Upcycling Old Crayons

Written by Charissa, Contributing Writer

My mom says that I can pinch a penny ‘til it squeals. I’ve always taken this as quite a compliment! But my frugality is not just about saving money, I just really hate wasting things. If I paid for it, stored it, cared for it, used it and enjoyed it, I’ll keep it until it just will not be able to function anymore.

I won’t run out and buy another food processor because the new one on the market can also fold my socks (do I really need a sock folder?). I also won’t buy an electric version of something when I already own the mechanical version of that same thing, nor will I throw away scraps of paper, twist ties, bread bags, Pringles cans or broken crayons. I like to repurpose these little odd ball items, or just give them some attention so that they can find new life in our home.

Much of homemaking is about stewardship. From the twist ties to the souls of my children, I’ve got a lot to manage and the Lord expects me to manage it all in a manner worthy of a servant to the King.

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much,” seems menial to consider the scraps, but it’s my calling to be faithful in all that I’m given. Joseph was a prisoner and then he was second to no one but Pharaoh all because of his faithful service to the Lord worked out through his diligent service and stewardship.

So, how did I tie in our lesson about Joseph being a good steward to us being good stewards with what we have around our house? Let me introduce...

Molten Crayon Madness

Today, we tackled the crayon bin. Here is a fun, hands on, kid friendly project that my son and I worked on. First we sorted out the crayons that were still in good shape and moved them out of harm’s way.

Then we unwrapped all the remaining snapped crayons and broke them up into bitty pieces, between ¼ inch and 1 inch in length. I used a mini-muffin tin and I’m sure there are other low temp baking pans or trays that would work as well.

We dropped out broken crayon bits into the muffin cups and tried to fill them completely. We made some with similar color schemes, putting blues and greens in one cup, but sometimes we mixed completely clashing colors in the same cup, giving us a variety of crayon pucks in the end.

I also thought it would be fun to stick a dime or two in the batch to make these discs a bit more interesting to my 6 year old boy. He’s not much of a colorer so I thought I’d give him a bit of incentive, not to mention it had a more “sciency” feel this way. BUT it’s also a good reminder of how we were good stewards of what God gave us and that He rewards those that are faithful with little.

Once we had cannibalized all of the crayons, we heated the oven to 225 degrees F and baked them for about 25 minutes, at this point, they became beautiful molten wax, just starting to swirl in the heat.

I pulled them from the oven, let them cool and within 15-20 minutes they were firm enough to pop out of the pan. I did not have to prep the pan in any way. When the wax cools completely, it will contract from the side of the pan and with very little coaxing, pop right out of the well.

My boy was as pleased as Picasso with the results and colored more this afternoon than he has in the last 2 months! And now we have an object lesson about stewardship, starting with Joseph’s many colored coat, and ending with multicolored crayons with a reward hidden inside. Have fun!

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About Charissa Ragsdale

Charissa lives in the creative chaos of photography, crochet, cooking, crafting, natural birth advocacy, blogging, homeschooling, gardening, window shopping and since she loves trying out new stuff, it's a sure thing that the list will grow longer in time.

Though there is much joy and fruit in all of this, it comes with it's own Madness and Charissa knows that to get through it, she must depend on the Grace and Mercy of a Creator God whose Love knows no bounds.

Charissa is journaling all of the Madness on her blog Mad Mad me and her hope is that through sharing and showing the work of her hands and the joys and trials of her heart, others will be encouraged to embrace the Beautiful Chaos that comes with Family and learning to Love and Create.


Belley Family said...

Interesting, witty blog post! AND a good reminder about being good stewards! Do you happen to have Scottish roots? I do, and it rather drives some of my friends crazy! After our ladies' tea, I would rush to gather the plastic table cloths (until I convinced them to buy linen ones) before they made it to the garbage can. Instead of wasting them, we used them for drop sheets for all kinds of crafts! And why throw away those egg cartons? If you can't use them for starting seeds, you should at least recycle them! Just because others take their families to fancy restaurants regularly, it doesn't mean that the eleven of us have to follow suit. We can regularly make our own favorite food and play games at home. And what about those butter papers? We keep them, folded neatly with the greasy side in, tucked away in an easy-to-reach compartment in the fridge. They make excellent "greasers" for cookie sheets and cake pans. Most of my ideas come from the way I was raised. We ALWAYS saved wrapping paper off our gifts, the waxed bags inside the cereal boxes, aluminum foil, and so forth.

(By the way, while my mum is the most frugal person I know, she is also one of the most generous! She is always making muffins and loaves to share with the elderly and ill, gives lovely gifts to all who serve her in the bank, at the hairdressers, etc, and helps out anyone who seems to need assistance!)

Thank you again for the fun and thrify crayon idea! We will have to try that! said...

Since I had a sneak peak at this post :) we are in the middle of the project and my daughter was SO excited to see your finished product Charissa. I hope to finish them up today. (which btw, peeling crayons is a great way to keep your kids busy!) :) I was surprised how long they kept at it. Loved the lesson about Joseph as well. Great ideas!

Charissa said...

Civil War and More-
When we are frugal, we are able to be more generous! That's the story of Joseph right? Save for another day and God somehow takes what we save and allows us to give!

Your mother sounds like a wonderful woman, an inspiration and a blessing to everyone she meets. And I'm sure her frugality (and yours) gets poked fun at but it is also an appreciated skill. Do you have a blog where you share your wonderful Scottish Frugality?

Anonymous said...

I just made some of these last week and found that an easier way to unwrap the crayon was to take an exacto knife and slice through the wrapper. This makes the paper come off easier.

Hidden Treasures said...

Ok, not kidding - I was so thinking about doing this very thing last night, but I was afraid I'd ruin my pan. I love to save as much as possible and I was thinking something like this would be fun to do in different hearts for Valentine's Day or Easter Eggs for Easter....

Thank you so much for sharing!!


Anonymous said...

I will definitely try this today! My youngest is a little under two and loves to color BUT he constantly is breaing the crayons n his vigor. I've been so frusterated with the bin of broken pieces. I especially like this idea because they will fit well in a toddlers hand and break lss easily.
Thank you for the post!

Unknown said...

These sound great for little boys PERIOD! Mine loves coloring - but he's a boy, so he breaks stuff. This would make things much easier for him without having to buy those huge crayons.
Too bad I've thrown out most of our bits - maybe I can nab some from the kindergarten or church . . . said...

Ours are in the oven right now! :) Can't wait. So many times I've just pitched the broken ones, but now I'll start collecting them in a mason jar. :) Even my 2 year old got in on the action, b/c he was actually encouraged to peel the paper off this time. :) He worked so seriously on it--it was adorable. Thanks again, Charissa!

Alaina Frederick of Dinker and Giggles said...

What a beautiful way to work God into a 'typical' craft project. I've been wanting to do this with the boys and have looked at some of the fun shaped tin pans to have crayons of all colors, shapes and sizes - just like humans!

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