With about ten pounds of crayons to recycle this time, I wanted to create a production line so my second batch of Rainbow Crayons could be made more efficiently. I could be filling two dozen molds, while another two dozen were baking, and two dozen were chilling. The only problem with this great idea was finding enough molds!
An Assortment of Molds
The single silicone cups are the same ones I used for my first batch. They’re very thin, but seem durable; it’s very easy to peel them off the cooled crayons. Still, I’m glad I didn’t have to rely on them alone this time! I now have two blue silicone pans from a tag sale, a rust one from Goodwill and two old aluminum muffin pans.
Learning About Metal Molds
After reading several crayon recycling web pages, I thought metal pans used as crayon molds had to be non-stick, or at least lightly coated with oil or Pam. I decided to experiment and see what would happen if I used plain aluminum pans without any messy coatings. Nothing terrible could come of it; the crayons might stick, in which case I’d re-melt and pour them out.
I waited a few minutes until the first load of crayons made in the aluminum pans had cooled enough to become solid, then I slid the full pans into the freezer to chill. Rapping an overturned pan on the counter a few times loosened all the crayons, but several of them suffered hairline cracks and later broke into two pieces! At least I had learned that crayons sticking in the metal pans wasn’t a problem.
I chilled my second load in the refrigerator, instead of the freezer. One light rap on the underside of each cup with a wooden meat tenderizer gave me perfect results!!
I’ve seen small metal molds at tag sales. Now I knew I could use them for crayon making!
Learning About Silicone Molds
The blue sunflower mold says MAX 446 degrees F (230 C) right on it, so I set the oven for 275 degrees F, just like the last time I made crayons. Well, the flower one felt slightly sticky on the bottom after its first use, and the plain blue one got scorched spots on its bottom!
I lowered the oven temperature to 225 and didn’t have any further problem. I wondered if the manufacturer actually meant 230 F, instead of C?
Since I’d always cooled the single silicone cups in the freezer, I put the floral mold in the freezer too, but then I lost four of my first six flowers! Maybe the colder temperature makes the crayons more brittle. The silicone of these pans is much thicker than that of the cups, so I did apply a lot more pressure to get them to invert and release the crayons.
When I cooled the floral mold in the refrigerator, things went more smoothly, but I still lost some flowers. Since I didn’t have this problem with either the blue or rust plain-shaped molds, maybe it’s just the fault of the flower design and those pretty petal points. Or, maybe I need to let them warm to room temperature before trying to remove them from the mold. More experimentation to come…
Finished Rainbow Crayons
I realized I didn’t get quite as many Rainbow Crayons from a pound of used crayons this time, because all of my new molds are larger than the single cups. But, I still ended up with 159 finished crayons! Here they are, arranged into sets of three so I can quickly put one dark and two brights into each bag.
I put my new sticker labels on the sandwich bags. This bulky rainbow yarn, which came with a child’s weaving loom from a thrift, worked very well as bag ties. It goes great with Rainbow Crayons, don’t you think?! Clipping the excess plastic from the top of each package was easy.
All these Rainbow Crayons will go into sand pails with other toys and will be given to young foster children later this summer. These big shoe boxes are perfect for transporting crayons. I asked to get the boxes back, so I can refill them again and again.
My crayon production line worked relatively smoothly in its trial run. Hopefully, I’ll find more thrifty molds before it’s time to bake the next batch. I would think plain muffin tins would be a common sight in thrift stores. I’ll also tell everyone I know that I’m looking for molds; who knows what kind may come my way!
I found some real benefits to this kind of baking. The smell of baking crayons isn’t bad, but it doesn’t make me hungry. There is no washing-up afterwards and no weight gain from sampling the fresh-baked goodies!
Wow, your Rainbow Crayons are so beautiful. I had no idea that people recycled crayons. I can only imagine the smiles on the kids faces when they see them 🙂 Judy
Thank you, Judy! I came across a post on somebody’s blog several months ago about doing it in the microwave. After a on-line search for more info, my mental gears really started whirling. I’m having a blast and have several more molding ideas I’d like to try!
I agree with northernnarratives, these are really beautiful. And the kids will love them too.
I haven’t heard anything back from the kids yet, but adults seem to like the looks of them! 🙂
This is such an awesome idea! Thank you for sharing!
Welcome to alottastitches, Jo!
You’re very welcome. I was able to make my crayons, because lots of other people shared their ideas too.
Hope you have fun recycling some crayons of your own!
I was wondering where did you get the 10 pounds of crayons. I’m an active kinder mom and our poor public school is in dire need of crayons and supplies. I have contacted a few of the local restaurants and they are willing to donate the leftover crayons. I just dropped off buckets yesterday hopefully they fill quickly. But they each only give 3 colors. So any info you can give would be helpful. I’m trying to fundraise. For the classes other supply short falls. Scissors and glue sticks.
I buy bags/boxes of used crayons at tag sales and thrift stores, but, most of the crayons I recycle come from collections done at schools near the end of each school year. Teachers and children are asked to give any old crayons that they were going to throw away. I get broken bits, but, as you probably already saw in my blog photo, there are lots that are are only slightly used too. (The 10 pounds of crayons were collected from kids who attend an after-school program.) This kind of collection might not work at your school, but you could be surprised! You might approach the staff at other schools to do collections for you… I’m sure most would be happy to help.
More ideas: You could ask to put collection buckets in public libraries. The charity group who I give the molded crayons to has also asked brownie and girl scout troops to gather crayons from their neighborhoods and friends. A request in a church’s bulletin or newsletter would probably get a great response.
Usually there are terrific sales for all school supplies in August, so that’s a great time to ask people to donate NEW items, including scissors, glue sticks and crayons. You can watch the ads (they’re available on-line) of Target, Staples, WalMart, and the drug store chains, in particular, for their specials.
I hope this is helpful to you, Julie. If you have more questions, please feel free to ask. 🙂