Upcycle Old Crayons: 4 DIY Project Ideas

Updated on January 21, 2014
Too many old crayons? Try these projects!
Too many old crayons? Try these projects! | Source

If you have kids, work with kids, babysit kids, or have younger siblings, you probably end up with lots of crayon bits that are messy and too small to be useful. Don't throw them out! There are tons of fun and beautiful crafts for kids and adults that you can make with them. Upcycling your old junk is enjoyable, useful, financially responsible, and good for the environment!

Use crayon shavings to make a design or sprinkle them randomly.
Use crayon shavings to make a design or sprinkle them randomly. | Source

Crayon Stained Glass Project

The stained glass crayon project is very easy and can be done using only common household items. I did this one with my dad as a kid and loved it. Here's what you'll need:

  • old crayons
  • a pencil sharpener
  • wax paper
  • paper towels
  • an iron

Instructions:

  1. Use the pencil sharpener on the crayons to make thin crayon shavings. Choose whatever crayon colors you want for your project, the more colors the better. Collect the shavings in a bowl or on a sheet of paper. You can do one color at a time to make a palette or mix all the shaving colors together, depending on your preference.
  2. Lay a piece of wax paper out flat on your ironing board with the shiny, wax side facing up. You may want to put down an old t-shirt or rag first to ensure that no melted crayon will get on the ironing board. You can start your wax paper on any flat, level surface, but you risk messing up your design if you have to carry the unfinished piece to the ironing board later.
  3. Create a design by sprinkling the crayon shavings on the shiny side of the wax paper. Leave a margin of about 3 inches and do not cover that area with any shavings. You can measure and draw the margin with pencil to remind young children not to decorate all the way to the edges of the paper if necessary. Keep the sprinkled shavings as even as possible. You only need a thin layer. Some bumps are inevitable, but don't heap on the shavings or use huge chunks. Sprinkle the colors randomly or try to make a design; it's up to you!
  4. Cut a second piece of wax paper the same size as the first and place it on top of the crayon design with the shiny, waxy side facing the crayon shavings (dull side up toward your iron).
  5. Cover the wax paper with a paper towel and turn your iron to a low heat setting.
  6. Place the heated iron on the project for a few seconds at a time (but do not move it or making ironing motions) and check your progress by looking under the paper towel. Stop and unplug your iron when the project is sufficiently melted.
  7. Enjoy your beautiful crayon stained glass as-is or cut it into a shape like a heart, leaf, star, etc. For the best effect, hang it in or near a window where it will catch the light.

This crayon painting is turned sideways, but your finished work may look similar.
This crayon painting is turned sideways, but your finished work may look similar. | Source

Melted Crayon Painting Project

This crayon project is a little more complicated and requires a few more materials, but the results are stunning and easily customizable. It's probably more suitable for older children (8 or 9 and up). Here's what you'll need:

  • old crayons (still in the paper, if possible)
  • hot glue gun and glue
  • canvas
  • hair dryer
  • newspapers, tarp, or an old bed sheet
  • masking tape (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Choose the crayon colors you want to use and the order you want to use them in. Line them up in a row so that they span the width of your canvas.
  2. Cut all the crayon pieces to the same length if you're using fragments.
  3. Use the hot glue gun to glue the crayons side by side across the top of your canvas, tips facing down. Apply hot glue in a line on the crayon's wrapper and press it gently onto the canvas. If you're using unwrapped crayons, apply the hot glue directly to the canvas and gently press each crayon into the glue. You should end up with a single strip of crayons completely covering the top few inches of your canvas.
  4. Cover the area around your canvas with newspapers, a tarp, or an old sheet to protect your floor and walls from melted crayon.
  5. Turn on your blow dryer and hold it a few inches above the tips of the crayons. Different heat settings will produce slightly different melting effects, so try experimenting to get the melted look you want.

Optional:

  1. Before you use the hair dryer, place pieces of masking tape on the canvas in areas you wish to remain free of melted crayon wax. Create letters, designs, or blocks of white space to decorate later.
  2. After melting the crayons, gently remove the masking tape.
  3. Leave the wax-free spaces white or decorate them with text, drawings, paintings, or stencils for a totally unique, customized art piece.

