Art from broken crayon, a collection of ways to upcycle broken crayon bits
Like most people who spend time with children, I have a plethora of broken crayons floating around in my art supply bins. Instead of throwing them away we generally opt to melt them down and recycle them into something a little more fun to use. Interestingly, there are a variety of ways to use these little gems. Here are some you might not have tried yet.
Sun Catchers: Shred crayons with an old cheese grater and melt them with an iron between two sheets of waxed paper. When the project is cool cut it into an interesting shape and hang in the window as a sun catcher.
Fire starters: these little fellows make perfect campfire starters. To make, consider wrapping crayon pieces in waxed paper or regular scrap paper. Additionally melted crayon wax can be dribbled onto twigs, paper scraps, or dried seedpods. Have children collect burnable items and place in container lined with aluminum foil. Melt crayons over heat in a tin can for easy clean up. Have a grown up pour melted crayon over fire starter materials.
Starter crayons: when working with chubby little hands it's great to have large, easy to use crayons on hand. They are rather easy to make in the oven with aluminum muffin wrappers and muffin tins. Starter crayons can be made with all of the same color crayons, or multi colored.
Patterned paper: Another fun project for melted crayons requires the use of a hotplate or portable grille. I personally prefer a George Forman grille, lined with aluminum foil. Place the crayon pieces on top of the foil and watch them melt. As crayon melts, cover with pieces of sturdy white paper for a moment to allow the paper to pick up the color and carefully lift the newly colored paper off quickly with point of a pencil or fork. Use caution as the grille tends to be hot!
If pages curl up on the sides (like ours did), simply place the patterned paper between two sheets of waxed paper and flatten briefly with hot iron. After ironing place under heavy books and let cool for a short period.
Patterned paper part 2: another option for patterned paper is to shred crayons (o
r crunch them up with a mallet, which is rat
her enjoyable) and sprinkle them out on the paper. After spreading them around melt them with a blow drier or embossing gun until they melt. Large pieces may roll around but can be held down with screwdriver or fork.
Using the blow drier method, children can manipulate the melted crayon by blowing it around with straws, making it drip down the page, or once cooled , they can etch designs into it using a toothpick.