Friday, June 7, 2013

Sometimes it just doesn't work....

Every year I look at the broken crayons that have accumulated in my crayon baskets and feel a bit of guilt and I collect them and toss them into the trash.  After seeing a few pins on pinterest about recycling crayons, I felt it was time to give it a try. I was especially drawn to a pin where a solar oven had been used to melt the crayons down and felt this was the best approach to take.  I have a couple of metal carry out containers that I thought would be perfect to create a solar oven and picked up a couple of muffin tins to use for the shape.  I wanted a clever shape but couldn't locate one so settled for basic round openings.

First I had soaked the crayons in cold water to release the paper wrappers.  This works pretty well but is not 100%.  Thankfully, I had a few 5th grade students who had finished their projects and were looking for some busy work.  They eagerly took care of removing the papers from the crayons and actually saved the good papers for a collage project they have in mind for this summer.

With all the compartments in the muffin tin filled, I found a sunny location outside of the classroom on a humid 90 degree day, put the lid on my makeshift oven and hoped to melt lots of crayons.

Well,  6 hours later, the crayons had only softened.  I uncovered the oven and exposed the crayons to direct sunlight for another hour.  There was a little progress but not enough to qualify the process for use in a 45 minute class period.  I pulled out my toaster oven and in minutes had achieve the goal of melted crayons.  They cooled relatively quickly and popped right out of the tins.

Admittedly, I was disappointed.  I had great expectations for a wonderful class with kindergarten where we could witness some science in action and walk away with a re purposed crayon to take home.  I do highly recommend attempting this in the core classroom where more time can be devoted to the process but just don't see how I can really make it work in the Art Room.


  1. I've also seen this on Pinterest and was hoping it would be a way to use up all the old crayons - perhaps to melt into warm/cool moulds that could be used for other projects (eg coloring pottery before painting with acrylic - another pinterest idea). Thanks for your insight - I'm now thinking I might recycle them myself out of class time.

    1. Put them in a toaster oven and it worked quickly. I made them warm/cool like you mentioned. They turned out great and the kids were thrilled. Each kindergartner took home their own crayon,would hav e thought it was a birthday gift! I brought a big bag of crayons home this weekend to finish them up for use with texture plates next year.