How do you recycle worn-out art supplies?

When I was pregnant, I became obsessed with acquiring as little baby gear as possible. Looking back, I have to admit I went a little overboard. Like, maybe I could have bought two bottles instead of one bottle. The funny thing is, I had no idea how much worse the clutter would get once the baby started growing. At age seven, my daughter has so many clothes and toys, it’s ridiculous. So much for minimalism.


The worst of it is the art supplies. I recently culled Audrey’s crayons and markers and filled a big box with duplicates and castoffs. I also had to throw away quite a few markers that dried out. I’m not sure what to do about all this waste. After all, we’ve long maintained that art supplies make great green gifts for children. (In fact, I’d say 100% of my daughter’s art supplies were gifts from friends and relatives.) They promote creativity and occupy their little hands for hours at a time.

Still life with flowers

I could ban art supplies from the house and let her use only one pencil and the blank sides of school worksheets, but I’d hate to stifle her artistic genius! Is art supply waste just an inevitable part of childhood? Or is there an eco-solution I’m missing?


  1. Cindy @ OnePartSunshine says:

    I reuse a lot of other things to use as art supplies – toilet paper rolls, cardboard from cereal boxes, any kind of container or packaging. My son loves to create things out of trash and has grown to prefer it over store bought art supplies. We somehow ended up with tons of crayons so I periodically melt those down and pour into molds to create shaped crayons for gifts. I still haven’t figured out the markers. My son insists I keep the dried up ones so he can use them for art creations but that’s all I can think of.

  2. Oh wow – you don’t have to throw away water based kids markers if they dry up. Soak them in hot water and they’ll be recharged! This works great with the crayolas. Best of luck!

  3. Francesca says:

    dried markers can also be used to make a pencil holder ( glue around a tin can, jar, or cut plastic bottle add a ribbon and voila and colorful pen holder for a gift or for your own crayons.

    they are also nice on a frame, glue them around a frame to decorate add a portrait, family pic or one of your own creations and another lovely gift. ( old, puzzle pieces work nice around a frame also.) the frame can be an actual frame, or a cardboard cut out)

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