Recycling Crayons for Fun

I remember my excitement as a child over specially shaped, large, flat crayons.  When I recently came across tub after tub of old, broken crayons at my church, I couldn't resist trying to reycle them into new shapes.

I am not recommending that you try this at home, because after trying to read all I could find about them, and doing this in my own kitchen, I'm not convinced that it's 100% safe.  I did not have my kids around when I was melting them, just in case the fumes might be hazardous.  I kept windows open around the kitchen too, and there was a lingering smell.  It was fun, though!

First came the tedious part that the kids could help with.  We spent hours upon hours peeling off the wrappers and sorting the various colors into containers.  We tried to get the pieces 1/2 to 1 inch in length or smaller.

Next, I used old pans that I did not intend to use again for baking.  I had a slightly rusty muffin pan and some old gelatin molds.  I added the crayon pieces until they were a little less than full.

I checked the Crayola company's website, where they talk about a beginning melting point of 128 degrees Fahrenheit.  However, my oven's lowest setting was 175 degrees, and it seemed to take about 30 minutes at that temperature for the crayons to all melt.

Upon removing the melted crayons from the oven, I set them out on the porch to cool in moderately cool weather.  This seemed to take at least 30 minutes, and the new crayons came out of the molds the easiest when I waited an hour or more.  The shapes popped out the easiest from the muffin pan.  It was more difficult to get them out of the small molds.  I had to either let those individual molds cool for several hours or run them under water to help them loosen up.

Once completely cooled and set up, the crayons were easy to package in boxes or bags for later use.  Because they are so much more enticing than the old, broken crayons, the kids are excited to use them.  You seem to need a bit more pressure to get these to start marking, but they have been fun.  We intend to use them more for rubbings of leaves and other textures.

Labels: ,