As a homeschooler, you know how frequently you find broken crayons in the crayon bucket. They pile up quickly and get tossed in the trash. Did you know you can recycle your old crayons at home?
We do a lot of art projects and crafts, so we are constantly going through boxes of crayons. Normally we would just toss the broken or damaged crayons in the trash when we could no longer use them. That was until we learned just how terrible crayons can be to our environment.
Crayons Can Be Harmful to the Earth
A few weeks ago I read that most crayons are made from paraffin wax. That wax is a byproduct of petroleum and is not biodegradable. Yep, crayons are not biodegradable. So those old, broken crayons that you toss in the trash will sit in a landfill for over 100 years before they start to break down!
It may not seem like a big deal, but I can tell you from personal experience as a mom and homeschooler that we have thrown out hundreds of partially used, broken crayons over the years. That’s a huge amount of waste and an awful impact on our planet.
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Make New Crayons
We decided to make a change and started keeping our damaged crayons with plans to recycle them or use them for melted crayon art.
To make new crayons, you can simply melt down your broken crayons and heat them. You’ll just need a silicone mold – you can find them online or at your local grocery store.
I’ll be honest when I say I really thought this was going to turn into a very messy, long project. I’m happy to report this project will go on the list of easy crafts. Probably one of the easiest we have done in quite a while. The girls even remarked how well it went and asked if we can do this on a regular basis.
Remove the wrappers
This seemed like it would be easiest part but it was actually the most difficult. Some wrappers are very stubborn on certain brands of crayons.
We found that using a blade and making a slice down the wrapper was the quickest way to remove it. This should be done by an adult.
You’ll want to decide if you want to create color family crayons, contrasting crayons or rainbow crayons. We opted for keeping color families together as you can see in the photo.
Break the Crayons
The crayons will need to be small enough to fit and fill your silicone mold. We broke ours by hand as small as we could. Then, we used a hammer to break them into tiny pieces. The smaller the pieces the better you will be able to fill your molds.
Fill the Molds
Fill the molds as much as possible. You’ll find once the crayons start to melt that they aren’t nearly as full as you thought. We ended up adding crayons halfway through the melting process because they were less than half full.
Melt the Crayons
Bake the mold filled with crayon particles at 250 degrees for approximately 10 minutes or until the crayons are completely melted.
Freeze the Crayons
After you remove the crayons from the oven, place the mold in the freezer for about 20 minutes. This will allow the crayons to cool and set properly.
Enjoy Your Recycled Crayons
Once the crayons are hard you can remove them from the molds. The silicone molds make it very easy to roll the finished crayons out. If you use a mold with small details just be sure to take your time when removing the recycled crayons.
Have you made recycled crayons? We would love to hear what fun molds you’ve used to create new crayons. Leave us a comment and let us know!