What to Do with Broken Crayons: Make Your Own DIY Toddler Crayons
Do you have a big box of broken crayons? Here’s what to do with them…
Seems like we always have an abundance of old broken crayons around. See, I have a crayon buying problem. I just love new crayons!
There’s nothing like a new box of crayons! It’s potential and happiness, imagination and childhood all in one little green and golden-yellow cardboard box of wonder!
One of my favorite authors, Robert Fulghum, wrote that we could probably end all the problems in the world if we dropped brand new boxes of crayons–with tiny parachutes–into crisis regions. Not just any boxes, the big 64 pack, of course, with the sharpener built right in. A happiness bomb!
New crayons are wonderful.
This is a universal truth and the reason why I must by 6 new boxes of crayons (the 24 packs) when they go on sale for fifty cents at back-to-school time.
There’s only one teensy problem with brand new crayons. Eventually, they become old crayons. And there’s nothing quite as dejected in all the world as a box of old crayons. Some are broken. Many have their wrappers torn back to unveil more colored wax. All their wrappers are marred with the marks of their brethren.
More often than not, they have left their green and gold box of wonder and been relegated to some plastic tub to roll around together in despair while you search for the green. Just Green Green, not Forest Green or Yellow Green or what is that Asparagus?… And why on earth are there so many stinking Green Yellows?!?! Who is using that color? No one. The answer is no one. I digress.
Due to my proclivity for purchasing new crayons, we had an collection of old crayons that were in need of some love and attention.
What do you do with old crayons?
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Make them new, of course! In just a few easy steps, we made brand new, unbreakable, usable crayons. I’m so happy!
Before you begin, you need to buy one of these: Perfect Toddler Crayon Mold Actually, it’s a silicone mold for making ice cubes to fit in water bottles. I found mine at Walmart on an end cap by chance one day, but you can get them on Amazon to save you from searching for them. If you have a Prime Membership, they’ll be here in two days–which is probably sooner than if you waited until you got to the store anyway. (Don’t have Prime? Try it free for 30 Days and get your crayon mold ASAP!)
Yes, it’s a purchase, but, it’s way cheaper than the Crayola crayon maker, and if you clean it out real good after your crayon making adventures, you could use it for other things.
How to make your own crayons:
First, put your broken crayons in some water. Weird, right? It loosens the papers and makes them a million times easier to remove. Then remove and discard the paper wrappers.
*You may want to sort your crayons by color before removing the wrappers since they do make it a lot easier to tell blue from purple from black.*
Turn on your oven to 200 degrees.
Put your silicone mold on a cookie sheet for stability. It’s a good idea to line the cookie sheet first with parchment or foil just to protect it from spilled wax. It’s a good thing I did too since I sloshed some melted crayon wax out of the mold and on to the pan. The parchment paper made it much easier to clean up my mess.
Now, fill the mold with your crayons. We made some that were multi-colored, but I prefer the single colored ones. Let’s say you’re making Blue. Fill one slot in the mold with Aqua, Turquoise, Robin’s Egg Blue, Sky Blue, Cornflower…whatever shade of blue you’ve got. Using all the shades lets you use up more of your broken crayon supply AND make crayons your kids will actually use.
Rainbow crayons are cool, but when the novelty wears off, what do you really use them for?
I’m calling these Toddler Crayons because:
- they’re perfect for fat little fists to hold
- they don’t break easily
- they won’t roll off the table
- they aren’t sharp for detail work that older kids might want
Once you’ve designed and built your perfect toddler crayons, it’s time to actually melt them.
Pop the cookie sheet with filled silicone mold into the oven for about 15-20 minutes. You want the wax to melt, but it’s best if you remove them before they melt too thoroughly.
See, crayons are made of wax and pigment. Melting them in the oven liquefies the wax and lets the pigments sink to the bottom. The longer your crayons are melted, the more separated the wax and pigment become. You’ll end up with a layer of clear wax on the top of the crayons. They will still work, just not as well.
As soon as your crayons look softened, remove them from the oven. If they have a few chunks, it’s probably ok. You can use a toothpick to stir the colors together or mix melted and unmelted chunks.
Cool on the counter for 20 minutes or in the freezer for 5 minutes. When they have re-solidified, you can remove your new crayons from the mold and go to town coloring!
I’ve wanted to make new crayons out of our old forlorn ones for years, but I never had found a mold that I liked. Muffin tins will work, but a round crayon is really awkward, don’t you think? Whoever invented the silicone water bottle ice-cube tray should be kissed. Twice. Because it’s a brilliant idea for ice cubes and an even better idea for giving new life to pathetic, discarded crayons.
The next time you find yourself feeling sorry for a pile of unwanted colored-wax, remember how easy it is to just clean, melt, and renew your broken crayons!
Be sure to pin this so you don’t lose it!
If you like this post, share it, for the love of lonely crayons everywhere.
Manilla paper and a big ol’ 64-pack of goodness,