Friday, April 24, 2009

What to do with idy bidy crayon bits...

Wanting to implement reduce, reuse, recycle at home I started to think about what we throw away each day. One thing is crayon bits, you know the crayon breaks in half and no body wants to use half a crayon, or it gets past the paper and no one wants to peel off the paper to use it. Yeah those bits that I seem to find everywhere! It turns out you can melt them down and make new crayons - the sky is your limit. This is a fun activity for the kids too and the new crayons also make cute little gifts.

Here's how is works:
Make sure you peel off all the paper (I would do this in advance as the paper does not come off as easily as I remember as a kid and my children got bored waiting for me to take the paper off).
Break the pieces as small as you can, the kids love this job,although some crayons are hard so we used knives to cut them.

Once you have all your crayons peeled and broken arrange them into moulds (see below). I would try and remove as much of the darker coloured crayons as possible as they tend to take over the coloured ones.
You can mix the colours up or if you have enough bits put one colour in each mould. Heat the oven to 150 C or about 300 F and pop the moulds in the oven (on a tray).
Heat until the wax just melts (about 15-20 minutes).
Remove from oven, cool and pop in the freezer for an hour.
NB: Don't feel like you have to fill the mould completely as a smaller, thinner round crayon is nice too, however do remember the crayons melt down - you don't want your crayon too thin.

Remove from freezer and pop out.
Voila crayons ready to use.
These also make a cool gift especially coupled with a colouring book made with your family photos at crayola.

I used flexable muffin trays as my moulds and these worked great and made it easy to remove the crayons once they were set. I could not imagine trying to get them out of a tin mould but apparently these work very well too.
Muffin Crayons: Put crayon bits into muffin pans (I would not use your best muffin tin as sometimes the crayon stains). You can also use different shaped tins and pans if you have them.
Chocolate Mould crayons: You can also try tin chocolate mould you can make them as above otherwise if they are plastic you can melt the crayons in the microwave (again don't use your best Tupperware here, a heavy paper cup does the job). Microwave 30 seconds at a time until crayons have just melted and pour into mould. Allow to cool and put in the freezer for an hour for easy removal. You can also use soap mould but remember staining may occur.
You can also use candle moulds or look through your recycling bin we found all sorts of moulds from plastic packaging in here.

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