Recycled Crayons

When I started at Our Saviour, I inherited many things: years of Vacation Bible School books and curriculum, a large stash of Channing Bete Religious booklets, and a basket of old broken crayons. Not wanting to waste things, I held onto the books and organized them. And wanting the kids to have good supplies, I got new crayons for them to use.

But the pile of old broken crayons continued to grow since I didn’t want to throw out otherwise perfectly good crayons. I am sure there are piles like this in many churches, so here is a step by step project that will help recycle those crayons.

Step 1: Remove Paper from crayons.1. Collect all the old broken crayons and remove the paper from them. I employed the help of people who came early to youth group or teacher training over a week or two to get the project done.

Step 2: Arrange Crayons in Mold.2. Find trays or molds for forming crayons. (I used this silicone ice cube tray from Ikea, but you can find other trays and use any shape you want.) Add broken crayons to the tray. I chose to put like colors with like colors. Remember that the crayons will settle slightly as they mold together, so it is okay if they seem to be slightly overflowing.

Step 3: Put on old or protected baking sheet.3. Put the mold on a old baking sheet or a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil. It is very easy for the crayons to spill when they are melted, so this is to protect from hard to clean up messes.

Step 4: Heat for 30 minutes at 200 degrees.4. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Heating slowly on low heat will help control messes and allow you to use a tray that was designed for something else. Allow your crayons to slowly melt for about 30 minutes.

Step 5: Allow crayons to cool and carefully remove.5. Handle your currently liquid crayons with care — you can simply turn off the oven or pull the tray out to allow them to harden. When they are no longer shiny in appearance and cool to the touch, you can pop them out to the tray. (If they don’t want to come out, put them in the freezer for a moment to help loosen them.)

Use for a variety of projects.Once you’ve made these crayons, they’re ready to be used. Here’s some ideas for how to use them:

  • Creation — They can use the crayons to talk about the water and sea or even to collect things from creation (leaves and flowers) that they can make rubbings from. These crayons are great for rubbings because of their having a flat side.
  • Noah’s Ark —  Arrange the crayons into a rainbow before you bake them and kids can draw a rainbow across their paper.
  • Moses and the Burning Bush — Use a mixture of warm colors to make bright crayons. Have them draw or color a burning bush and ask them about the wonder Moses must have experienced seeing something like this.
  • Pentecost — Use the same warm colored crayons and have kids add tongues of fire to the disciples.

The possibilities could go on — you could chose to use them for special occasions or every week together.

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4 Responses to Recycled Crayons

  1. Beth says:

    Makes me think of the story of the guy that saved string too short to save. That’s what God does…he saves the string (us) that’s too short to save. Your article makes me think that we are like the used, broken crayons…and God constantly remelts us and reforms us so we can still be used and useful.

  2. I love this idea even for me. I think using other shaped molds would be super fun and make for great little gifts!

  3. Julie says:

    This is brilliant! We have so many broken crayons, and like you, I can’t justify throwing them away. Thanks for the great idea Rebekah.

  4. pam zimmer says:

    Love this idea, we did something similar during day camp two summers ago. Instead of the long molds though we got star shaped aluminum cupcake tins. Each camper was able to select what colors they wanted from our broken crayon bin, grouping colors in each point of the star, and once they were baked they had a giant star crayon with 5 different colors available to them. The star shape also made it very easy to handle for younger ones who hadn’t mastered fine motor grip yet. I hate to throw crayons away, and even an old broken crayon can still color beautifully.

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