Melting Crayons – Give New Life to Broken Crayons

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how to melt crayons diy craft

Does your kids’ crayon collection look something like this?

broken crayons

Each August I buy a new set of crayons for each of the kids to take to school, along with a few extras to keep at home. At the end of the school year the crayons return home and are dumped in the big crayon bin. If pieces of crayon are found on the floor or in the bottom of a bag, I’ll toss them out but for the most part the collection just continues to multiply.

sort crayons into bowls

I decided that it was time for us to do something with the crayons. They had become out of control. I had heard about melting crayons, but had never tried it before.

As soon as the kids came home from school on Friday, we proceeded to sort the crayons (and markers and colored pencils that were mixed in the bunch). Crayons that were in good shape were put into a large ziploc bag to hold on to. All others were sorted by color into small bowls.

I gave AJ the task of peeling the papers off the crayons because it’s one of his favorite things to do during church. Who would have guessed that the paper-peeling would turn out to be the most difficult part of the whole project? We ended up with lots of crayon under the finger nails, as well as several under-the-nail paper cuts. Ouch!

After sorting and peeling papers, the fun part began! We melted crayons two ways.

Crayon-Melting Method #1:

Place similar-colored crayons in an oven-safe container (we used mini bread pans). Put the pans in a warm oven (250-300 degrees) and check periodically. I stirred the crayons occasionally.
melt crayons in bread pans
When the crayons are melted, grab the pan with an oven mitt and quickly pour the hot wax into shaped molds (we got our fun shapes at Ikea). The wax starts to harden very quickly. To speed up hardening, place the molds in a cold place (outside or in the fridge).

pour wax into molds

pour wax into molds

Remove your new crayons from the molds when completely cooled.

puzzle shaped crayons
star shaped crayons

What I learned:

  • Clean-up is a pain in the toosh. I would recommend using disposable pans if you’d like to do this. I’m still not sure if my molds will be usable for ice cubes again. They are very difficult to clean, and wax does not come off easily. Lesson learned.
  • Apparently, there are some crayons that will never melt. As seen in the right picture above, there were always a bunch of unmelted crayons in the bottom. Toss them.
  • Was it worth it? Yes! The kids love the fun shapes and they are all eager to show off their puzzle crayons when they head back to school on Tuesday.

Crayon-Melting Method #2:

Sort crayons directly into muffin tins (I used my silicone muffin pans). Break crayons into smaller pieces and fill each hole pretty full.

sort crayons in muffin pans

crayons are starting to melt in oven

Stick the muffin pans into a warm oven (250-300 degrees) and heat til the crayons are melted. Stir the melted wax and then place in a cool spot until the wax hardens and completely cools.

finished muffin pan crayons

What I learned:

    blue muffin pan crayon size

  • Because I used silicone muffin pans, I was able to simply and easily “pop” each new crayon out. I’m guessing that getting the crayons out of a regular muffin pan could be difficult to impossible.
  • This method was so much easier and faster and way less messy. However, the kids were not as excited about the round crayons.
  • Need a point on your muffin crayons? Just break one in half, and you’ll have a few nice points and edges.

After we were done with our project (several hours later) I noted a few additional things:

  • We had so much fun together. It has been a while since my kids were so enthralled my a project, and since an activity held their attention for so many hours. Regardless of how much we use these new crayons, everyone loved creating them together. There was something that everyone could do. It was definitely something that needed a “bigger hand” (especially when it came to handling the hot wax), but the sorting and peeling and breaking were easy enough for little hands, too.
  • We created a much bigger mess than I would have anticipated. If we do it again, we’ll be using the same supplies, because frankly, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to use some of them for anything else. The easiest pan to clean was a pyrex bread pan. The hardest? Silicone, for sure.

Drawing with the new crayons


© 2011 – 2014, Lolli. All rights reserved.

About Lolli

Lolli has written 2759 posts on this blog.

