Monday, June 28, 2010

Recycled Crayon Questions Answered

This morning I received an email from one of my readers 
about melting crayon bits into new crayons - one of our
favorite recycling projects for crayon nubbins! 

So here's Laura's note and my answers
(in case any of you have the same questions!)

hi - good morning! i first want to let you know how much i enjoy your blog!  
i have used several of your ideas for my two little boys.  
thanks so much for sharing your wonderful ideas!  
as a mom who tries to go off the beaten path and nurture my children creatively, 
it's nice to have a  resource of activities for my children.

i have a (probably silly) question about  
taking broken crayons and 
 using molds to bake the crayon bits into shapes.  
thanks so much for your help!  and again, thanks for an amazing blog!
have a wonderful weekend! laura east hampton, ny

what kinds of molds  do you use and where do you find them?

I currently have a metal Wilton Mini(Cake?)Pan that we use as our
"designated" crayon-melting pan.

Ours happens to be heart-shaped so we use it at Valentine's Day
to make class valentines every year. 
(my apologies to the one or two kids who have been in the same class with my girls every year!)

Because the crayons contain who knows what, 
I only use the pan for this,  or sorting beads-- not for baking food. 
I wouldn't eat food in a pan that had been used to melt crayons!

I bought it at Michael's craft store in the cake decorating area years ago. 

I still see them all the time at Michaels and at Walmart.

do the crayons  pop out of the molds  without any spraying, etc?  
(can you tell i'm new at all this?)

Because I use a metal pan I spray it with non-stick cooking spray  
before I cook each batch- they pop out of the pan like a charm! 

what temp/ 
how long do you bake them for?

I bake our crayons at the lowest temperature
I can set my oven on... that happens to be 250 degrees
and they are fully melted in about 15 minutes 
(I leave on the lightand spy through the window)

I also run the exhaust fan or keep a window open
so the stinky crayon fumes don't kill us!

In the winter I set  the hot pan outside on our deck in the snow
to cool off or on the  cold concrete garage floor.

In the summer/spring, I just pull the pan out and carefully set it on our granite counter top to cool. 

I like to set our panon a foil-lined  baking sheet so if it sloshes or
spills I don't get  melted crayon wax in my oven or on my counters/floors! 

I use an x-acto knife or small box cutter to slice the paper labels on our crayons,
(one long horizontal slice --channel your inner surgeon)

It makes peeling them MUCH FASTER and you don't end up with all of those
crayon bits under your nails!

Thanks so much for the note Laura, I hope this answers all of your questions
and I wish you and your boys many wonderful afternoons filled with

I'm always happy to answer  your crafty questions here, just send me an email!

pink and green mama


Cheryl Hancock said...

I have made some recycled crayons. They will be going to our rubbish tip school in Cambodia- these kids have no art supplies at all.
Cheryl Perth Australia

Me said...

I just wanted to add that we have always had very good luck with cookie cutters wrapped tightly on the bottom with aluminum foil. You can see a picture of how we did it here: http://huginnmuninnandme.com/2010/02/09/weheartcolors/

You can also use cupcake liners, and in the summertime, you can leave your molds outside in the heat instead of putting them in the oven works like a charm!

Teacher Tom said...

Very good advice about designating special melted wax pans. I learned that one the hard way! It's possible to reclaim a pain, but a lot of work.

I've also learned that the wrappers on Crayola brand crayons are the most difficult to remove. Most brands fall away easily, but Crayola makes you work . . . And yes, I do just use my fingernails. =)

Amie Plumley said...

Wow - you've been busy this summer! Thanks for all the great creative inspiration!

As for my 2¢ - I used a silicone heart shaped pan I found at Target around Valentine's day, but I've seen other shapes recently. The crayons popped out easily without any oil needed - very nice!

jen at paintcutpaste.com said...

we love your crayon idea and tried the heart ones this past valentine's day, as well! thank you for always providing artsy inspiration!
so i'm wondering, are you a hipstamatic or a shake-it photo girl? i also use these apps for the sepia quality photos from my iphone, and i am totally addicted. you'll notice them on my blog when we do outdoor/going on a walk activities that i only had my iphone for while outside and maybe wasn't...uh, aware that an art activity was underway until novi started collecting stuff... like the beginning stages of the medicine wand, twig vase, or nature impressions entries. comes in handy that way, and artsy to boot!
happy summer to you and your little artists!

The Mom I Want To Be said...

We need to try this. My kids LOVE to break and peel their crayons (though I'm not sure I want to encourage it...) We'll try using this weeks hot days to see if we can prevent turning on the oven :)

Cheryl said...

I have a dedicated silicon mini doughnut tray. As the doughnut creates a hole in the middle, once the crayons have cooled, the crayons can be threaded on to a ribbon. If anyone is interested, there is a link on my side bar.

Michelle said...

I bet your house is so much fun! Lucky kids! This is great - we have so many tiny little crayon bits - I hate wasting them, but I mean really, I don't see my kids coloring with pieces of crayon that are 1/2" in length. My grandmother used to melt the crayons to make new ones, but I just never gave it a second thought. Shame on me too - I'm always trying to find alternative uses for things so we don't have to throw too much stuff into the landfill. Thanks for sharing, now I'm inspired to reuse those itsy bitsy crayons. Thanks.

SITS visiting today, and I'm so happy to have found your wonderful blog! My kids love crafts, and art, so I'm sure they'll love what I find here! This will definitely be a great resource during the school year too - we homeschool, and I'm always looking for fun time-fillers when I'm working with one child, to keep the other busy. Peace. ;)

Mom of Three said...

I can't wait to try this with my kids... love the idea of making heart shaped ones for Valentines Day, or as party favors!

Mama said...

I LOVE your blog!
I just found you a few weeks ago - I too used to be a practicing art teacher and now a Mama to 3!

pink and green mama MaryLea said...


I use Hipstamatic on my iPhone.
It's easier to carry my phone with us for quick shots sometimes than my big Canon camera.

We're on vacation right now and I'm just taking photos with my phone.



Andrea B. said...

Hi there! I recently sorted through all of our broken crayons, and, to avoid that crayon under fingernail issue, I dumped all the crayons into a container filled with water, for a few hours! The paper (for the most part) slipped right off! Crayola was still a little difficult, but the water did help, and didn't affect the crayons at all. I just dumped them out on a towel to dry when I was done.

2flowerslearn.com said...

Love it. Am now on the hunt for a silicone mold to make these for daycare pressies.

Connie said...

Thank you for your information! I am in the process of making star shaped crayons for preschool...they are beautiful!! I bet some reluctant artists will want to try them.

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