Do you have a drawer full of stubby, broken crayons? Or perhaps you find random pieces around the house. Don’t throw them away. Collect and reuse old crayons by upcycling them!
Upcycle means to transform an item in a way that creates a product of higher quality or value than the original. When you upcycle crayon pieces, you can create beautiful, shaped crayons. They’re fun for kids and also make for unique goodie bag gifts.
Here’s how to reuse old crayons and make them into new shapes…along with lessons learned from mistakes I made along the way.
How to Reuse Old Crayons to Make New Ones
- Molds / Ice Trays / Pans
- Cutting Board
- Cookie Sheet
Step 1: Collect and Process Crayons
Scour your house for crayons you no longer want. Perhaps they’re the free restaurant ones that your kids never use or they’re just broken and stubby pieces.
Preheat oven to 275°F.
Learn from My Mistake
We cut crayons directly onto the cutting board. The crayon wax dust got into the grooves of the cutting board and was difficult to remove. Try using an old cutting board to be used just for crafts, or line the board with wax paper or parchment paper to protect it.
Place crayons on cutting board and score a line down their paper wrappings. You don’t have to cut deeply into the crayons, but just enough to get through the paper.
Snap longer crayons into pieces or cut extra small bits on a cutting board. The sizes needed depend on what will fit into your molds. Smaller pieces will melt more quickly when baked, which means they’ll be less likely to bleed into colors next to them. I used a muffin tin to sort the colors.
Step 2: Fill the Molds
Place molds on cookie sheets. This will keep them flat, especially important if using silicone. I highly recommend silicone molds because you can easily pop the crayons out.
Learn from My Mistakes
In the past I used a muffin pan. The upcycled crayons ended up too big for small hands to hold, and their round edges didn’t make coloring in lines easy. This time I bought silicone molds online with cute, pointy shapes for a finer coloring tip. My mistake was using 1” diameter molds which were too small. We had to cut very small pieces to fit into the molds, and this was difficult as the bits often crumbled into waxy dust. I’d recommend shapes with a minimum 1.5” diameter or use ice trays made for water bottles since kids will be able to easily hold their thin and long shapes.
Make sure to slightly overfill the molds to account for a reduction in size when the crayons melt. Some people fill their molds with simple, monochromatic colors going from dark to light. Others prefer to fill them half and half with two colors.
Just be careful of adding a smorgasbord of colors — if they bleed into one another, you may end up with a murky brown color. Note that darker colors like blue and purple tend to overpower lighter colors when melted, so use them sparingly when mixing colors.
Step 3: Melt Crayons Then Cool
Place cookie sheets with filled molds into the 275°F oven for 15 minutes or until crayons are melted.
Cool crayons for an hour and then transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes. Make sure the bottoms are not still warm to the touch. If cool, then pop crayons out of molds.
To remove crayon wax from molds, try spraying on vegetable oil and rubbing wax off with a sponge. Rinse with soap and water. The molds will likely have stains from the darker colors, so moving forward consider using them only for crafts, not food.
Time to Enjoy New Crayons
Hope you found this tutorial helpful (especially the Learn from My Mistakes sections). Have fun in your efforts to reuse crayons to create new ones!