15 April 2011

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!!! - Repurposed Crayon Tutorial



My mom has a Tupperware container stuffed in the craft cupboard full of the remains of eight children's lifetime of crayon collection. 

Eli has an insatiable desire to break things and rip things and melt things.

Put these two factors together, and we came up with the greatest kids craft! Homemade crayons!

While I love to craft myself, I am always looking for crafts that are not parent intensive, but instead kid friendly.  Crafts that Eli can actually do, and that I don't have to take over from him.  This is definitely one of them.

First of all, we dug through all the crayons and picked out any that weren't wrapped - the smaller the better.  Then we started peeling off the wrappers of more crayons.  Eli loved this, as he could pick and rip and peal to his hearts delight.  Then we broke the pealed crayons into smaller pieces, again totally joyous for a three-year-old.  While he snapped them in half, I cut them with some heavy duty kitchen scissors - much less fun, but way more efficient!

Then the boys filled three silicone ice cube trays (Ikea, $1.99!) with the crayon bits.






I wasn't worried about the usefulness of the finished product, so I wasn't worried about one colour going in each mold, but you could make all white, all yellow, all green, etc. crayons.  I liked the way ours turned out just as well.

Then we put the ice cube trays onto a cookie sheet (just in case of spillage!) and put them in the oven for 20 minutes at 250 degrees. Running a hot blow drier over the back of the trays before trying to pop them out made removal much easier.  Especially on the fish and star shapes, which kept breaking.

And voila!  Crayons!




Cute, eh?  And it only cost me the price of the ice cube trays - which I will be able to use again and again.

To be honest, they are cuter than they are functional.  As they melted the pigment settled and the wax rose, so all the colour is on the top of each crayon, and it is pretty messy. I'm not sure how to remedy that in further experiments.  Also, the fish and star molds broke really easily, because they had pretty narrow parts.  The round flowers were fantastic though.  I'd stick with round and more solid shapes if I did it again.

Despite the fact, this was tons of fun, and Eli is so pleased with his crayons. He's been colouring for two days straight, and I love it!

7 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh! I actually have something useful to say in the craft world (where usually I loiter in envy on the sidelines...) I made these for my nursery when I was leader. We used crayola...new ones, so that might have helped that they were new and high (ish) quality. It wasn't so much for re purposing as much as to make a toddler crayon. I used mini silicone muffin trays so they were about toddler fist size and they are still around as far as I know. The ones I have at home are still popular too. I mixed the colours into all different kinds of blues, reds, oranges etc so the shades are all mixed together but the colour was the same. I liked that result too...I think I go everything at the dollar store and would have cost less than $10.00.

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  2. So Jenn, did the pigment not settle then?
    The funny thing is I am always nagging my kids to not peel or break crayons! This would be so fun!

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  3. no pigment problems and lots of fun striping and breaking:) I used all washable crayola and they turned out great (and washable...)

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  4. Great idea! I was actually planning to do this with my ikea ice tray, but was wondering if they are heat safe. They are listed as "synthetic rubber" and say "Water only" on them. Is synthetic rubber another word for silicon, or is it some kind of plastic? What temperature did you use?

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  5. You know, Joie, I wasn't really worried about the trays, and they came out of the oven as good as new. I baked the crayons at 250 degrees. If you read through the comments you will see that it might be worth using "higher quality" crayons. Some that I used were likely 25 years old, which I think made for the separation issues I had.

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