The big bag of broken crayons – we all have one, don’t we? For every new box of crayons I’ve bought over the years, I have about 15 or 20 nubs that no one wants to use, but I can’t quite bring myself to throw out. Fortunately, we have an ingenious solution for you…you can upcycle those old art supplies into gorgeous melted crayon art!
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This clever upcycled artwork only requires a handful of craft supplies you likely already have at home. It’s a relatively quick process, an easy crafting experience to customize for any age, and it creates the most striking pieces of kid-made abstract art – a total win in my book. I’ve laid out the whole tutorial below (along with some tips and variations) but also be sure to read to the end for even MORE melted crayon art ideas…
Watch the video below for a preview of the quick process we used to make our melted crayon abstract art!
For more upcycled art-making with kids, visit our cardboard paper roll art assemblages or scrap stamp shape collage project.
To make your own melted crayon art you’ll need:
- A Baking tray or similar
- A Canvas, watercolor paper, or cardstock
- An Iron or hairdryer
- A Pencil sharpener
- Wax or parchment paper
SAFETY NOTE: Adult supervision is required when using a hot iron.
How to Make Melted Crayon Art – DIY Instructions:
Create cool contemporary art using this easy step-by-step tutorial for melted crayon artwork!
Select the crayon colors you’d like to use and peel off the papers.
Pick out a color palette from your crayons. We used the whole rainbow! Make sure to peel off any paper around the crayons to ensure paper bits don’t get stuck in the pencil sharpener (or whatever you prefer to use to make crayon shavings).
Make shavings from your crayons.
Use a pencil sharpener or similar to create piles of colorful crayon shavings. You can shave them into small bowls or use a muffin tin as we did to make it easier for kids to grab from.
We find a pencil sharpener works best for kids who are going to help with this process, and don’t recommend using a cheese grater that could easily nick little fingers.
Sprinkle crayon shavings on a canvas, watercolor paper, or heavy cardstock.
Lay your paper or canvas on a flat surface with cardboard or newspaper underneath to catch any loose crayon wax bits. Layout your crayon shavings in the desired composition on your canvas. You can create fun patterns and shapes or simply sprinkle them!
Cover your design with wax paper.
Cover your crayon-covered paper or canvas with a sheet of wax paper. If you’re using an iron to melt the crayons, this keeps the wax bits from sticking to the iron.
Tip: If you’re working with younger kids who are using a hairdryer, tape down the edges – this will ensure all the shavings stay where they’re supposed to and don’t fly off the canvas.
Use an iron or hairdryer to melt the crayon wax shavings.
Use your iron or hairdryer to melt the wax. If you’re using an iron, a low heat setting will work well. If you’re using a hair dryer, you’ll want to use a high-heat setting and a low-speed setting to melt the crayon bits.
With younger kids, you can assist by helping them point the hairdryer in the right direction, and making sure they don’t touch the hot surfaces before cool.
Let dry for 15-20 minutes before touching.
Keep little hands away from your melted crayon art finished product for at least 15-20 minutes to ensure the wax has completely cooled and hardened.
There’s endless room for creativity and self-expression, and it’s an incredibly fun activity for kids!
Melted Crayon Art Tips and FAQs
Is there a faster way to create crayon shavings?
If you happen to have an old food processor or a spare small electric chopper, you can throw your crayons in one by one (or make a multicolor mix) and chop your crayons up fairly quickly. I wouldn’t recommend trying this with a food processor you regularly use for food, as the wax will build up on the blades and is a hassle to clean.
How long does it take to melt the crayons?
Honestly, it’s an amazingly quick process, and took much less time than I was expecting. The shavings we made with a pencil sharpener were fairly fine, and with a hot iron it only took about 1-2 minutes for the crayon shavings to melt completely. Using the hairdryer, the shavings took about 3-4 minutes to fully melt. We used paper, and it make take a bit longer for your shavings to fully melt into canvas or fabric.
What’s the easiest way to clean up crayon shavings?
We recommend working on a baking tray to keep Use a damp cloth or paper towel to wipe away any melted crayon residue from surfaces. If crayon gets on clothing, follow the item’s care instructions for removing crayon stains.
What do I do with the leftover crayon shavings?
Don’t throw out those precious crayon shavings! You can use one of the tutorials below to recycle them into a new set of crayons! If you’d like to store them for awhile, we recommend simply covering the muffin tin you have your shavings in with a piece of tin foil or press-and-seal cling wrap. You can also empty all the shavings into small glass jars (avoid plastic, as the shavings will stick to the sides).
Variations on our Recycled Crayon Art Project
Love this and want to play with a few variations? Here are some simple ideas that will give your crayon art a whole different look…
- Use color in the backyard of your abstract crayon art. Melt your crayons on a black or colored piece of heavy cardstock instead of white for a whole different look!
- Add imagery to your crayon art. Collage other images underneath/over top of your melted crayons.
- Create a waterfall of melted crayons. Create a rain or water effect by limiting your colors to shades of blue.
- Make a melted crayon landscape. Melt some green crayons, then flip your canvas upside down to make blades of grass that you can mod podge paper or dried flowers onto.
- Create melted crayon drip artwork. Use a hot glue gun to glue your old crayons directly to the top of the canvas or a heavy piece of cardstock/watercolor paper. Heat to melt, and watch the colors slowly drip down the canvas to create beautiful waterfalls of color!
Even MORE Recycled Crayon Art and Craft Activities
A quick trip around the web confirms I’m not the only one with baskets of broken crayons! This small collection of repurposed crayon activities will help you diminish that old crayon supply while keeping your little ones entertained…
- Modern melted crayon wall hangings – This gorgeous wall art from my friend Shannon doubles as a super fun project for kids AND a great lesson in symmetry (and her video tutorial is SO good!)
- Melted crayon butterflies – Inspired by Shannon’s wall art, we made a set of melted crayon butterflies we later put on garden stakes and used in potted plants.
- Rainbow crayons – a crayon melting point experiment – I love the clever idea of reusing crayons for a science experiment, finishing up with a beautiful set of rainbow crayons in the end!
- DIY Earth Day recycled crayons – I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Earth Day with kids than by putting recycling into practice.
- Watermelon suncatchers from melted crayons – Try these bright and cheery watermelon suncatchers for a fun summery project!
- Melted crayon rock art – This fun process combines natural and recycled materials for a phenomenal project.
- Wax paper & crayon sprinkle lanterns – Use simple supplies to make your own luminous lantern!
- DIY Fun-shaped recycled crayons – This detailed tutorial takes you through all the basics of at-home crayon-making (and how we adore these colorful butterfly beauties!)
Grabbing supplies from the recycling bin or finding old projects to remake anew with kiddos is one of my very favorite past-times. For even more recycled kids’ crafts, turn a peanut butter jar into a colorful (and functional!) kid-safe lantern, or use old cardboard boxes to build a city neighborhood full of drawing prompts!