More than 12 million crayons are produced in the United States EVERY DAY. THEY.ARE.EVERYWHERE. New, old, broken, chipped, bits, wrappers. Every cleaning, organizing, decluttering adventure leads to more. I hate to throw them away but what to do with old crayons? Surely there have to be tons of uses for old crayons?
If you have young kids, you can’t go anywhere it seems without coming home with at least 1 random crayon. Sit-down restaurants, birthday parties, festivals, events, and of course every school year is started with a brand new box of crayons. Only to have them come home in broken bits at the end of the school year. I find crayon remnants in every drawer, bin, bucket, and corner of my house.
What to do with Old Crayons
Donate them to:
- a homeless shelter
- women’s shelter
- back to the school
Send them off:
A quick Google search turned up several different organizations that accept used crayons and put them to good use.
- The Crayon Initiative – accepts donations of old crayons from homes, restaurants, and schools and melts them down. They then turn the melted wax into new crayons and distribute the finished product to art programs at children’s hospitals across the country.
- Crazy Crayons – accepts donations of old crayons and turns them into new crayons for purchase. The new crayons are in all sorts of fun shapes and can be customized.
- No Crayon Left Behind – this organization partners with restaurants to collect all those crayons that are used to occupy kids during the restaurant visit but then left behind. The gently used crayons are collected, sorted and distributed to organizations and schools serving underprivileged children.
- Crayon Collection – partners with restaurants and hotels to collect crayons that are used to occupy kids during their visit to the restaurants. The crayons are collected and donated to Head Start Programs and local Title 1 schools in need. There are a few other fantastic things this organization does so I encourage you to check them out, when you’re finished reading this blog post.
Organizations like these are truly a win, win, win. Kids get to help be part of the solution, both to the environment as well as to brighten the day of another child.
New Uses for Old Crayons
I have somehow managed to amass bags of crayons and even after donating many, I still have a bunch so I hit up Pinterest for some ideas on what to do with them. I wanted to find projects that my kids could do with items we already have at home. These are a few of the things I found that fit the bill.
I love this idea from Amy @ Mainly Homemade. Take all the broken bits, put them into cupcake liners and set them out in the hot sun to melt. Voila, a new fun and colorful crayon ready to be used and your house won’t smell like melting crayons. Don’t just stop at this post, looking around her website has given me all sorts of things to do with my kids during school breaks.
How about making some colorful playdough? Colleen @ The OT Toolbox has a great tutorial on how to make it happen. I spent some time looking around her website and found all kinds of other cool projects for us to work on.
Homemade ornaments can be great Christmas tree decorations but also give a Christmas gift that extra wow factor when used in place of a bow. Alexa @ The Swell Designer melted crayons in a glass ornament ball and they turned out lovely. If you’re a lover of all things crafty, I would definitely suggest taking a look through Alexa’s website. She has all sorts of fantastic projects for all skill levels. My daughter is 10 and loves crafting. I’m going to turn her loose on the website and see what she chooses to fill up some of our summer days. It’s never too early to start planning.
We didn’t have any glass ornaments at home so my daughter and I tried using a leftover plastic one that had been purchased for a project. Just for fun and all. It didn’t turn out well. Even on the lowest setting, the hairdryer started to melt the plastic more than the crayons so it was a mess. Glass ornaments don’t fare well in our house so I guess we’ll skip this one.
Another idea I’ve heard is using the brown and black colors to fill in furniture scratches. We have a table that has an awful scratch on it. When my son was about 3 or so, he pulled over a lamp and the (plastic) shade put a gash in the table. I tried this idea, I didn’t have the best results. I think an actual marker would work better but this table needs more help than a crayon or marker can give it so I’ll save this project for another day.
If you like “upcycling” and have some bottle caps laying around, you should try some of these easy diy bottlecap projects.
I’ve found so many fantastic crayon projects on Pinterest however many of them require using new crayons but what about all the old ones we have? The title of a book by Shelley Hitz, “Broken Crayons Still Color” is spot on. Just because a crayon is broken, doesn’t mean it’s not useful. Use your imagination, or in my case, Pinterest and find new uses for old crayons.
Make it a green day!