I became a mom in 1996, and in 2005 I had my fifth. Yes, 5 kids. In 2007, this blog was born (my 6th baby that will never grow up) and I've been sharing recipes, photography tricks, parenting tips, and everything in between. You can also find me writing at Home Made Simple, Famous Footwear blog and P&G Everyday. *Add my posts to BlogLovin' or Feedly today!*

Comments

  1. I saw this post on your sidebar and I love your tutorial! The puzzle pieces are so awesome. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. a few helpful hints! I just made a bunch of train and #3 shaped crayons for my sons birthday party as favors. If you intend to pour the wax, melt it in a clean tin can and a pan of water (like a double boiler) the can is not too hot to handle and you can use pliers to bend a pour spout into one side. this worked fantastically. Also, if you are pouring, get chocolate candy molds. the hard plastic ones, the crayons are on the smaller side BUT they pop out easily and you end up with very few broken shapes. keep in mind the more intricate the more likely to break, I was also able to create fun tye die and duo crayons by pouring a small amount of each color one at a time and letting it harden before adding another color. again, remember that color wheel! mixing a bunch of colors willy nilly will yield you brown or black rather than a fun rainbow!

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  3. my 12 year old LOVES to do this! She came up with this on her own because she loves reading “Box Car” children books and loves trying to make “home made”, every day useful items the way the children did in the books. My daughter uses wax paper boxes that she makes by taping pieces of wax paper together and then she lets them melt in the sun, the crayons come right out and then she just throws away the used wax paper. Easy clean up, I LOVE it, no mess!

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  4. I just tried this and after reading how hard some had it getting the crayons to come out afterwards, I decided to experiment with putting paper baking cups in the muffin tin. It worked perfectly! After freezing them the paper peeled right off and left a cool looking scalloped pattern on the edge that also makes them more fun to color with at the very beginning. Thanks Lolli, for giving such great info and for everyone else who shared their stories, it was an inspiration!

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    Lexi Reply:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQFiEYvmaaQ look at this video on how to melt crayons

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  5. u should it it the sun and tell what is your data and observations be4 mi science fair project jan.14,2012 and the pictures so i can understand

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  6. good

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  7. hi

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  8. I did similar using ice cube trays to melt wax in, and thought i’d washed them thoroughly, until a summer day came and I had guests, so made nice cold drinks with ice cubes, sadly when they melted there was a thin layer of floating wax in everyones drink. eurgh.

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  9. I have a reg. baking pan that makes fingers & would like to use it to melt our crayons it is not silcone it is a cake pan will it still work? do i need to spray pam first?

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  10. I made these in a heart shaped metal muffin pan. After letting them cool, most popped out of the tin on their own. For the ones that didn’t, I stuck the pan in the frezer for a few minutes and they came out.

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  11. Any suggestions for getting the puzzle piece crayons OUT?? Mine had to be broken out… tried straight from the freezer, then at room temperature – all BROKEN! Any ideas?!

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    Lolli Reply:

    Kat, what kind of mold did you use? Since we were using silicone molds, the hardened crayons just popped out. I didn’t have any break. I can imagine that it would be very difficult to get cooled/hardened crayons out of a hard, non-pliable mold. I wish I could help more!
    Lolli´s last blog post ..How to Visit New York City With Family On a Budget

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    Kat Reply:

    I used the silicone ice tray from IKEA – did you? I actually just melted the crayons IN the mold in the oven at 250 – took a little while! Maybe it’s somehow different if you don’t put the silicone tray in?? Who knows. I might try again with a little cooking spray… they are too cute to give up so easily!

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    Lolli Reply:

    Hmm. When I used to shaped IKEA trays, I melted the crayons in a regular bread pan and then poured them in (that was my “method #1″). When I tried “method #2″ I melted the crayons straight in the muffin tray only. And those were really easy to pop out because the muffin cups are much more pliable. Maybe the fact that the IKEA trays were heated along with the crayons made them “stick” more??

  12. Any tips for getting the puzzle piece crayons out?? I cracked every single one of mine! Tried from the freezer, then at room temperature… all broken!

