This project can involve toddlers but would probably be better suited for an older child if you want them taking part in the whole thing. Since I didn't want to give candy as I was sure there would be plenty going around already, I decided to go for homemade crayons, just like the ones I'd seen on Pinterest…oh yeah, Pinterest addict here! I did end up doing some revisions to the ones I saw online and if you go on pinterest and do a search for recycled crayons, you will pull up a ton of different sources. I didn't have tiny oven-safe silicone molds and I also could not find them in stores so I had to improvise on the tutorials that I found. Since this is a project that involved an oven, wax, and melting stuff, I made sure I read all the directions and went the conservative route! This is what I ended up with and you'll see some * signs for lessons learned after the activity.
- Around 20 broken or unused crayons, I had a mixture of chunky, triangle and regular thin round ones.
- Cookie Sheet
- Aluminum Foil *I used wax paper and it didn't work as well
- Mini cupcake liners-paper ones
- Paper Plate *I used a regular plate and I hated the clean up
- Remove all the paper from the crayons, this can be time consuming but I had Kiggster help me and we just had fun peeling them together.
- Break up all the crayons into tiny pieces. I cut them up on a plate with a knife and some were easier to cut than others but all of them liked flying outside of the plate! I suggest cutting the lighter colors first then moving to the darker colors so you don't mix all the colors too much. This is what was the most time consuming part for me in this project, cutting them up!
- I decided to mix like colors together rather than mix tons of different colors into one cupcake liner, which would make it one big brown mess. Because not all crayons are the same shade, you still get a very nice contrast only putting 1 color per cupcake liner. I also had some black and brown crayons and since I still wanted to make new crayons out of them, I put them at the bottom of the liner and then at the top, put a more vibrant color like yellow, green or even white. I filled the cupcake liners to the brim to make sure when they melted down, it wouldn't be too thin.
- I set the oven for 175 degrees, I aired on the conservative side just to be sure I didn't mess things up. I did end up having to bake them for about 30 minutes the colorful crayons all got nicely melted. However, the black and brown crayon mixes did not and so I cranked up the oven to 200 degrees and baked them for another 15 minutes before they got all melted too. I actually had lined the baking sheet with waxing paper but the wax still seeped through the paper cupcake liners and through the wax paper also. The next time I do this project, I will be using aluminum foil instead to make sure I dont't have a hot mess on my hands…literally. Also because I had the oven at a higher temperature, I did end up smelling the melted wax but not when I had it at a lower temperature.
- Wait for the crayons to completely cool down before trying to remove the liners. It took about 30 minutes for mine to harden and they all turned out really pretty! I was glad I used the paper liners because I wanted to be able to easily tear off the paper so that the crayon wouldn't crack or get ruined and I think in the end, it was a good call! The crayons actually remind me of prettier versions of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or hand painted truffles! Good thing it smells like wax or it could easily be mistaken for something edible!
*Tip: If wax does leak on to your baking pan like it did on mine, I ran it under some really hot water and the wax started coming off in strips and I just reached in with my hands and "ladled" them out. Then I scrubbed down the pan with more hot water and soap and it seemed to do the trick.
These crayons are great even as gifts and we are using it as Valentine's Day gifts for Kiggster's friends and you can snag some free Valentines printables here to go with your crayons!