Jonathan loves to color. He also keeps anything he can, from rocks and pinecones he finds outside to the crayons given to him at restaurants. When the majority of said crayons ended up broken and therefore untouched at his coloring desk, and we found some lovely (read: nearly unbreakable!) crayons at a bookstore a few weekends back, I was faced with the question of what to do with all those extra crayons. Thankfully, I have a wonderful mom who taught my siblings and I how to make "homemade" crayons with broken crayon bits, a cupcake liner, and the microwave. Remembering this, I sat down one morning and whipped these up for my son.
Normally, when making crayons, you simply toss your spare bits into the cupcake liner, microwave for short intervals, say 30 seconds, and stir with a toothpick every so often to make sure everything melts together. Because I wanted to be difficult, or rather, because I didn't want to make four brownish gray crayons, I chose to shred the old crayons finely and layer by color. I WILL NEVER DO THAT AGAIN. The crayons turned out relatively cool, but the rainbow layering didn't hold completely as the cheap crayons I was working with were more wax than coloring and that extra wax floated to the top when they melted, mixing the rainbow layering as it went. I do think it would be fun to try this with mini cupcake liners and make really thick single or double color crayons.
I also chose to bake these, again, so I wouldn't have to stir and mess up the layering. However. If you choose only a few colors, and especially colors that go well together, that BLEND well together, swirling your crayon in the microwave can have really cool effects. I know, I became an expert at this as a kid. :)
As it is, next time I could go either way on baking vs. microwaving, but I will never shred the crayons again. Chop them to little bits, perhaps, but I never want to have to clean wax off my shredder again.
If you'll forgive the close-up of my fingers, here's a better shot of the rainbow layering that did survive the baking process.
A final word of advice: double line your cupcake liners. Some wax can seep through, especially if you bake, so it makes for easier clean-up. Enjoy!