Recycled Crayons {diy} {kid craft}

There are numerous blog posts, tutorials and videos out there that show you how to recycle worn out, broken crayons into spiffy new ones.  Do a quick search and in five minute's worth of reading, you'll know the basic process.  Tear paper off old crayons, break into smaller pieces, put them into some sort of mold, melt in the oven, voila.

So, why write yet another post?  I thought I'd offer some tips.  I've made crayons a few times now and have definitely figured out some things that make the new crayons better and useable. 

{1} Don't mix different types of crayons.  Crayola is the best crayon out there; don't mix it with cheapies.  Don't mix fat crayons with skinny, regular ones.  They melt at different rates.

{2} Make it easy on yourself- use an x-acto knife to slice through the crayon wrapper.  Unless the crayons are really old, the paper should just pop right off once it's cut.  If some of the glue sticks to the crayon, it doesn't seem to matter or affect the finished product.

{3} If you're unwrapping a bunch of crayons at one time, divide them by color to save yourself the trouble of guessing later.  Dark blue, purple and black all look the same unwrapped. 

{4} No matter what you're using- muffin tin, shaped silicone ice mold, novelty cake tins- make sure you sit them on a cookie sheet.  It's a little easier to control the movement of the melted wax and it helps contain the mess if you're clumsy like me.

{5} Once your new crayons have cooled off a bit, 15-20 minutes, pop them in the fridge for 5 minutes.  This especially helps when using metal tins.  The wax separates from the edge of the pan and it's easier to pop the crayon out.

{single layer}
{6} Try to make a fat crayon if possible.  Thin, one layer crayons break easily.  As you can see in the picture, you can see right through the pieces in a single layer and that's going to melt into a thin, brittle crayon.  I added a second layer after I took this picture and the crayons came out beautifully at about a half an inch thick.

{7} If your kids aren't using these, or storing them with other crayons right away, wrap them up in paper, plastic wrap or a plastic bag.  That way you don't have wax shavings from unfinished edges getting all over everything.  I've wrapped them in plastic wrap twice when giving them out as party favors.

{7} Don't worry if you get a mottled black mess on the top.  It happens.  Especially when you put a lot of black, purple and blue together.  Turns out, those colors still come through on paper, it just looks like it's all black.  Usually, the bottom of the crayon is prettier.

{completed rainbow crayon}

This is a fun rainy day project.  It doesn't take too awfully long and it's something kids can play with right away once it cools off.  And, it's fun to experiment with mixing colors into one crayon.  You could make girly princess crayons with pinks/reds/purples.  Or sky crayons with blue and white.  Camo crayons with browns/greens/gray/black.  Sunsets, rainbows... unleash that creativity and have a fun afternoon!
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