When you have a toddler who loves to color, the life cycle of crayons can feel a bit like the movie Groundhog Day. Wake up, open a new box of crayons, watch your kid break them all, rinse, and repeat.
Whether they’ve got an obsession with standing on top of crayons… or they just keep snapping them to illustrate their growing strength… your little ones can’t seem to keep those little sticks of wax intact— and, while they’re not all that expensive, a new box every few weeks can add up.
So, what’s a budget-friendly parent to do? Outside of sending your toddlers to military preschool to learn art supply discipline, there’s one easy solution to your broken crayon debacle: make new ones!
Making New Crayons is Easy!
If you’re a working parent or have multiple offspring, don’t panic. Your time is precious, but you can complete this task in a matter of minutes and, chances are, your efforts won’t wind up as Pinterest fails. The most time-consuming part of this process is peeling the crayons, but if your toddlers are like most, they’ll already have peeled half of them for you. Break your crayon creation down into a simple 4-step process.
Step 1: Peel the Broken Crayons
If your crayons are relatively new, the wrappers should peel easily and come off in big strips. Having trouble? An X-ACTO knife can help. So can an older sibling!
Step 2: Place Broken Crayons in a Mold
The best molds are silicone ice cube trays in fun shapes, which can easily be purchased online. Stars, hearts, ABCs, and numbers will all work well.
While it may be tempting to try to “mix” colors like red and white or blue and yellow, keep in mind that crayons are made of wax and will melt just like candles into a liquefied pool. The result may not match your vision, so try to keep like colors together.
Step 3: Melt the Crayons
Want the fast and easy method? Use your microwave! Start in one-minute increments as microwave strength may vary. After about five minutes total, you should see a total crayon meltdown. You may need to turn the silicone tray or use a toothpick to mix crayons that aren’t melting as quickly.
Remember that the silicone will not only be hot, but is jiggly by nature. Using oven mitts and placing the mold on top of a generic paper plate (without a design — some of those will melt!) or a microwave-safe dish will help ensure that you do not give yourself an unintended paraffin wax treatment (read: burn).
Step 4: The Deep Freeze
Move the silicone tray of melted crayons to the freezer for 20-30 minutes, or until the wax is solid. Then pop them out of the mold and voilà: your kids will have new crayons in no time!
Grab some broken crayons and a mold and try it for yourself – and be sure to email some pix to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.