Any elementary educator is sure to amass a collection of bits and pieces of crayons overtime. With a muffin tin you can easily melt and recycle crayons into shapes of your interest, in my case butterflies, ladybugs and bees.  I’ll most likely use them for little gifts, prizes, recycling programs and bug birthday parties or as a fundraiser.  To make them you or your students can place them in a solar oven, leave them to melt in the sun (I place them in a gardening coldframe) or pre-heat your kitchen oven to 225F.  There is no need to coat the molds in oil as the crayons pop out easily when hardened. After about 30 minutes in the solar oven, a few hours in full summer sun (especially on concrete or a hot deck) or ten minutes in a kitchen oven they are fully melted.  You can place them in the freezer to speed up the hardening process or just leave them on a counter or in the shade.  About ten minutes in the freezer and they pop right out or 25 minutes on the counter.  Be extremely careful not to spill the liquid crayon as it hardens on contact with whatever it hits and is extremely difficult to remove (from experience).

As per the Crayola website: “The basic ingredients contained in Crayola Crayons are paraffin wax and color pigment. These ingredients are the same for all Crayola Crayon colors, with some modifications in special effects crayons.  Crayola Crayons begin to soften at around 105 degrees Fahrenheit and they have a melting point between 120-147 degrees Fahrenheit. The melting point is the same for all regular Crayola Crayons, however, because of the density and amount of pigment included in various crayons, the thickness or viscosity of the melted mixture will vary”

Recycled Crayon Examples.  Many made with a solar oven.

Recycled Crayon Examples. Many made with a solar oven.

Recycled Crayon Bugs Packaged For Sale

Crayon Insects Packaged For Sale

Try melting them in a Solar Oven.  You won't have to stand around the kitchen.

Try melting them in a Solar Oven. You won’t have to stand around the kitchen.

insect crayons

Crayon bits hardening in freezer

insect crayons

Crayon bits melted in oven

insect crayons

Crayon bits melting in oven

insect crayons

Crayon bits in oven

David Alexander is author of the Buzz Into Action & Hop Into Action Science Curricula.  He specializes in making nature accessible to people and wildlife.  You can follow him at www.natureintoaction.com

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