Don’t throw those old crayons away!
Kindergarten and first grade teachers have a LOT of old, broken crayons hanging around!
I hate waste of any kind, so for the past 5+ years I’ve made a habit of melting them down at least twice a year to make fun shaped crayons to give to my class as gifts, and they’ve been a huge hit! I’d usually make mostly alphabet crayons with a few other shapes thrown in and distribute them with either a little notebook or a pad of post-its and a note that said ‘Have fun reading and writing during your vacation!’
Alphabet crayons are also awesome for word practice-
one of my most popular word work centers was a tub of alphabet shaped crayons. The students would spell the words with the crayons themselves, then use them to write the corresponding letter on their recording sheet. All the searching for the right letters really helped them focus on spelling words!
Years of making shaped crayons in bulk has really forced me to seek out and find the most efficient method.
Silicone molds are a must because, unlike plastic ones, you can pop them straight in the oven. The first time I tried this project I did the whole melting-them-on-the-stove-in-a-double-boiler thing, but never again!
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To make crayons, you will need;
-The box of old, broken crayons I know you have. Crayola crayons are the best here- a lot of the really cheap brands don’t melt properly.
-A tub or mixing bowl of some sort
-Baking sheets and aluminum foil or parchment paper
-Silicone molds. Here are some of my favorites;
Also… I don’t have these sets (um… yet), but in case it’s your kids’ thing, I want you to know they exist;
Now, how to make your crayons into awesome shapes;
The first step is peeling the crayons.
Here’s what I’ve discovered (after many years of messed up fingernails!)… soak them in warm water first! Seriously, after a while in the ‘bath,’ those wrappers just glide right off! You might have to replace the warm water a few times to loosen up the toughest ones. This step is really fun for kid helpers to participate in. Or you might just want to chill in front of the TV at the end of the day with a tub of crayons to peel and a favorite beverage. You know, however it works for you.
We made our lives easier by putting out some napkins so we could sort by color as we peeled- that in itself is a great activity for young kids!
Prepare your baking trays;
Line them with aluminum foil or parchment paper and lay out your molds. Trust me, if you’re ever going to use those trays for food again, you don’t want crayon wax on them! (I have designated molds for crayon making too, by the way. Cleaning them isn’t worth the effort.) Make sure the edges of the molds are contained within the tray in case some crayon overflows- you don’t want wax in your oven!
Once all your crayons are peeled, break them into the smallest possible pieces (kid helpers LOVE that step!) and load them into the molds- as much as you can fit!
It’s okay if the broken crayons stick up a little, since they’ll condense quite a bit as they melt. I like to mix a few similar colors to get a marbled effect, but you could mix all sorts of colors for a wacky tie-dye look or only use the same color if you want them to be solid. It’s up to you!
Bake the crayons at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes.
Take them out when they appear to be completely liquid.
(Obviously, this part should be done by an adult.)j
Let them cool!
Once they’re cooled off a little, you can pop them in the freezer for an hour or to really solidify.
Then it’s time to carefully peel back the molds to pop them out!
And there they are! You’re ready to draw, write, learn, create! These things are perfect for literacy centers, gifts, party favors, toddlers, stocking stuffers, homework… you name it!
How would you use these? Any shapes you’d be especially excited to make? Let me know in the comments!
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