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  13. Gonna make heart shaped ones to give as Valentine’s treats in lieu of candy! Thanks.

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  14. Just wanted to let you know that the IKEA icecube trays can go in the oven at the 250. I just did this myself and tested it first and it worked great. You just have to make sure that you cram as much crayon in as you can as it melts and is only filled about half way up. Just thought I would share to help

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  15. Melting time is about 15 minutes in 250 degree F oven.

    We used individual Wilton silicone hearts ($10 at Michael’s) for the forms and could place each one in the freezer — about 10 min to harden through. These also make it super easy to remove.

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  16. I actually just did this project for my daughter’s pre-school class Christmas party. I used my regular nonstick cooking pans. I made multi-colored ones. The trick is when using a metal pan, you have to spray your pan with Pam or other non-stick spray before you put the crayons in. Also as soon as you take them out the oven, put them in the freezer. They popped right out. I didn’t need anything to pry them out or anything, I had to tap on the pan maybe once or twice in the 6 batches that I made.

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  17. CRAYONS ARE BEAUTIFUL

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  18. We did this a few years ago and now I need a buckle for a Halloween costume. Crayons to the rescue! I’ve used small metal tart pans and they work great. No problem getting them out of the mold–simply put them in the freezer for 10 minutes or so and they’ll pop right out.

    My kids love everything tie-dye so this just adds to their creativity! Enjoy!

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  19. I’ve been meaning to try this! Thanks for doing it first! Great idea and I love that you forewarned about the mess. I’ll be heading to Ikea for some silicone ice cube trays before I tell the kids about this project!

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  20. Oooohhh! So cool! Love the pics of your new crayons.

    I was also told you can microwave them or add glitter to them too, but was advised not to put the glitter in until AFTER the melted crayons come out of the micro of course. :)

    I need to do this though. My 3yo had a thing for destroying crayons. lol
    Stacie @ CrazyMomLife´s last blog post ..Proof That She’s Giving Them a Fashion Complex

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  21. We’re making these in heart shaped silicone muffin pans I got from Target. William (4) is giving them to his schoolmates for Valentine’s Day! Such a neat idea! We don’t have the crayon stash you do, tho. I actually had to buy crayons for this.
    Jacki´s last blog post ..My shirt fabric is here!!

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  22. You are so awesome. I love this activity! The puzzle and stars crayons are SOOO cute!
    Andrea´s last blog post ..Happy Holidays

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  23. Fantastic idea. I’ve done this with candle wax but never thought of doing it with crayons.

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  24. I can not wait to try this with the kids!!

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  25. Great post, I need to do this. I have a basket full of broken crayons.
    Jenny´s last blog post ..I think I may just need to move

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  26. Oh! And the peeling. I discovered that if you take a box cutter and slice the paper from top to bottom the paper just pops right off. Since you’re melting the crayon anyway there’s no harm done by cutting them a bit.

    Just a hint for next time!
    Jessica R.´s last blog post ..Winter in California

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    D Reply:

    Those fine motor skills are needed to take off that paper. I have seen many kindergarten children get so frustrated taking the paper off because their fine motor skills have not developed. It’s really good practice for this age, although I know a bit complicated because fingernails are needed. Other things to do to help these fine motor skills are to cut magazines/paper/newpaper using child scissors, using tongs to move cotton balls/pebbles/q-tips from one bowl to another or even using tweezers to move smaller objects. Once they accomplish this skill, they really have fun.

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    Kathleen Reply:

    Soak the crayons in a bowl of warm water for an hour – labels come off much easier than picking with fingernails!

