Broken Crayons. Oh yes, we all have them.. I bet we all have a HUGE stage of broken crayons at the bottom of our art draw. The kids shun them (not pretty and new enough), what to do with broken crayons? Whatever you do, please don’t throw them away, I feel that landfill is not a great place for crayons – as I don’t really decompose. However, there are a number of ways you can cleverly craft with them! SO.. here are some unexpected things you can do with broken crayons (instead of throwing them away!!).
Can you melt broken crayons back together?
It depends on the quality of the crayon. I find the better quality crayons CAN be melted back together again (a bit like heating to ends of a candle and squishing them together). They can also be broken up and melted down into new crayon shapes (see the crayon stars below). But the success of this really depends on the quality of crayon and how waxy vs plastic-y they are. Cheaper ones basically, don’t recycle as well and crayon may actually separate out into different compounds as you melt them.
You may want to just tape them up together!
How do you reuse broken crayons?
The answer is simple! You Craft with them, as per the list that follows here! Enjoy!
The Impact of Crayons in Landfills – best to buy eco friendly
You have two main choices for avoiding crayons going into landfill:
- Recycle schemes – but they are limited (see below)
- Eco friendly crayons (soy or bees wax)
Many crayons are made from paraffin, which doesn’t bio degrade – ie stays in landfill for every. Your best bet it to buy eco friendly crayons made from soy or bees wax. There are some organisations that recycle crayons (hooray), you will have to search the internet for one in your area. In the US there is the National Crayon Recycling progam – the Crayon Initiative is also a good one to check. In the UK you can try Terra Cycle – I take pens to Rymans for recycling, though I am not 100% if they really take ALL of them.
Even if you are using crayons for crafting as per this article….. I have learnt that only good quality crayons result in gorgeous crafts….. so if you have lower quality crayons (more plastic-y, hard crayons), you are better off trying to recycle them via one of the crayon recycling programs mentioned above.
I have to confess, now that I have spent more times looking at crayons and how they are made, I wish, I had taken more care in our crayon purchases and avoided the terrible “Landfill” crayons when my kids where little.
Here some ideas for your broken crayons
- Crayon Candles (please note, these are not crayons only)!!!!
- Crayon Rock Paper Weights
- New shaped crayons
- Egg decorating crayons
- Painting with crayons
- Crayon shaving suncatchers (adapt this method for seasonal crayon crafts)
- Crayon playdough and crayon salt dough (please note, as with candles, the crayon is a pigment agent and not the main ingredient)
- Melted crayon pumpkins
- Wax Paper Lanterns
Can you make candles with crayons?
The short answer: NO!!!
The long answer: you can use crayons as part of the colour pigment in candle making.
Use crayons to COLOUR your candles – contrary to MANY crafts you will see on the internet you cannot make candles from JUST crayons (unless you have beeswax crayons or soy candles). I promise you, they will not burn well and they may even smell bad (“burning” crayon can even release toxic gases). However, you can use crayon left overs to help COLOUR white wax. So here are some fun recycled Egg Candles I made, using old white church candles from Christmas and a handful of left over crayon stubbs. The better the quality of the crayon (i.e. the more pigment in contains), the better the colouring process. Colour theory and colour mixing usually applies too! See my DIY Egg Candle post here.
In cased you missed it: you can NOT make candles using JUST crayons. The don’t burn well and can be toxic.
Crayon Rock Paperweights – a great gift idea
One craft we have enjoyed making over the years, are these rock paperweights – the process is super fun and satisfying and the results look fabulous. DO check out my full post on making these crayon rock paperweights for top tips on how to create them. I have seen many “mixed” results online. But again – bottom line is: the better the quality the crayon is, the better the result as the pigmentation will be of higher quality.
The video on auto play also shows you how to make these! Enjoy!
How to make molded crayons from broken crayons
We have melted and recused broken crayons to make new crayon shapes – like these recycled crayon stars. I cannot emphasise enough… the quality of the crayon matters. If the crayon is of poor quality, its compounds will separate out and and once it cools down into a new solid crayon, it may not work that well anymore! It will feel super waxy with no colour. The higher the quality of your broken crayons, the better the end result.
The other thing to note, is that you will need to use silicon ice cube trays – it is best to only use trays that you use for crafting and not for food. I wouldn’t say the crayons ruin the ice cube trays.. but wouldn’t want to use them for food afterwards! So remember.. if you are buying silicon moulds JUST for this project, you are adding more plastic to environment.
Decorating Hot Eggs with Crayons
Similarly to our Crayon Rock Paper Weights.. you can also decorate hot hard boiled eggs at the Easter Table. It is a fun process. BUT, the crayon does melt and gather at the bottom of your egg cup. So don’t use your favourite or vintage egg cups for this activity. The crayon did come off mine… but you don’t want to take the risk just in case!
Painting with crayons
Gathering Beauty shows us to paint (ie not DRAW) with crayons. A fun process explortaion with kids!
Crayon Shavings Suncatchers
The Suburban Mom has a wonderful heart sun catcher craft made using crayon shavings. These hearts are pretty all year round, but would be especially suited for Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. Once you have learnt how to do the process, you can get creative with other seasonal crafts – e.g. you could do some fabulous jack o’lanterns?
How to make Crayon Play Dough!
The OT Toolbox – Play Dough, but apparently you can use them for Salt Dough (here) too. I have coloured salt dough before baking before, and it is a great way to get colour into your project. But I haven’t tried this yet with broken crayons. Great idea though! The key to coloured salt dough is the quality of the pigment you are using. So I can imagine crayola crayons working really well for this!
Melted Crayon Pumpkins
Color Made Happy loves COLOUR! As we of course all know. Use your crayon ends to decorate small pumpkins this Fall/ Thanksgiving!
Wax Paper Laterns with Crayons
Artsy Fartsy Mama has a super sweet lantern craft you can make – recycling popcycle sticks and crayon shavings!
I hope you have been inspired NOT to throw away your broken crayons and clock up our landfill sites.. but to keep reusing your left over crayons in creative ways. Personally, I will now only purchase eco friendly crayons – I wish this is something that had occurred to me soon! I guess it is a bit like glitter -now we are more aware of the impact on the environment, let’s start making changes. Don’t throw out what you already have, use it up as best you can.. but make future purchases more eco friendly for sure!
One of our favourite craft materials is the humble TP Roll.. do take a peak at our fun and fablous and often unexpected TP Roll Crafts for Kids: