Problem: LOTS of old, broken, nasty looking crayons. Baskets of them. I want to start using my class packs of crayons but don't want to be wasteful.
Solution: Make rainbow crayons!
At the end of the school year when students finished projects early and wanted to help with something, I told them they could help peel paper off of the old crayons knowing that I wanted to recycle them. I bought a cool old muffin tip for a quarter at a garage sale that I could dedicate for to the sole purpose of crayon recycling.
If you've never tried before, it's super easy. First, make sure all of the paper is peeled off of your crayons. Next, sprinkle crayons of different colors into muffin tins. Make sure that you break up larger crayons into small pieces and try to get a variety of colors. I had more brown crayons than any other color but I tried to spread them out. You don't need to fill the muffin tins all the way up, I aimed for about 2-3 layers of crayons in each tin.
After the crayon bits are in the muffin tins, set your oven to a low heat. I tried about 250 degrees. Place muffin tin in the oven, check the crayons and remove when melted. I wish I would have paid more attention, but I think I left them in the oven about 10-15 minutes. If you leave them in too long, your nose will let you know! Try not to jostle the tray too much when removing so the colors keep some separation instead of turning into "mud."
Remove muffin tin and let cool. If you're lucky, as the rainbow crayons cool, they will slightly pull away from the edges of the muffin tin. I had to pop some of the crayons out and even turn the tin upside down and bang on the counter for a couple stubborn crayons. Don't judge your crayons by the top side visible in the tins. It kind of looks like the impurities come to the surface when everything is melting. When you flip the crayons over, you will see the bright colors and neat designs that the colored wax makes. I have seen some rainbow crayons made in molds to get fun shapes which looks really cool, but the circles work for me. I made about 4 dozen rainbow crayons over the period of a couple nights.
I plan to use these crayons mostly for texture rubbings with Kindergarten students. I think the crayons should be a good size for their little hands to hold onto. These crayons also make a fun gift for a little kid!