It may not look like it, but a basket of worn-out wax crayons can be an incredible find. There are so many things you can make with these colourful little wax cylinders, apart from of course carefully colouring in those detailed drawings in a grown-up colouring book.
Repurpose crayons? Well – you could for example:
- Drop a candle wick in an old mason jar, melt down a handful of crayons, mix in a few drops of essential oil, and create a beautiful, fragrant candle.
- Melt the old ends of matching colours together by cooling the wax in the bottom of a muffin tin to make it round.
- Melt the wax and layer it to make rainbow crayons, cooling the wax in anything from ice cube trays to cookie mould tins to make unique shapes. Your imagination is your palette. Colour your world.
Repurpose with a purpose: crafting a scarf
Repurpose an old scarf into a beautiful tapestry of colours using – you guessed it – crayons. It’s a fun, fashion-forward DIY idea project you can do at home.
This process is pretty much a take on batik fabric dying. By melting the wax and applying it to fabric, then removing the wax, we can create gorgeous patterns and breathe new life into old garments.
You can break your crayons up and sort by like colours in a muffin tin. Heat some water over the stove and float the muffin tin in it until the wax melts. Then, paint the melted wax onto your garment using disposable paint brushes or Q-tips. Since the wax tends to harden when taken away from the hot water, I just did my painting in the kitchen near the stove. However, if you have a crockpot, you can fill it about halfway with water and float your crayon wax muffin tin in that, instead, to keep the wax melted while you work.
You can grate your crayons, sorting by like colours, and artfully arrange the granules on your garment. Once everything looks good, you can melt the crayon over the fabric by layering it between sheets of aluminium foil and either ironing it or using a blow dryer set on high heat.
If your pattern is rather “free”, like ours was, you can quickly do a light melt of the wax with a blow dryer or iron, then roll the scarf up tightly between sheets of aluminium foil and set the whole kit-and-caboodle in the oven on warm (about 170 degrees) for five minutes until the wax is really melted.
If you don’t have the time to grate each crayon down to a melt-able size, you can do what I did and use the “shred” disk on your food processor, being sure to remove the paper wrappings on the crayons before you drop them in. The waxy leftovers come off the equipment after a good soak in some hot water, though it does dull down the blades just a touch.
The next two steps are entirely up to you. Unless you’re incredibly careful with your scarf, the cooling wax will break here and there, leaving little spider veins of the scarf’s original colour in your final product. You can choose at this point to increase that crackle effect by scrunching up your scarf once the wax is dried, or just leaving it as is.
Dye the rest
If you want to dye the entire scarf instead of just adding colour to it with your crayon work, you can finish the rest by dying the whole piece with fabric dye. Just follow the instructions that come with the dye, particularly paying attention to the fact that you only need to use hot water, not boiling water, for the dye process. Hot water shouldn’t affect the crayon wax while boiling water, might cause the wax to melt.
Remove the wax
Once the wax has cooled, it’s time to remove the dried-on wax to reveal the colour underneath. To do this, grab a stack of newspapers or old paper bags, layering one underneath your garment to soak up any melting wax, and placing another piece on top. Slowly run an iron over the paper until the wax melts through, making sure any steam function is turned off.
Do this repeatedly until no more wax melts through the paper. For me, this took about nine sheets of paper per section, though I’ve done a couple garments that took up to 15, depending on how thick the wax is.
Once the fabric feels soft and wax-free, run it through the wash one time on its own just to make sure everything is set and you’re done! Wear your scarf proudly, knowing that you took something old (crayons) and something not-quite-your-taste and turned them into something wearable and lasting. And if you had a chance to do this fun project with a loved one, you not only have a lovely new scarf and the memories of time together, but a precious new keepsake, as well.