What to do with Broken Crayons

What to do with Broken Crayons

They might look like a pile of unloved bits, but a new life awaits these misfits, and it only takes a few minutes.

I don’t think the sight of broken crayons bothers my kindergartener in the least bit. In fact, I think he’s just as happy to color with a linty stub as he is with a brand new pointy Crayola. He’s an equal-opportunity artist that way.

No, this project was more for me, while searching for an answer for what to do with broken crayons. Before I discovered the magic of recycling crayons, whenever I came across a broken piece, I’d toss it in the trash, trying to ignore the “tsk-tsk” of my conscience. Now, when I’m faced with a motley pile of crayon tips, middles, and ends, I see a rainbow of possibilities. What sort of orange will I get if I blend these reds with those yellows? Or, what a wonderful teal I could make with these here blues and those greens! It’s addicting! And best of all, it’s Green.

Recycling Old Crayons

T spent an hour diligently peeling all these crayons. I’ve never seen him sit still for that long. He was happy to do it and called it his “work.”

Recycling Old Crayons

This many broken crayons yielded about 16 new heart-shaped crayons.

How to Recycle Broken Crayons Into New Crayons

What You’ll Need:

Broken crayons
Large pot
Washed, dried, de-lidded soup cans (one for each color of crayon you are making)
Skewer sticks
Paper towels
Candy mold (available at craft stores)

How to Make Your Crayons:

  1. Assemble the broken crayons and peel off the paper. This is where the kids can help. Their little fingers seem to do a much better job than our too-big grown-up hands!
  2. Sort the crayons into like colors. This will help you decide what custom colors to make. Try to scrape off any dirt or lint that might be sticking to the crayons.
  3. (Parents: Do not let your persuasive five-year-old con you into letting him use the stove—Oh, wait, that was me.) Using the double-boiler method, fill a large pot with about an inch of water. Place can(s) into water, and fill the can about 1/4 full with the crayons you wish to melt. Place over medium-low heat.
  4. Crayons will begin to melt almost immediately. Stir with a skewer stick to speed up the melting process.
  5. Once the crayons are thoroughly melted, use a couple of folded paper towels to handle the hot can and *carefully* pour the melted wax into the candy molds. (Did I mention to be careful? Hot steam + hot melted wax + hot tin can + fiddling with your cell phone = yowch!)
  6. Allow the newly molded crayons to harden. This takes about 15 to 20 minutes. You can speed up the process by popping the tray in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  7. Turn the tray upside down over a paper towel and gently flex it so that the crayons fall out.
Melting Crayons to Make New Ones

Melting happens almost instantaneously. (That steam can’t be good for my camera lens.)

Crayon Molds

Candy molds come in all different shapes. We heart the hearts.

How to Recycle Broken Crayons into New Crayons

Voilà! Shiny new crayons to fuel your budding artist’s imagination.

Other Helpful Tips:

Uses for Old Crayons

I can’t think of a better way to recycle broken crayons. Can you?

  • Trying to decide how many cans you’ll need? I started off with three: one for yellow, one for blue, and one for red. Then I re-used these cans. I used the yellow can to melt green crayons. The blue can for purple crayons. And the red can for orange crayons.
  • You can also melt the crayons by nuking them in a microwave-safe cup and then pouring them into the molds.
  • I’m definitely going to try this in the summer: Supposedly you can put the broken crayon pieces straight into the molds, place the mold tray on your scorching hot patio, and watch the crayons melt.
  • Other molds to try: ice cube tray, mini-muffin tin, silicone molds (these come in so many fun shapes!), and PVC pipe that’s been cut in half (I’m not that daring, are you?).

Have you tried recycling old crayons already? Chime in with your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear your tips. Happy coloring!

KidZui Mom

Sophia savors all the joys (and challenges!) of family life with her husband and two kids in San Diego. Read more of her (mis)adventures in mothering at MamaSayMamaSo.

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5 Responses to What to do with Broken Crayons

  1. Tonya Staab says:

    Oh I love your little heart ones, they are adorable. We love recycling our crayons. We made these ones a couple of years ago for Halloween: http://www.tonyastaab.com/2010/10/creepy-crayons.html and have made some in regular muffin pans and star shaped ones for Christmas. I have boxes of broken crayons right now, maybe I’ll have to pull out the Valentine’s Day molds and make some new ones.

  2. Angela Grace says:

    I like this idea very much. I want to try pouring the crayon in to molds. Thanks!

  3. Kaylie says:

    This is a really fun craft. If your child/children are bored or has nothing to do pull out some broken crayons, peel them , put them in the oven and there you go!!! Also instead of the heart shaped pan I used a cup cake pan and that works great too!

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