Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Recycling Crayons

The kids and I love to recycle crayons because its a cheap (or free), easy, fun, and a green project we can all do together. There are different ways to melt the crayons (in molds, or in pots and then poured into molds) and different kinds of molds that can be used to make old crayons new again. When we made crayons to give as gifts recently we used the simply melt in an old cupcake tin way.

The first step step in making old crayons new again is to collect old crayons. We put any broken crayons we have into baggies sorted by color as soon as they become unusable.

Old crayons and our crayon making cupcake tin.

The next step is to prep the crayons by removing any wrappers that are still on and breaking them into pieces. (Tip: Do not remove wrappers unless you sort them, don't care if they are mixed or until you are ready to use them. Some colors are VERY hard to tell apart just by looking.) The kids had a blast with this step. (Making a mess and breaking things, what's not to love?!) Which left my living room floor looking like this-

And our cupcake tin looking like this-

Then into the oven they go. I placed our cupcake tin into a preheated 250 degree oven. 

Warning! The folks over a Crazy Crayons (mentioned later in this post) informed me that the wax in crayons has a flash point of around 350 degrees. Please do not try to rush the melting process by using high temperatures. 
It is best to keep the oven around 200/250 degrees to avoid quality loss and fire.

Sometimes we want our crayons to be multicolor or multiple shades of one color but this time we wanted our color to be uniform through out so I mixed the wax, when the crayons were mostly melted, with an old butter knife.

The crayons should be completely melted before removing them from the oven. Which takes around 20 minutes. I pulled mine before a couple of the red pieces were melted and tried to smooth out the surface with my knife, but that left some bubbles which you will see in the finished product pictures below. I learned from my mistake and made sure all the crayon pieces were completely melted in our other batches and they all had nice smooth tops.

 Lastly the crayons need to be removed from the molds. Most of ours came out easily when we flipped the tins over and tapped on them. The reds and purples didn't want to cooperate in some of the batches so I gently bent the tin to loosen them and then they popped out. That left us with our finished product. A rainbow of recycled crayons!

 This kids were excited to use their  new set of crayons as well as to give some crayons to their cousins. This is a project we will continue to do as our old broken crayon collection builds up. If you are not as excited about recycling your own crayons but still don't want to let them go to waste the crayon recycling program Crazy Crayons will take your old crayons, make them into new crayons and sell them to support the crayon recycling program and recycling education. Happy crayon recycling! - Amber Marie

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