Upcycle Your Old, Broken Crayons in 7 Simple Steps

Did you know that over 12 million crayons are made in the United States EVERY SINGLE DAY and that more than a half-million pounds of old, broken crayons are discarded every year? Tons of crayons end up in landfills as a sludgy, waxy mess. They will never biodegrade since they are made with petroleum-based wax.

broken crayons

As a mother of 3 young daughters, we have used our fair share of crayons over the past 8 years. So many of them end up broken or unwanted since they are peeling or not sharp anymore. I cringe when I think about the amount we’ve tossed into the trash in the past.

Additionally, a lot of families use crayons in other establishments such as restaurants. Have you ever considered how many crayons a restaurant gives out each day? It occurred to me this week when we went to a local pizza joint for lunch with my daughters, my friend, and her son. As always, the restaurant passed out a small box of crayons to each child when we were seated. Do you ever wonder where most of these crayons end up? My children took theirs with them, but since the crayons are cheaper quality, the girls rarely use them again once at home. So often, the crayons are destined for the trash. I wonder how many of these restaurant crayons get used only once and then end up in the landfill.

Instead of ignoring the problem, I decided to upcycle our unwanted and broken crayons to make them new and exciting again. I found that there are many silicone molds (which are better than plastic!) available in really fun shapes for kids! We started with one design and plan to expand to other exciting shapes, alphabet letters, animals, Lego figures, blocks and more! If you’d like to upcycle your crayons, I’ve included these easy steps to help you get started.

Want to save time and money finding the zero waste swaps for your family? Download the FREE guide to 9 Zero Waste Swaps Every Family Can Make!

STEPS TO UPCYCLE YOUR BROKEN CRAYONS

Step 1:

First, you’ll want to collect unwanted and broken crayons. This could be just from your household, but it could also include your friend’s, neighbors’, school’s and community’s unwanted crayons. The more crayons you keep out of the landfills, the better!

Sort your crayons by color

Step 2:

Look for oven-safe silicone crayon molds, which will be used to melt the crayons down into new shapes. I used this one to start, which was found on Amazon here.

Silicone crayon molds

Step 3:

Sort your unwanted crayons apart from the crayons that your family will continue using for coloring. You may want to take it a step further and sort them by colors, such as into groups of red, blue, yellow, green, purple, orange, black, brown and white. This will help you later when you are putting them into the molds. My daughters were so eager to help with this project!

broken crayons

Step 4:

Next, you’ll need to remove the paper wrapper from the crayons. There are a few ways to do this. If the wrappers are clinging on and not wanting to let go easily, then you can use a craft knife to cut a slit along the length of the crayon (adults only please!) or you can soak the crayons in warm water to loosen the wrappers. Soaking the crayons is a bit messier, but a good option if you have children helping out. Also, you can save the wrappers and use them as a fire starter for your fireplace or campfire. It’s another way to reuse the entire crayon and keep them out of landfills.

broken cryaons

Step 5:

Break the crayons into smaller pieces and place them into the silicone crayon molds. This is the fun part of designing your new crayons. Get creative and invite your children to help!

Step 6:

Place molds on a baking sheet, and bake the crayons in the oven. Follow the directions that come with your specific mold, but generally speaking, it should just take about 15 minutes at 250 degrees to melt the crayons into new ones. Then, let them cool before removing them from the molds. You can speed up the process by placing them in the refrigerator or freezer.

Step 7:

Finally, have fun using the new crayons! These make great gifts and can also be donated to schools, park districts, and other community organizations. The sky is the limit!

broken crayons

My daughters loved helping with this project! I was hearing about it all the way up until bedtime. My youngest daughter, Charlotte’s last words before the bedroom door closed were, “I really had fun making new crayons today!” I felt encouraged knowing that they are having fun, while also learning a valuable lesson about upcycling, reducing our waste, and finding creative ways to make something old into new!

If you know a family with young children, please share this post with them! Let’s all work together and make small changes over time that can lead to big changes in our environment!

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broken crayons

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Want to save time and money finding the zero waste swaps for your family? Download the FREE guide to 9 Zero Waste Swaps Every Family Can Make!

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2 Comments

  1. Caitlin
    April 2 / 11:19 AM

    These are super cute! Good job girlies!

    • Rebekah
      April 2 / 11:34 AM

      Thanks for the love, Caitlin!

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