When I started my job this summer, the space that I chose as my office had actually been used as a storage closet for several years. It’s decently sized and right next to all of the rooms that the kids use, so it made sense to use it as an office, but first I had to plow through the piles of pipe cleaners, paper bags, posters, fabric, felt, and hot glue guns that were strewn haphazardly throughout the room. As the summer went on, I was able to sort and organize everything and make the space my own (with help, of course!). On that same organizational/I-can’t-stand-junk-lying-around kick, I cleaned out the rest of the Sunday School classrooms and the nursery.
The common theme in all of this? Crayons. They were everywhere. Every time I turned around, I found another plastic bin of crayons. But, here’s the thing about bins of crayons, especially in Sunday School classrooms: The bin usually ends up holding a lot more than crayons. I dumped out each bin that I found and pulled out hair clips, plastic pieces of unknown origin, green army men, and a few other odds and ends. Now, kids like using crayons, but I don’t know many who actually enjoy using the little nubbins that are left when crayons are almost kaput. So, as I sorted, I accumulated a pile of all the little broken pieces of crayons. I didn’t want to pitch them, because they were still crayons, but I didn’t want to put them back into the mix with the rest of the crayons because no one really uses them.
So, what to do with these little leftover bits? Well, you see, I was surfing Pinterest one night (Pinterest is a dangerous place for people like me) and found out how to melt broken crayons down into new crayons. Bingo. Problem solved! I have a decent budget for children’s ministry, but it definitely helps to save some money here and there. So, I decided to give it a try.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Plenty of broken crayons
- Cooking spray
- Mini muffin tins (or some other sort of mold)
You’ll start off with your box of broken crayons (any crayon that was broken in half or in any piece small than that was thrown into this bin). Be sure to peel the paper off of all of them first, otherwise you might start a fire in your oven and nobody wants that to happen. You’ll need your oven to be heated to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, so you might as well turn it on while you peel so it’ll be ready for you.
This next step is optional, depending on how persnickety you are about things. I separated the crayons into piles of colors that I thought would go well together so I would have well coordinated crayons when they were melted down. If you really aren’t bothered by things like that, then you can just ignore my little OCD moment and continue on to the next step 🙂
Take your muffin tin (or whatever kind of mold you happen to be using) and grease it lightly with cooking spray, then fill each mold with broken crayons. Pop it in the oven and wait until the crayons are visibly melted. Mine only took 7ish minutes before they were completely melted, but just keep an eye on them and you’ll be able to tell when they’re ready. Be careful when you take them out of the oven because they will be liquidy.
Allow them to cool, then pop them out of the tray. Don’t they look fun?
The first week that I had these out, none of the kids actually used the regular crayons, but went for these instead! Don’t you love it when you can save a few pennies and put smiles on faces at the same time?