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   Tips for collecting, peeling, and making crayons Posted by Chica 
August 12, 2009 
Chica
 

You guys have seen our project post about recycling old, broken crayons into new shapes, right? Well, Jo and I are planning on giving a bunch of those recycled crayons to some kids at a local craft fair this weekend, so last weekend we found ourselves making a lot of them. And I do mean a LOT! Along the way, we learned a few new tips that I thought I’d share with you, in case you’re planning on doing some bulk crayon processing yourself!

Tip 1: Getting a bunch of crayons

peeling crayonsIdeally, you’re doing this project because your kids have a bunch of broken crayons that they don’t want to use anymore, but that you want to recycle into something new. However, these rainbow striped crayons that we make are so fun, that you might want to make them all the time, which means you’ll need more crayons.

Kid-friendly restaurants are a great source of crayons, because they usually give two or three to each child diner, and the kids always leave them behind on the table. Take a coffee can to a restaurant and ask the manager or hostess if they’d mind collecting abandoned crayons for you. They’ll probably be happy to help, especially if you’re collecting for a school or non-profit.

Another great source for inexpensive crayons is a large store like Walmart, during “back to school” shopping season. You can often get a 24-pack of Crayola crayons for as little as 25 cents. That will go a long way towards making fun new crayons!

Tip 2: Peeling the crayons

In order to make enough striped crayons to hand out to all the kids, we ended up having to peel something like 750 crayons. This was not, as you can imagine, an enticing task. We tried soaking a few of them in water to loosen the paper, but that didn’t give very good results at all. Then Jo’s husband, in all his brilliance, came up with a great idea for peeling the wrappers off the crayons.

His idea required a very specific tool, a Fiskars 12″ rotary paper trimmer. He took the black, square, cutting mat “stick” out of the trimmer, and popped in two crayons to partially fill the space. These two crayons stayed in there the entire time. Then he put a third crayon on top, lowered the trimming arm, and gave it a slice. The crayon’s label got sliced perfectly, and we could remove the entire thing with ease. Oh, this saved us SO much time!

peeling crayonspeeling crayons

peeling crayonspeeling crayons

Tip 3: Have more than one mold

Jo and I thought we could get by with just two molds, each making 10 crayons. We soon realized, though, that most of the time on this craft would be spent waiting for wax to harden, which was quite frustrating. We really wished that we’d picked up a few more silicone ice cube trays the last time we were at IKEA. They’re inexpensive and would’ve made the project go so much faster!

Tip 4: Cleaning the crayons and molds

Face it, dealing with melted wax is a messy job. There were wax drips everywhere by the time we were done. And cleaning the molds was no day at the beach, either. Then Jo remembered that she had a bottle of candle wax remover tucked away in her pantry. She pulled it out and we found that it worked miracles! We were able to clean everything when we were done, and it was a life saver, for sure. If you don’t have any wax remover on hand, you can also give Vaseline petroleum jelly a try. It has the same petroleum base as the remover does, but in milder form. As I told you about last year, Vaseline is great for removing crayon from hard surfaces (but wax remover is even better!)

Your turn!

Have you got any tips to share with us about dealing with crayons, wax, and the mess they involve? Or any fun examples of homemade melted crayons? If so, please let us know in the comments!

P.S. If you’ve got leftover “ugly” colors of crayons that you don’t know what to use for, check out our post on making fire starters for your campfire!

15 comments so far:

  1. Shell said: (August 13th, 2009 at 1:50 am)

    I tried this a long time ago, melting the crayons in an old mini muffin tin and then waiting for them to harden. My “muffin crayons” ended up with a clear waxy top on them – I’ve read since it was probably due to the crayons being “washable”. Something to look out for.

  2. Chica said: (August 13th, 2009 at 7:09 am)

    Great tip, Shell. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Crea said: (March 1st, 2010 at 11:58 pm)

    Use a blow dryer to soften spilled wax on just about any surface, then just wipe up with a paper towel!
    You can also pour a little boiling water on, or inside containers, then soak up and wipe with a paper towel.

  4. Deb said: (April 23rd, 2010 at 9:08 am)

    Soaking the crayons in ice water allows the paper tubes to slide right off!

  5. Rotary Paper Trimmer said: (November 16th, 2010 at 10:58 am)

    Great tips! Loved the one with the paper cutter to make it easier to peel off the paper. Also, never thought of using candle wax remover but, duh!

  6. Rotary Paper Trimmer said: (December 10th, 2010 at 11:02 am)

    This is a great idea, and an even better one to give some away to kids at a local craft fair!

  7. The Outlaw Mom said: (February 25th, 2011 at 7:00 pm)

    I know this post is a two years old now, but I had to comment: the best “how to peel a crayon tip” is have a 2 year old do it! Mine does it in 30 seconds flat! Seriously – she can do one big box of crayons in about 15 minutes! Thanks for the post because I’ve been wondering what to do with all of our peeled, half-broken crayons!

  8. Chica said: (February 26th, 2011 at 2:26 pm)

    Hahaha! Nice trick, Outlaw Mom!

  9. Boom boom pow said: (March 12th, 2011 at 7:47 pm)

    i have 11 and I love this webstie even though i feel wierd when I stay all afternoon looking at this website and making all of your cool stuff. I certainly love you guys and I really would like you to post more recycable ideas and crafts because thats what really inspires me. Thanks

  10. Jo said: (March 12th, 2011 at 11:32 pm)

    We are so happy to be able to inspire you! We’ll try and come up with more upcycling ideas for you, promise!

  11. Julie said: (April 7th, 2011 at 1:57 pm)

    I tried using IKEA’s silicone ice trays last year for Valentine crayons for my daughter class and it was a mess, but the Wilton Silicon baking cups peeled off beautifully with almost nothing to clean afterwards.

  12. Hayley said: (December 1st, 2011 at 9:54 pm)

    I bought a snowflake silicone muffin mold at target for $2.50. I am making my son’s class snowflake crayons as Christmas gifts. Baked for 10 minutes at 230 degrees, then put in freezer to cool.

  13. Aisha said: (March 12th, 2012 at 5:37 am)

    Hi. :) Normally the molds available are of different shapes like stars, moons, etc. Can’t we get the molds that let us make crayons with their original ‘pencil’ form? You also referred to sites like amazon.com etc. When I checked out the sites the products cannot be shipped in India. Its difficult to buy products online. Can you tell any site which ships products to India too?

  14. sonia biaggio said: (April 23rd, 2012 at 10:35 am)

    Ringrazio anticipatamente Chica and Jo per il loro lavoro veramente interessante e fantasioso, e suggerisco di usare i pastelli per dipingere con la tecnica dell’ Encaustic. Io l’ho fatto e i quadri finiti erano molto carini. Complimenti per il vostro favoloso sito, e buon lavoro. Ciao

  15. Dee Carrington said: (July 31st, 2013 at 3:48 pm)

    I really like this site and me and my sister have enjoyed ‘upcycling’ old crayons. We’ve made star one in blue, black and yellow for my birthday (I’m going to be 14) and pink, purple and red hearts for her’s (She’s going to be 9) It’s been a great way to spend are 6 weeks off and mum and dad are really happy that we’ve saved them money.

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