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  27. What an awesome project and an awesome post! LOVE it!
    Jessica R.´s last blog post ..Winter in California

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  28. Did this with kids I nannied for b/c I wanted to recycle the broken crayons, what a great idea, and love love your steps and pics!!
    Jennifer Bullock´s last blog post ..Momnesia Mondays- Yesterday Part II

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  29. Great write-up! I love your photos and lessons learned! I am definitely going to buy some disposable or cheap-o molds and pans if I ever do this!
    Lynda´s last blog post ..A Typical Weekend

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    Sarah Reply:

    If you put some vegetable oil on a cupcake pan it works great, they slide right out with a hit of the back of the pan and leave little to no mess! I just got done making some! :)

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    Lolli Reply:

    Wow! What a great tip. I would have thought that using anything oily would mess up the wax. I would love to be able to save on the clean-up, though!!
    Lolli´s last blog post ..Join Me at the GenesisToday Twitter Party!

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  30. How fun! We have hoards of crayons too. I usually just throw them all away guess I will try to be more creative haha!
    Brandie´s last blog post ..Sister Photo Shoot

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  31. Totally love this post. Can’t ever repeat it, or I’ll have to change the name of my blog. :-)
    Claudia´s last blog post ..A New Game!

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  32. I did this using baby food jar lids to melt the crayons in, but I am in love with your puzzle piece crayons…fun to color and assemble!
    Judy´s last blog post ..Rag Heart Wreath

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  33. I’ve seen this idea before but never like this!! Love the puzzle pieces and the stars are great. Bookmarking this for later as I’m sure we’ll need it!

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  34. Such a fun idea! I love the puzzle:-)

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  35. The puzzle pieces are adorable.
    Michelle Saunderson´s last blog post ..Do You Belong to a Subculture

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  36. I am going to have to remember this, we don’t have quite that many crayons….YET!!!

    What fun!
    Erin´s last blog post ..I should have

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  37. I think the best part is how much fun you had with your kids. It sounds like they really had a great time!!
    Tristi Pinkston´s last blog post ..What is a Virtual Book Tour

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  38. I love this idea! Puzzle pieces are def my fav! Cannot wait to try it out.
    Bethany´s last blog post ..Hubs- Workspaces- &amp Sleep- Sounds Good to Me!

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  39. I just adore the puzzle piece shaped ones, how fun! And yes the peeling part is definitely THE worst step!
    Elaine´s last blog post ..Have Your Cake and Read It Too

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    Jerrica Reply:

    Hey Ladies!
    I am currently in the process of doing this!!! They are in the oven now! I found an easy way to get the crayon wrappers off (adult required). A fruit peeler does wonders! And speeds up the process so much!!! I thought of this halfway of peeling my 8 boxes of crayons.. hhaha!
    Best of luck!

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    Lori Reply:

    Hello!

    I’m doing this as a Valentine’s Day gift for my students and wanted to share a crayon-peeling secret I read on another site. Fill a bowl with the hottest water you can get from your tap, soak the crayons immediately. In just a few minutes you will notice the crayon wrappers popping off on their own! If the water begins to cool before all of the wrappers come off, remove the “naked” crayons and drain. Refill with hot water and repeat.

    Happy crafting!

    Lori

    [Reply]

    rosie Reply:

    100% the best way to do this!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Glue crayons to top of canvas, use a blow dryer with very high heat. If you have a blow dryer with a cool button you’ll be able to control the direction of the wax by heating it and cooling it when you want it to freeze. See more ideas here! And what to do with leftovers here! [...]

  2. [...] Glue crayons to top of canvas, use a blow dryer with very high heat. If you have a blow dryer with a cool button you’ll be able to control the direction of the wax by heating it and cooling it when you want it to freeze. See more ideas here! And what to do with leftovers here! [...]

  3. [...] Better in Bulk melted the wax in pans and poured them into different molds, making crayons shaped like puzzle pieces and stars: [...]

  4. [...] 6. Make homemade multicolored crayons.  Make fun shaped crayons out of your broken stubs.  Take a look at this wonderful explanation from Lolli over at BetterinBulk.com.  [...]

  5. [...] Melting Crayons :: What a great way to re-purpose all those broken pieces!!! [...]

  6. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lolli BetterinBulk and Lolli BetterinBulk, elainea. elainea said: RT @1momof5: Melting Crayons – Give New Life to Broken Crayons http://bit.ly/i3nk9p (new post!) [...]

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