Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kid Project: Upcycling old broken crayons into swirly coloring sculptures

I did this last year with my kids for their friends, and since it was for gifts, I didn't blog about it then.  That and I'm pretty awful about blogging.  But in honor of the upcoming gifting/making/shopping madness, I wanted to get more homemade gift ideas out there and in my tutorials.  So, this random post which was half written (and of course not finished) was dug gingerly out of the pile of my squandered molding ideas, and with a little spit polish here and there, I present it to you for your crafting pleasure.

These were from candy pretzel molds, so I had to tape up the end so the wax wouldn't run out, but overall it made a great shape for coloring with.

Upcycled Fancy Crayons

Step 1: Peel old crayons.  (kid step)  Perfect job for kid helpers.  You (the adult) can make it easier by taking an exacto knife and cutting through the length of the crayon paper wrapper.

Step 2: Sort out the colors into like piles.  (kid step)  I used a ton of leftover crayons, all different brands.  Some of which had different wax and sparkles and whatnot other components, so it wasn't all totally homogeneous.  Not the best thing, so I would suggest maybe sticking to the same brand.  It still worked though, but next time I think I'll go with all the same sort of crayons.

Step 3: Melt them double boiler style.  (adult job)  You can use a variety of things for this purpose.  But just know it will probably ruin whatever container you use.  So think recycled.  You can start collecting rinsed out tin cans, or I used glass baby food jars.. anything that isn't going to melt with the crayons.  (don't use anything plastic)  And put them in a shallow pot of boiling water.  Make sure the water doesn't go into the crayon containers.

Step 4: Pour the molten wax into molds.  (adult job)  Use tongs or oven mitts or something, because I guarantee whatever you used to house the molten wax will be super hot.  Be careful when you pour!  You can use all sorts of different molds to shape the wax.  I used candy molds this time.  But you can use old ice cube trays, or muffin tins, old prescription bottles or even hollowed out egg shells.  The possibilities are really endless.  (you could get real fancy and make plaster casts of objects and fill it in with wax..)  I also like to swirl and mix two or more colors together.  I try to stick with colors next to or close to each other on the color spectrum (or mix with neutrals, white, brown, greys and black) to avoid really ugly combinations, like what happens when you mix complimentary colors that cancel each other out.  Because they will mix up a bit.  The mixing colors is my favorite part.  Go crazy and have fun with it though!

Step 5: Cool them off completely.  Cool off in freezer (where the wax will contract, making it easy to pop right out of the mold!)

Step 5:  Remove from the mold and color.  (kid step)  Make sure it is totally cooled off and cold, and not even slightly warm at all.  If so it should come right out and be ready to color with!
re-purposed glass baby food jars work great for gifting and/or storage (as well as for melting) can you tell I did this when Liam was still eating baby food?

 There you go!  Enjoy!  It is really fun, and they make fantastic gifts.  If you want more gift making tutorials let me know!


  1. Great ideas, and beautiful results!

  2. Hi, I love this idea. we have so many crayon bits that could use a second chance at life... can you pour the molten crayon into plastic chocolate moulds or silicone moulds, or does it need to be metal or glass??????

    1. Yes you can use both. I used plastic candy molds and it worked great. They popped out so easily (especially after putting them in the freezer for a little bit). I also used silicone molds and it worked, but silicone was harder to get the crayons out. Wax melts at such a low temperature that it is not in danger of melting any of those molds.