Art and craft ideas often involve the least likely of ingredients and materials. One such example is crayons, which can be melted to make a thick colored wax. Read on to learn different crayon melting techniques and what you can make out of the wax.
Coloring with paint can get messy. With color pencils, it can get artistic. But there’s nothing like coloring with a box of crayons. From ages 3 and up, crayons are a very kid-friendly and fun coloring tool. Plus they can be used in different ways to make all kinds of art and craft. Crayon shavings are a popular craft idea but what about melting old crayons to make new crayons and other art? Melting crayons not only allows you to reuse old broken crayons, but also to create crayon wax which can be molded into different shapes and patterns.
Three Ways to Melt Crayons
Melting crayons is meant to be a spectator craft for kids, as the melting crayon wax can be very hot and dangerous. Adult supervision and help is necessary.
● You can use broken crayons, crayon stubs and nubs, crayons with broken tips, or new crayons.
● Collect your crayon pieces and peel the label paper off them. You can soak the crayon nubs in cool water for 20 minutes to make the peeling easier.
● Break the crayons into small chunks using your fingers, or you can place the crayon pieces in a plastic bag and smash them with a hammer.
● Mix different colors together to make a rainbow-color crayon, that will color in different shades.
● For a pure shade of color, such as a block yellow or red, group crayons of the same color to melt together.
● The way you place the crayons before they are melted, makes a difference in their color. For example, place a layer of black crayons, then white crayons over it, so when it melts, you have a layered black-white crayon.
● Different crayon brands have different melting temperatures and post-melting textures, so you can group crayons of the same brand together for melting. The Crayola brand seems particularly well-suited for this purpose.
How to melt crayons in a traditional oven
● Preheat the oven to 275° F.
● You will need a muffin tin to mold the crayons as they melt. Use a mini-muffin tin for small-sized crayons.
● You can line the muffin tin with waxed paper muffin cups or aluminum foil.
● Alternately you can spray a little non-stick spray or vegetable oil in the tray molds, so the crayons will not stick to the tin.
● Fill each muffin cup in the tin with crayons. Make sure the crayons fit inside the brim of the cup.
● Depending on how fast they melt, you will need to bake the crayons for 5-10 minutes.
● Make sure the room is well-ventilated, as while melting, crayons can release an odor.
● Once the crayons melt, you can turn off the oven.
● Take the tin out of the oven, using a mitt (it’s very hot), let the tin cool to room temperature.
● To quickly cool the tin, place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
● Once the tin is cooled, pop out the crayons on a soft surface (if they fall on a hard surface, they may crack).
● Let the crayons cool, then they are ready for use!
◆ Avoid using the crayon melting muffin tin to cook food. Keep this tin solely for crayon melting.
◆ If you want to reuse the muffin tin urgently, wash the wax off and then wash the tin thoroughly in warm water mixed with soap.
◆ You can use a metal muffin tin, cookie molds, silicone baking molds or disposable bread pans for melting the crayons.
How to melt crayons on the stove
● You will need empty and clean aluminum cans, such as coffee cans or soft drink cans. Cut the tops of the cans off.
● The number of cans needed depends on how many crayons you want to melt and how they are sorted.
● Fill each can halfway with the crayons.
● Place the cans in a large saucepan, filled with 1 inch of water, enough to cover the bottom of the cans.
● The crayons can melt at different rates, use a small wooden rod to stir the crayons in the cans.
● Once the crayons have melted, carefully remove the cans from the saucepan.
● The melted wax should be poured into a mold or form to be shaped. You can use candy or cookie molds, ice cube trays or muffin trays to form the crayons.
● The cans should be cool to touch but the wax will be hot. Gently pour the melted crayon wax into the mold as desired.
● Leave the mold undisturbed for the wax to harden and form. Once they are set, you can pop them out and they are ready for use.
How to melt crayons in the microwave
● For this method to melt crayons, you need to use a microwaveable container, that the crayons will not stick to. Baby food jars, microwave-friendly trays or even paper caps will do.
● Place the crayon stubs and pieces in the container.
● Set the temperature of the microwave to “high” or “warm” and heat the container for 4-6 minutes.
● The crayons should melt into wax. Use an oven mitt to handle the container and pour the melted wax into candy molds or a muffin tray.
● To cool and set the wax, freeze the mold for 20 minutes. Then remove and pop crayons out.
Craft Ideas with Melted Crayon Wax
Melted crayon wax is a very flexible and innovative material to make different objects. You’d be surprised at the amount of crafting ideas and activities this waxy ingredient can be used in. Below are a few ideas:
To make the melted crayons decorative, experiment by using different colored crayons in different arrangements. Gold and metallic colors are unique colors to use. Or use radical color combinations, such as pink and brown crayons melted together. You can sprinkle fine glitter over the crayons, before they melt, for glittery crayons.
Crayon wax is malleable enough to be set in any shape, as long as there is a firm mold for it. Muffin tins will provide a flat, disc shape. Silicone ice cube trays offer a variety of molding shapes like hearts, crosses, stars etc. So get a unique molding tray or form and pour the melted crayon wax into it, to make differently shaped crayons. How about brightly-colored crayon hearts for Valentine’s Day or dinosaur crayons for the kids? You can even change the size of the crayons, by making extra chunky fat crayons or extra slim crayons.
You can melt crayons with a hair dryer to make a very artistic wall hanging. Use new, full crayons straight out of the box for this craft. Arrange the crayons together in a rainbow, pink to light red to dark red to light blue and so on. Peel off the labels. Use a glue gun to fix the crayons to the top of a canvas, coloring tips pointing downwards. Keep the canvas outdoors for 10 minutes in the hot sun, tilted at a slight angle. Then bring it indoors, turn on the hair dryer and use it over the crayons to make them melt. Depending on the dryer’s heat, the crayons will melt downwards in a unique design. In olden times, people used to seal envelopes and sign documents with a stamp made in hot wax. You can melt crayons to form wax, then use it to seal or sign an object, by pouring it onto an object, then using a stamp over it.
To use the crayon with a point or edge, all you need to do is break the disc in half and use the edge. You can also obtain crayon molds from an art and craft store, so just pour melted wax into the mold, to get a normal pencil-shaped crayon. There are different ways to melt crayons but if you (or your kids) are really fond of crayon melting, then you could get a crayon maker or melting machine, to make the melting easier (and less messy).