The (free) “Recycling” Craft Everyone Should Do

I tend to be a cheap crafter when it comes to kids crafts. Though, I will never deny my addiction to imported papers and some of the best gadgets out there… there is something to be said for making what you already have on hand work for you.For years, I have been looking at the posts for crafts with kids, and how to utilize the everyday stuff you have around the house, but I tend to forget them as soon as I look at them. (I really need to start utilizing the bookmark method in my browser more )

So, the other morning during school vacation week, we were up and at ’em way too early. Like we have eaten breakfast, gotten dressed, diapers changed, teeth brushed, books read and it’s only 9:15am early. Standing in the kitchen, I looked at Sophia and thought about what we could do that day. In a moment of (relatively uncommon) clarity, I told her to go around the house and get all of her crayon containers (yes, we have several) together. That took at total of about 4 1/2 minutes.

Note, we are at about 9:19 now. So, the next thing I declared we would do, is go through all of the crayon containers and pick out all of the broken ones… 6 minutes later – all set. (this is going WAY too fast).  Now, peel all of the labels off (while mommy finishes her coffee) This portion did take a bit longer – about 10 whole minutes. Then we broke all of the broken pieces into about 1/2″ to 1″ pieces, and mixed them up into a bowl. At the same time, we also multi-tasked to keep the cat from eating the paper labels.

Now, fearing for my muffin tin, I used paper muffin cup liners, and we placed the crayons in the bottom – about 2 crayons deep, just until we couldn’t see the bottom of the cup, then we preheated the oven to 250 and we cooked the crayons for about 18 minutes. The smell was fantastic…

Now, I am a pretty literal person. I have seen these around forever, and ever. The fun colorful blotches – so fun! Well, ours looked like a murky mess. But I took them out and let them cool just a minute or two. Once they weren’t completely liquid, I carefully pulled the cups out and set them on a cooling rack. They only took about another 5 minutes or so to harden. I pulled the cup liners off, and aside from the murky “top” and the uncomfortable resemblance to a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, thanks to the liners, when I turned them over, the colors were fun, vibrant and perfectly “blotchy”

Now – did I remember to photograph any of this process to show on here? Nope. My moment of clarity was obviously limited – if you remember, I didn’t finish my coffee until step 3.  In the initial batch, we used a mixture of Crayolas and a few other throw ins from kits we have used over time, free crayons from restaurants etc.

A short trip to the dollar store, and we did another round. This round was made using the completely inadequate for actual coloring dollar store crayons, (am I the only crayon snob?) and I even splurged on dollar store muffin tins.  The only thing I did differently when I used the dedicated muffin tins from the dollars store, was I did not use a liner. When they were hard, I flipped the tin upside down on a towel, and placed an ice cube on each cup, and after a minute or two, I heard the crayons dropping out of the tin.

What did I learn from the two batches?  Here you go:

  • Both Crayolas, and dollar store crayons smell equally gross when melting
  • Dollar store Crayons take almost twice as long to melt, so set your timer for 20 minutes and then check in two minute intervals
  • Dollar store crayons are MUCH easier to peel
  • Using muffin tin liners does not effect the melting time
  • They look terrible at first, but just like the other side of the pillow – much cooler when flipped over.
  • And most importantly – DO NOT SPILL THE MELTED CRAYONS ON YOUR HAND – OW!!!

These were so easy and fun to make, and what I liked most, is that we used up all of the crayons that otherwise would have been thrown out. Even starting from scratch with a new box of crayons and two dedicated muffin tins, the whole project only cost 3.00 – $1.00 on the crayons and 2.00 for two new (for crayon use only) muffin tinsAnd for those of you keeping track – we were completely finished and using the first batch by 9:58 in the morning.

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