Don’t toss away broken crayons

With three kids at home, over the years we’ve amassed a TON of broken crayons. Sure, they can still be used for their original purpose but somehow kids just don’t like using broken ones. They much prefer brand-spankin’ new ones. Not a big deal since we buy them in bulk during the back to school sales in late summer. But, what to do with all these broken crayons?

A while back, my wife melted down some of them and made new crayons out of them. She used muffin pans and cupcake liners, pouring the melted wax into the forms and letting them cool. They work alright and the kids thought they were pretty neat. But, it can take a bit of time since you want to only melt crayons of one color at a time.

Obviously, crayons are made of wax. Let’s think for a second. Is there anything I’ve mentioned on the blog here that would be a good use for wax?

Firestarters and buddy burners! Melt the crayons down and pour the wax into the lint filled egg cartons for firestarters. Pour it over the cardboard in your buddy burners. You don’t have to worry about matching colors of crayons, just melt ’em all together. Ours came out a funky shade of purple when we did this over the weekend.

What we used for melting the wax was an old soup can and a pot of water. Take all the paper off the crayons and break them up into small pieces. Fill your pot about 1/4 or so with water and heat it up. Keep it just under boiling. Put your can into the water and let it sit. You need to have the can fairly full of crayon pieces to weigh it down. It took about 5-7 minutes for the wax to fully melt. To stir it around, I just used a small twig with the bark removed. Use a hot pad or oven mitt to take the can out of the water as it will obviously be hot. Pour the wax directly from the can, then add more crayons and repeat the process if necessary.

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Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

3 thoughts on “Don’t toss away broken crayons”

  1. what about using them for emergency candles , crayons have a high steric acid content, steric acid is used to harden wax and raise the melt temp but it might work for candles , if it doesnt burn well add some bee’s wax or low melt temp wax to it , most craft shops like Michael’s carry candle wax , candle molds , wick …

    1. Great tip on combining different waxes to make candles. I know some people do use melted crayons for candles but we’ve never done it ourselves. We already have a TON of candles socked away. One idea I recall reading many years ago was to take a small milk carton, like the size you’d get with lunch in school, and fill it with ice cubes. Pour the melted wax into the carton and add a wick. Once the ice melts and the wax is cool, the candle has a really funky shape.

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