My daughters and I made recycled sun-shaped crayons a couple weeks ago out of our old, broken crayons! Over the past few years, we’ve acquired a baggie full of broken, paper-torn-off crayons. I hate throwing things away, so I kept them. I knew they could be recycled by melting them down on the stovetop. But the mess that melting crayons was sure to make did not sound appealing, so it never happened.
In her post about making Sun-Upcycled Crayons, MaryAnne described the process,
We cut the tops off of some plastic cups, added pieces of crayons, put everything in some left over aluminum foil. We covered it with plastic wrap at the suggestion of my mechanical engineer brother, who happened to be visiting when I decided to try this.
I set up exactly as she did, with great success! I used our leftover medicine cups from our Doc McStuffins Birthday Party and helped my kids break the crayons into even smaller pieces to fit into the cups. Within about 15 minutes, the crayons were melted, or nearly so (I can’t remember how long it took, exactly… all I know is, I was planning on this activity taking all afternoon but my kids were coloring with their new crayons in no time at all!).
About 15 minutes after setting our pan outside in 80 degree heat, my oldest dashed onto the back porch and said, “The crayons are melted! Oh, I am so ‘cited about my new crayons!”. I walked out to show her, no they are not not melted, they still have a long ways to go…but she was right. The crayons were already melted!!
I put the melted crayon molds into the fridge for a bit to harden them up faster because of my kids’ great excitement to use them.
I noticed my kids were having a hard time holding onto these round crayons, and I also thought they looked a little…well, a little too homemade, let’s say. This was fun, and this was cool, but the aesthetics could be improved upon.
So I texted my friend and asked if I could potentially ruin her silicone mold I’d recently borrowed (originally to make bath fizzies) if I promised to replace it. She said yes, so off we went outside again with our not yet depleted baggie of broken crayons.
One piece of advice, if you chose to put the crayons into your cups or molds outside, do it in the shade. Yikes! That sun is blinding when it hits aluminum foil.
Again, in no time at all, the crayons were melted! I noticed, as MaryAnne did, that some melted better than others. Our triangle shaped Melissa and Doug crayons did not melt as quickly as Crayola, and the lighter colors took longer as well. There were just a few random crayons that didn’t melt completely, but they still melded with the other crayons into a new shape!
I did stain my friend’s silicone mold…she said she didn’t care because it is still usable, but I am still thinking I should probably buy her a new one.
But look at these gorgeous crayons!
These new crayons have more of a matte look. Gone are the glossy crayons we carefully arranged into molds, but these are much cuter than the broken ones doomed for the trash can!
This could also be a fun homeschool project! My kids learned that crayons are made of wax, which melts in the heat. Lighter colors don’t attract the heat like the darker colors, so those crayons didn’t melt as fast. They learned that the aluminum foil reflected the sun and the plastic wrap trapped the heat. This was a great little science lesson and the girls had no idea they were even learning!