With a Little Work, It's Easy to Recycle Old Crayons Into New Ones

Let your kids help create these fun, chunky drawing sticks.

Colorful crayons
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Have lots of crayon stubs that are too small to hold onto? Don't throw them out. You can use them to create big, chunky crayons—and your kids can help. The process takes about 25 minutes, but it's quite easy. Gather your broken crayons, an old muffin tin, and a knife, and you're ready to get started.

Recycling Crayons

Follow these simple steps to turn your old, broken and seemingly unusable crayons into new ones.

  1. Gather up all of your broken crayons; unwrap them, and cut them into small pieces. (An adult will need to do the cutting.)
  2. Preheat your oven to 250 F.
  3. Fill the cups of your muffin tin with an inch-thick layer of crayon pieces. Do one color in each cup, or mix all the colors together to create rainbow crayons.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the wax has melted. Stay close by to keep an eye on things.

Allow the crayons to cool and harden sufficiently, then pop them out and they're ready to use.

Tips and Hints

If you don't have a muffin tin to devote to crayon making, you can line your regular muffin tin with foil cups. The wax may stick to paper cups. You can also use candy- and soap-making molds to create fun, shaped crayons. Just make sure they're oven-safe. You might want to try silicone molds because it's really easy to pop the crayons out of these when they're done and because there are so many great shapes to choose from.

It's probably no surprise, but name brand crayons make the best recycled crayons. All of the color tends to settle on one side of the crayon when you use the cheapies. Recycled crayons make a great no-cost gift or party favor. Give them for Valentine's Day or hand them out on Halloween as a fun alternative to candy.

More Ways to Recycle Old Crayons

Still have a bunch of broken crayons left over after making recycled crayons? Use them to make candles and fire starters using either pinecones or lint. As long as you supervise, your kids can help with these, too.

If it's a sunny day, try making a solar crayon candle. Just place a wick in the center of an old jar, fill it to the top with broken crayon pieces, and set it outside on a piece of aluminum foil. As the sun melts the crayons, add more, until you have enough melted crayons to fill the entire jar. Measure the diameter of your jar to figure out what size wick you need. If you use the wrong size wick, it won't burn properly.

If you don't have wicks on hand, you can buy them inexpensively in bulk on the internet and use them for various candle-making and related projects in the future.