Upcycle your old crayons and go treerubbing

Hiya Beautiful Creative Monkeys!

Maybe you’ve hugged a tree, but have you ever rubbed one? This togetherness idea combines Upcycling with an inside favorite –crayons— and an outdoor creation … tree rubbing wrapping paper.

Upcycling is a new term–not yet mainstream–that Webster’s Dictionary should consider as a new word for their next edition. Purposeful alike recycling, upcycling is a way to take something used or broken and transform it into something new and useful. This concept appeals to the creative monkeys at our house as I constantly find cut up tissue boxes, toilet paper rolls and other assorted would-be-recyclables, stashed under my daughters’ beds.

This week’s projects can be done in two parts, or combined for a nice full afternoon of togetherness. Upcycle some old crayons into new colorful ones, and then get out in your garden and rub your trees and you’ll end up with some really pretty wrapping paper. 

Supplies

♥ old crayons

♥ aluminium tinfoil baking cups

♥ Exacto or sharp knife (or you could skip this step and peel the wrappers by hand)

♥ baking tray

♥ preheat oven to 250° F/120° C

♥ paper for tree rubbings

As we constantly make crayons at our house for our craft fairs, we’ve got crayon prep down to an art, so I’ll share some special Monkey Chi Monkey Do secrets that will make your crayons turn out magnificently.

Ready? Ok, Turn off ALL mobile and electronic devices, ignore your home phone, and BE completely present with your loved one(s). Your full presence and undivided attention is a true gift to yourself and your monkeys, a present you all deserve.

Shhhh, here’s Monkey Secret #1: Put your crayons in the refrigerator for a couple hours ahead of project time. This will shrink the crayons a little and simplify wrapper removal.

When you’re ready to peel the crayons, preheat your oven to 250° F/120° C.

Using an Exacto knife, er wait, what’s that noise? EeEeEeEe—(Cue the announcer.)

WE INTERRUPT THIS TUTORIAL TO BRING YOU AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM SAFETY MONKEY.

Safety Monkey says, “EeEeEe … Safety First! Be careful and pLEeEeEeze… ADULTS ONLY should use Exacto knives! Monkey Chi Monkey Do projects should never wind up in the EeEeEemergency Room. EeEeEe, thanks.”

Got that? Ok, back to the fun stuff.

BeEeEe careful!Using an Exacto knife, CAREFULLY cut a straight line along the crayon wrapper seam. Pass crayons to your buddy to remove the wrappers. (Oooh and SAVE THE WRAPPERS! We have a future upcycling project that will transform these colorful little bitsies of paper into something beautiful.)

When the crayons are shivering, arrange several tinfoil cups on a baking sheet. Snap crayons in pieces and cover the entire bottom of cup–at least two crayon widths deep–to make nice chunky-sized crayons.

We sometimes sort by color, all greens in one cup, making one swirlywhirly green crayon. Experiment and have fun. Lay out an entire rainbow in one cup cover with another layer of color on top for a surprise crayon.

Monkey Secret #2: Preheat your oven and then SWITCH IT OFF when your crayons go in. This helps to reduce color and paraffin separation. (Sometimes when crayons melt, the color pigment and wax separate and you end up with a white film across the top of the crayon … a film that will not color. If you let too much heat out, you may need to turn the oven on again, but don’t leave it on above 200 otherwise crayons may smoke. (If you end up with a little film, not to worry, just take a veggie peeler and peel the edges down to the colorful part.)

Old crayon friends ready for melting? Okeydoke, now quickly place the cookie sheet in the preheated oven (250° F/120° C) and TURN OFF THE OVEN. This is more fun than watching grass grown, so stay near your crayons and watch them melt. It will take just a few minutes depending on your oven’s heat intensity, but do not leave them longer than necessary otherwise they may smoke. Once the crayons have melted and you no longer see any of the original shapes, carefully remove from oven and place somewhere away from oven to cool. If the monkeys are getting restless, you can place them in the fridge once they’re not burning hot to cool them faster (Abbey asked me to clarify  after posting this …. put the crayons in the fridge NOT the monkeys). Once cooled completely, they will easily pop out of the cups.

Dump them out and admire the new precious jewels YOU JUST CREATED! Good for you, you Upcyclers!

Here’s part 2. Grab some paper and head outside to start the treerubbing part. Place paper against tree trunk, grab crayon and rub the flat side against the tree. We also recommend hugging the tree too, it adds good Chi (energy) to the whole experience! When we went tree rubbing, we didn’t stop at trees. I think everything except our Jackson, our dog, was rubbed in our back yard, the picnic table, swing set, trees, leaves, toys.

We ended up not only with a gorgeous batch of colorful crayons, but a stack of beautiful paper that can be used as wrapping paper or source material for our next batch of thank you cards.

Next time, we’ll try colored paper, larger sheets, and also paper that’s already been used on one side—oh again with the UPCYCLING. We are so trendy!

What do you think of these ideas? Don’t you have a stash of old crayon friends just begging to be reborn as jewels? Are you going to use the word Upcycling in your everyday conversation? How bout tree rubbing … gonna give it a try? Come back and comment to let us know how it goes.

Oh, and if you just found our blog, you can receive new ideas in your Inbox by entering your e-mail addy in the box at the top right-hand side of this page, then check your e-mail to confirm. We send one Monkey Musing per week, and –Monkey Promise– we won’t spam and will never give your e-mail to anyone else!

Sending you LOVE and wishes for a wonderful happy CREATIVE togetherness experience!

Becky and the Monks

9 Responses to Upcycle your old crayons and go treerubbing

  1. Thanks for this,remember doin this as a kid and have done it once with my Rayne,but did make oven to hot almost made blacken crayons.we are now lookin for old crayons to try agian.making last min christmas presents for all her friends!

  2. I really cannot wait to hear what you do with the crayon wrappers. I am an art teacher with MANY bits of crayons ready to be reused and papers I am dying to hear about. Thanks for great posts!

    • Hi Jess, You are VERY welcome. It’s our pleasure to share here on our site. If you haven’t already done so, please sign up for our free newsletter, to get our posts to your inbox. Thanks for the reminder about those bits of crayon wrapper paper. We use them to make handmade paper … they turn out so colorful. I’ll try to post that soon, or I’ll e-mail you the specifics. Have you ever made paper with your students? Its messy and fun, and not too difficult. Take care and thanks again for popping by.

  3. Dear Abbey
    I love the crayons that you sent us. We were wondering how to make them. Now we have the steps we can make them. Thank you for the other gifts too. You are very clever!
    From Ellie,Rosey ,Maggie Rutter

  4. Lovely job Becki…we’ve not tried bark rubbing yet so will have to hop to the woods this weekend and give it a blast :)

  5. We have also been saving our crayon bits in anticipation of creating our own. Thanks for the paper removal tip! And yes, upcycling is a common word in circulation around this crafty household ;-)

    Blessings…

  6. I love this idea too. My girls are still too youung and we haven’t collected that many bits of crayons… will have to wait a few years to make those, I’m affraid. But I can’t wait!

  7. WOW thank-you!! I love this idea!! I have beent throwing out all those little bits, now will save them and make these amazing crayons!!

    Brightest Blessings’
    Belinda
    -xox-

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