It’s time to buy school supplies in North America. My kids have a pile of crayon nubs and dried-out markers from last year, so I researched project ideas for crayons and markers.
Crayon Creative Reuse Ideas
- Melt crayons in various shapes – solid colors or marble – Lego people crayons, heart crayons for Valentines, rainbow crayons
- Make a firestarter for camping, combined with egg cartons and dryer lint
- Glue crayons to a backing in various designs – for example, the shape of a letter – cut the crayons with an exacto knife to get the right shape
- Feed crayons into a glue gun to make drips of wax – could teach about pointillism
- Seal a letter with drips of wax – make a personalized stamper by using a wood burner on a wood dowel.
- White crayons on white paper – write secret messages only revealed by painting over with watercolor paint
- Put melted crayons in expired glue stick tube –
- Playdough from crayons
- Candles from crayons
- Batik from crayons
- Embroidery incorporating crayons
- Lipstick & lip gloss from crayons – combined with coconut oil
- Mosaic from crayons
If you don’t want to make something from crayons, you can send them to the National Crayon Recycling Program.
Also, consider buying soy or beeswax crayons for your next crayon purchase. You can make your own beeswax crayons.
Creative Reuse Ideas for Dried-Out Markers
You might be able to extend the life of a marker by adding water and putting some plastic wrap and the lid.
I made a bracelet from marker plastic caps by drilling them at the closed end and then sewing them using ladder stitch, used by artists who make beadwork. This involves putting darning needles at both ends of a long string and then going back and forth between each cap. To make the bracelet easy to put on, I wanted to use a string that was stretchy but strong so I cut a strip from an old t-shirt. I saw a picture of a purse someone had made with a lot more caps. I would need to collect marker caps to make such a bag.
This video demonstrates how to do the ladder stitch, starting around 8:30:
Other ideas for what to make with the marker caps are:
Here are ideas for what to do with the marker other than the cap:
- If you take the caps off and put them marker-side down in a glass jar, you can make watercolor paint
- You can dye white flowers by putting those flowers in marker water.
Crayola has a program to recycle markers but you have to register as a school – so you could coordinate with a local school. This is in the contiguous US and some areas of Canada.
There are refillable markers products available such as Eco-Smart markers and Bottle 2 Pen by Pilot.
Artists I Admire Who Creatively Reuse Crayons and Markers
He works with many types of materials – crayons, bullets, sneakers, baby bottles, records. He says, “Objects are like words, you can use them any way you want to use them.”
He carves crayons mostly into cartoon characters – Hoang Tran’s Etsy store
She carves crayons into flowers & custom portraits
Costas Schuyler collects pens for art projects – covered a Mercedes Benz and called it the Mercedes Pens – in Art Car shows.
If you make items from crayons or markers, I would love to hear about your projects at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Script for this podcast episode about creative reuse of old crayons and markers (not a transcript but gives the main ideas)
- The Trashmagination podcast theme music is Kitchen from the Marian Circle Drum Brigade.