Sunday, April 24, 2011

Earth Day Activity - Recycling Crayons

In honour of Earth Day the girls and I (plus my nephew) worked on a little project to recycle our broken crayons and turn them into new usable crayons. as it was our first time I searched the net and found several different tutorials then I came up with a plan. I gathered everything we needed. Mini muffin tin, cooking spray, all of the broken crayons and some cups to help sort the colours a bit.
When everyone came home we started work. I saw many different ways to peel crayons online; using a mini craft guillotine, putting them in ice water and then just gold old fashion peeling. Since my children can usually peel the paper off in 10 seconds flat - we went with the old fashioned way. Since some of these were older and broken in bits on the inside it was a bit harder to peel the paper so Mom did the tricky ones.

Nana showed up with lollipops so they were multi-tasking!
As we peeled the crayons we kind of sorted them into colours. Blues & purples, red, pink, oranges, yellows, browns etc. This was a tip relating to making layered crayons but since there were several children all wanting to participate it was easier to share the colours this way as they created their new crayon combos.

Next I sprayed the muffin tin with cooking spray. They all passed around the cups and filled the mini muffin tin with their broken crayon bits.

When they were done I put them in the oven at 275F for 7 minutes. A few weren't quite melted enough so I added 2 minutes and then took the tray out to cool. They were supposed to just pop out when you flip over the tin and tap the back. Well some did and some didn't. I was able to run the edge of a sharp knife on the inside and pop most of the stuck crayons out. I think the problem was that some had not cooled off enough so I know to leave it even longer next time. The children were impatient so I guess I caved in when they seemed alright.
Here are our best ones.
 (oops shadow!)
A few of them broke when I tried to wrangle them out of the tray with the knife. I think the best choice would be to use a silicone triangle shaped tray next time. It's probably easier to coax them out of the silicone tray and the triangle shape is probably easier for colouring. All in all the kids had fun, we learned a new way to recycle and we used up lots of broken crayons that were just in the way!

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