Use baking molds, ice cube trays, soap molds, etc for different shapes.
Use baking molds, ice cube trays, soap molds, etc for different shapes. | Source

Crayon Mold Project

This project is easy, can be done with household items, and creates new crayons to play with. Kids of all ages can help break up the crayons and arrange them in the molds, but an adult will have to do the rest. Here's what you'll need:

  • old crayon bits
  • baking mold (method 1), a soap mold (method 2), or an ice cube tray (method 2)
  • access to an oven (method 1) or stove (method 2)
  • an old saucepan (method 2)

Method 1 Instructions:

  1. Remove the papers from your old crayons and break them into small pieces. Sort them into piles of similar colors (for example, put oranges and yellows together or purples and blues).
  2. Lightly grease an oven-safe baking mold or muffin pan and place the crayon pieces into the molds. You can use silicon ice cube molds as well, and you won't need to grease them. Mine is a silicon mold with robots.
  3. Preheat your oven to 250° and put the mold with the crayon pieces in the oven. Bake your mold until the crayon pieces are completely melted. It should take about 30 minutes.
  4. Allow the crayon wax to dry completely and remove your new uniquely-shaped crayons from their molds. If you have trouble removing them, try freezing the molds, then removing the crayons.

Method 2 Instructions:

  1. If you're using a regular plastic ice cube tray, you can't put it in the oven, so this method works a little differently. You can do it this way with any type of mold, but it's a bit more work.
  2. Melt your crayon bits in an old sauce pan at a low heat. You'll need to do this separately for each color.
  3. Pour the melted crayon into the mold.
  4. Allow the crayon wax to dry completely and remove your new uniquely-shaped crayons from their molds. If you have trouble removing them, try freezing the molds, then removing the crayons.

Optional:

You can also create rainbow crayons using method 2. Follow steps 1 and 2, then pour only a thin layer of wax into each mold. Allow the first layer to dry completely and pour a second layer on top in a different color. Repeat for as many colors as you like and make the layers as thick or thin as you wish. Allow each layer to dry completely before removing your new crayons.


You can easily add splashes of color to your homemade candles by using old crayons.
You can easily add splashes of color to your homemade candles by using old crayons. | Source

Crayon Candle Making Project

I'm not going to teach you to make candles here, since this is a Hub about crayon projects, but there are lots of great applications for old crayons in homemade candle making. Candle making is a project for older children and will need a lot of adult involvement.

Methods:

  1. If you have enough of them, melted crayons can completely replace wax in your candle making process. Melt them to create dip candles, jar candles, and to use in candle molds.
  2. Melt a piece or two of an old crayon into your candle making wax to give it a rich, beautiful color. You can create new colors by melting pieces of different crayons together (like blue and yellow to make green).
  3. Include unmelted crayon chunks or shavings in your candle molds and/or jar candles by simply pouring your melted candle wax over them. Since the crayons won't be melted completely, you can use many different colors in the same candle.

Now that you've discovered what a valuable crafting ingredient old crayons can be, start hoarding them and get crafting! Have fun, be safe, and create something awesome!

Questions & Answers

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      • whittwrites profile image

        T.B Whitt 

        3 years ago from the Philly area

        These are some of the best ideas I've heard. Great Hub

      • tiffany delite profile image

        tiffany delite 

        4 years ago from united states

        thanks for the awesome hub! there are some fantastic ideas here for old crayons, and with three kiddos, we have our fair share of old crayons. now, i have some good ideas about what to do with them...blessings!

      • Sheri Faye profile image

        Sheri Dusseault 

        4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

        Great ideas and looks like fun!

      • profile image

        Liz Musa Mundi 

        4 years ago

        I want to try all of them. Great ideas!

      • trusouldj profile image

        trusouldj 

        5 years ago from Indiana

        Amazing.

      • profile image

        ignugent17 

        5 years ago

        Great ideas! Thanks for sharing. :-)

      • Angelo52 profile image

        Angelo52 

        5 years ago from Central Florida

        Nice ideas and well written article. I don't have little kids anymore but still enjoyed the reading. Perhaps my younger family members with children can make use of your ideas. I'll share this on facebook. Shared to followers and thumbs up.

      • KrisL profile image

        KrisL 

        5 years ago from S. Florida

        Fun stuff! You can also use melted crayons for "batik" . . . only one color of dye needed at the end. I did that with my Mom as a kid.

        Voted "useful" and shared.

      • tillsontitan profile image

        Mary Craig 

        5 years ago from New York

        I'm reading this hub and thinking of millions of broken crayons lying around in people's houses with nothing to do. You never really want to throw them out, but no one wants to use them. GREAT ideas Christy!

        Voted up, useful, and interesting.

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