5 Ways to Upcycle Leftover Crayons
Your preschooler wants to color today. You pull out the coloring books and the plastic container that the crayons are stored in. Your child wants purple and only purple to color her princess. As you dig through the crayons to find the only color that will make today’s art session a success, you start pulling out all the broken crayons you come across. Boy, there’s a lot more than you thought – crayons broken cleanly in two, ones drawn down to a nub, crayons barely hanging on by a thread, missing peeling paper, and some so dirty that it’s impossible to tell what color they used to be. Finally, all that’s left in the container are two intact crayons, blue and purple. Phew, crisis averted. Your child colors happily and you gather up all the bits and pieces, mentally adding crayons to your shopping list. Before you just toss those unloved and neglected crayons in the trash, give them a second thought and a second life. We’re sharing 5 fun and creative ways to reuse and upcycle old crayons into new creations.
1. Create new crayons.
There’s a way to take old and broken crayons and still allow them to keep their original use. We’re simply turning crayons back into crayons! With this second life though, the color combinations and shape options are up to you and your kids, making for an even better crayon coloring experience.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
- Remove wrappers from crayons and break each crayon into little pieces, about ½ inch or so.
- Fill your mold with crayon bits. You can mix and match colors together or stay in the same color family; the color combinations are up to you. This step is a good one to have your kids help you with. They can decide what colors to use and they can fill up the molds. Be sure to slightly overfill each mold, because as the crayons melt they will take up less space.
- Place molds on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until crayons are completely melted.
- Remove carefully from oven and let cool. Stick the molds in the freezer for quicker results. Once the bottoms of the molds are cool to touch, then you can remove the crayons and color away!
For more in-depth visual instructions, visit Alisa Burke.
2. Make a candle.
Believe it or not, you can take your old crayons and give them a fabulous new life by allowing them to bring a little more light to the world; in the form of a candle. Make some colorful DIY candles by simply melting your old crayons together with a bit of wax. Now that’s an extra bright way to recycle!
What You Need
- Pour a small amount of soy wax into a dixie cup and microwave for 1 minute. Stir and pour into the bottom of the votive. Stick the wick into the center of the votive and hold in place until the wax hardens.
- Remove the wrapping from the crayons and break into small pieces.
- Fill (almost to the top) another dixie cup with soy wax and top with approximately one broken crayon. Microwave for 2 minutes, stir, then microwave another 2 minutes.
- Pour the colored wax into the votive. Let dry for 20-30 minutes.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 with another color crayon. Repeat until the votive is filled to the top.
- Wait at least one hour for the candle to dry before lighting.
For more in-depth visual instructions, visit Brit+Co.
3. Create a Hair Dryer painting.
Unleash your inner Jackson Pollock and make your own abstract art by grabbing a handful of crayons and a hair dryer. You may not make millions, but you do have a chance of impressing your family and friends each time they walk by your free artwork in the foyer.
- Do this outside and away from your kids! It’s a messy, stinky project, and no one wants kids near hot appliances and melting wax. Wear old clothes and lay down rags and newspapers around your working area to protect any surfaces you don’t want messy.
- Decide how you want your arrangement of crayons, then hot glue the crayons to the canvas. You can leave the wrappers on or off, you can make shapes with the crayons, or you can write words on the canvas. There are unlimited possibilities to how your artwork can look. This is the hardest step; deciding how you want to design the canvas.
- Lean the canvas so it’s slanted and then start melting. If it’s a hot day, then just place the canvas in the sun (don’t worry, you can still claim artistic credit)! If you’re using a hair dryer, then turn it on high and start blowing the crayons downwards until they start to drip.
- Keep blowing until you’re satisfied with your art. You can either remove the crayons at this point or keep them on the canvas. That’s your personal decision. Let the canvas dry and then enjoy!
For more in-depth visual instructions, visit 52 Kitchen Adventures.
4. Make a Stained Glass Suncatcher.
Kids love suncatchers. Such a classic, fun, and perfect for spring ornament to place in your window. Let your kids make their own suncatchers out of those beat up crayons for an enjoyable and waste-free way to recycle.
- Run your old crayons through the sharpener to create crayon shavings. Place the shavings on a paper plate.
- Cut wax paper into squares.
- Place one piece of wax paper on top of a newspaper and have your kids sprinkle the shavings on the wax paper. Place a second piece of wax paper on top of the shavings.
- Turn your iron on LOW with no steam.
- Place another sheet of newspaper on top of the wax paper “sandwich” and slowly iron, checking every few seconds to see if the crayons have melted. Once they are completely melted, then set aside to cool and dry.
- Once dry, you can cut the suncatcher to your shape of choice, whether that is a heart, a circle, a star, or a flower. Happy sun-catching!
For more in-depth visual instructions, visit The Suburban Mom.
5. Create a DIY Crayon Monogram.
Does your playroom, homeschool room, or child’s room need a personal touch? Do you have an upcoming event where you need a teacher’s gift? Or do you just love monograms so much you’re dying to find the most creative way to make one? Then grab a pack of crayons or the best crayons pieces you’ve found and let’s get started.
What You Need
- Choose the letter you want to monogram and print it out on a test sheet first, designed to fit your frame.
- Decide which colors you want to use, and then break the crayons in the appropriate places to fit in your letter. Poke a small hole in the crayon at the place you want it to break with the x-acto knife, and then snap in two. Hopefully you’ll get a clean break.
- Lay out the crayons (without glueing) on the test sheet to be sure you like the design and that the crayons are cut to fit.
- Print out your monogram on thick cardstock now. Glue the crayons to the monogram using the test sheet as your guide. Use tacky glue for a slower dry, in case you need to adjust crayons as you’re working.
- Let dry completely.
For more in-depth visual instructions, visit Creative Mommas.
Now there’s no excuse for tossing old beat up crayons into the trash, when you can easily store them away until you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and tackle one of our crayon crafts. Reduce, reuse, and recycle applies to everything, even preschooler’s art supplies!
Tags: art, art supplies, arts and crafts, artwork, broken crayons, candle, coloring, crafts, crayon, crayons, kid crafts, kid's, leftover crayons, melting crayons, monogram, preschool, recycle, recycle crayons, suncatcher, teacher gift, toddler crafts, toddlers, upcycle, upcycle crayons
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Dani lives in North Carolina with her two preschoolers. She is a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom who loves to clean and organize anything and everything. Her happiness is found in Jesus, days at the spa, and combating dark chocolate peanut butter cups with everyday workouts at the gym. She owns a wedding, lifestyle, and freelance photography business, Dani Nicole Photography.