Here in the UK a staggering 100 million crayons are thrown away every year. Most wax crayons are made of paraffin wax, a petroleum based material which won’t break down in either compost heaps or landfill sites.
But what to do with those annoying little nubs of crayon that are too small to use anymore? In today’s guide we’ll show you how to make unique rainbow crayons and keep using them for longer. These recycled crayons make great gifts too.
Follow the step by step instructions or watch the video tutorial – and don’t forget to send us a picture if you give this a go!
Step 1: Collect as many crayon stubs as you can – if you feel like scaling this up you could even invite other people in your school, nursery, or local area to give their crayon scraps to you and receive a fancy rainbow crayon in return.
Step 2: Remove any paper labels and chop your crayons into little chunks. This bit is probably a bit for the grown ups. Our little squirrels really enjoyed sorting the chopped bits into colour groups.
Step 3: Pile your crayon bits into a silicone ice cube tray or mould – we found this heart shaped one for 80p in a charity shop. You could also use mini muffin cases.
Pile the crayons up above the level of the mould as they’ll reduce in size as they melt together. It’s helpful to put your mould on a baking tray to make it easier to take in and out of the oven.
Don’t throw away the crayon dust! A mixture of crumbs of all the different colours makes amazing crayons too.
Step 4: Bake your crayons at 120 C/ 240F for 15 minutes. Take a peek – if you can still see any big lumps then leave them for a minute or two more then remove them from the oven.
Step 5: Once cool pop you crayons out of the mould and enjoy all the unique patterns and colour combos!
Are there any alternatives to paraffin wax crayons?
Yes – if you’re not vegan then beeswax crayons are lovely to use and have beautiful bright colours – Okonorm and Stokmar are two brands to look out for. Soy crayons are also an option. Look for brands with a transparent soy production chain.
If wax crayons aren’t recyclable then what about paper with crayon drawings?
Technically no – same for paintings (although coloured pencil and felt pen drawings should be ok to recycle). One paper recycling company I spoke to said it would depend on the amount of wax on the sheet. Could you cut any paint or crayon pictures that you don’t plan to keep into gift tags, or use the reverse for scrap paper?
I want to recycle my crayons but don’t really fancy making these – what can I do?
Pop your crayons in the post to Moray Melts who will put them to good use.
We’d love to know if you decide to give this activity a try – comment below or tag us on social @bemoresquirrel. If you’d like to receive all our summer resources in your inbox each week then you can sign up here.
Would you like us to come and run an eco make and do activity with your group? Alternatively we can provide your team with training – online or in person – to run your own activities. Get in touch using the form below.