Monday, October 18, 2010

Idea: Melt Those Old Crayons Down!

Make Old Crayons, New!
If you have ancient crayons lamenting in a drawer or minute stubby crayon ends, STOP, don't throw them out! Here's a wonderful craft to recycle those unloved, unused, but perfectly good crayons. It's very easy and can be very inexpensive... or more expensive depending on your choices.

 The idea is to melt the old crayons and create new ones in fantastic and inspiring shapes using molds. However, you can also use old muffin tins, ice cube trays, inexpensive silicon molds, small tomato paste cans... or whatever your imagination can conjure up.

I used an old ice cube tray with pyramid shapes. Plus I bought a sea shell mold. I specifically bought the sea shell mold to create crayons for birthday loot bags! Since I didn't think the plastic mold would work with the oven method, I chose to melt the crayons, double broiler style, on the stove.

[Note, this is not the most kid friendly method, but does result in very kid friendly crayons! Adult supervision is recommended. Melting crayons in the oven with oven-safe molds would be more hands on fun for children as they can make their own colour creations, see the craft link near the bottom of this post]

old crayons, papers removed
melting container (I used tin cans)
pot for the boiling water


1)  Prepare the crayons.

          Start by removing all traces of paper from the crayons. And it helps if you sort the colours. Some people say it's important to sort by crayon brand too as not all crayons melt at the same time. However, I did not bother to do this. It is true that they did melt at different times, but this stove method allows for such a variance, just keep heating and swirling till all of it is melted!

2)  Melting.

          Bring some water in a pot to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Don't use too much water or the cans will not be heavy enough to stand up in the pot and will bob around. It is also advisable to use an old pot that you are not worried about ruining because crayon wax can get into the pot and make a mess. Make sure your tin cans are clean and dry (water and wax don't mix). I bent the tops of the cans to make a very useful pouring spout.
           Break the crayons up and put them into a can. If you start with the lighter colours, you can use the same can with a darker colour after.
          Put the can(s) into the pot of water and gently swirl the contents as they melt or stir with a wooden skewer/ plastic spoon. Careful of the steam! Using oven mitts is also helpful.

3) Pour.

         Once the crayons are completely melted, remove the can(s) from the water. Dry the outside of the tin with a cloth to prevent water dripping into your mold with the wax. The, start pouring in to your mold!
         You can do solid colours, layers of colours, or mix two colours and swirl with a toothpick (just a little bit). If you are melting in two separate cans at once, you can pour one after the other and the colours will meld and swirl together for a different effect.

4) Let Set.

          The molds are filled, now let them cool. Putting them in the freezer for 15-20 minutes will speed up the process; however, you may wish to let them set just enough that movement will not risk spillage. 

          Once they have set, remove them by turning the mold upside down. Usually they will slip out easily and quickly because they contract as they set, so make sure you are doing this close to the counter or table. Otherwise, they make break (but you can always re-melt them).

5) Go Colour!

        Ah, you can figure this one out. Enjoy!

For additional crayon-melting ideas and techniques, check out Melted Crayon Crafts For Kids.

First Batches

 Note: A few of the resulting crayons separated. I'm not positive why, but I have a few of guesses. First, it could be due to incomplete melting. Or, it could be because of the mixed quality of crayons. Or, it could be because the previously melted layer was too uneven to properly adhere to. My guess is as good as yours... unless yours is better!


  1. That's excellent and don't forget they are absolutely great to use in candle making as well.

  2. five bucks says at least 50% of the kids at the party will try to eat them.

  3. I know eh?! But I'll label them and warn parents about them... maybe even the kids as they leave.

  4. Now that is cool. I want to hear about how many kids try to eat them :)

  5. Lol, I'll keep everyone posted on the edibility of the crayons ;-)

    I have a second crayon post coming... a little addition, but it'll have to wait till after he birthday party weekend.

  6. We were lucky recipients of some of the shell crayons and I can attest that not one of them has made it into anyone's mouth in our house...they are much to pretty to eat. My girls absolutely love them, and are continuing to use them as "props" for their never-ending stories!

  7. That's awesome, thanks for sharing Colleen!


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