."  I was pretty doubtful about how flippable mine were going to be, but that part was actually pretty simple.  The silicone trays really did the trick!

If I said this was an easy, neat project, I'd be lying.  It's pretty darn messy and for an eco-friendly project, I sure used up a lot of disposable stuff.  I'm hoping it'll pay off when the kids see their new crayons once they're home from the playground.

The rainbow crayons came out ok, but some smoothing of the edges would make them prettier.  I figure the kids will take care of that after using them a few times.

The caterpillars were almost too cute to use!  Logan had fun playing with them.

The new crayons inspired some serious scribbling!

Now...get melting and start drawing!


  1. I have heard of people repurposing crayons but what a great idea with the different shaped ice trays and a great idea to use a cool favors! So creative, Miss Busy Bee! I love it :)

  2. Great job, Sarah. We love those catepillars!!