Coloring Gems! Reuse and renew broken Crayons

Easy, albeit not fast, way to turn broken, languishing crayons into a new art supply for coloring creatives of any age. You don’t have any broken crayons? Sure you do, look in the bottom of that crayon box or help clean out a church basement, or a classroom or ask neighbors in your Buy Nothing group. I also save crayons from restaurants but a word of caution that they do not melt the same as Crayola (more on this at the end).

Supplies

  • Broken crayons
  • Craft knife/blade
  • Mold (e.g. silicon candy/ice mold)
  • Baking sheet, foil
  • Oven

Instructions

  • Sort your crayons by color (if you like, it is really satisfying) groups.
  • Remove the labels from crayons. I found it quickest to use a craft knife to cut a slit down the label to remove paper. Others use a bowl of warm water.
  • Heat your oven to between 200-225 F.
  • Break the crayons into bits that will fit in the mold.
  • Put broken crayon pieces into the mold. Have fun making up color combinations or using all the same color. You will want to fill up the mold above the top edge as the crayons will melt down.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and place the mold with crayons on top of sheet and place in the heated oven.
  • Melting time will vary but I found it to be right around 20 minutes. set your time and check in on them at 18 minutes 🙂 I melted mine completely but did not let them stay on the oven any extra time to avoid dyes separating and/or colors all blending together.
  • Remove the baking sheet and mold from oven. Place mold on a cooling rack and let it cool down at room temp. Don’t rush removing them from the molds as it can leave finger prints or marks. I did put my mold into the fridge after cooling down at room temp for about 30 minutes to speed it along as I just had the one gem shaped mold. They pop right out with a quick twist.
  • Repeat!

Chunky, recycled crayons are awesome for making rubbings using surfaces and textures around the house, leaves/nature bits, gravestones or official rubbing plates like those by Roylco or fashion plates (hello 80s!) Each scribble or line with the crayon will reveal new colors. I listed some extra tubs of coloring gems in my Etsy shop too!

Notes and Tips

  • Using the craft knife to remove labels generates flakes/crumbs/bits so do this over a piece of paper or container. Save them!
  • I did put some thought into how I paired up my colors – mix and match with the color wheel in mind (orange and blue, yellow and purple), mother earth (greens and blues), shades of pinks (that magenta!) or all the beautiful skin tones.
  • Put the crayon crumbs from the label-removal step in the bottom of mold and layer white or gray crayons on top (other colors didn’t work as well) for a rainbow speckled crayon.
  • The crayons did stain the mold after many batches, so plan to keep it dedicated to crafts.
  • If you are using a muffin tin or doughnut pan, grease the pan first with shortening before putting the crayons pieces in.
  • Crayon selection and brands: I will not wax on (haha) about the virtues or dangers of this wax over that wax used to make crayons (the internet will tell you whatever you want/need to hear). I will say that the ‘cheaper crayons’ handed out by restaurants etc usually have lower quality wax, pigments etc and they won’t melt the same and the colors may separate, be less pigmented etc. You can mix them in with Crayola’s, just not too much or you will have a bunch of uncolored wax on the top of the crayon and sad blah color on the bottom. TLDR – stick with mostly one crayon brand or type for this project.

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