Review: Crayola Crayon Maker

The Crayola Crayon Maker won an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award and was named a best toy of the year from Child Magazine. I don’t put much stock in toy awards. I bought this contraption. We played with it. I want my money back.

Photo of the Crayola Crayon Maker.
The Big Idea with the Crayon Maker is that you melt broken crayon bits down and make new, whole crayons. New colors are possible by mixing the colors of the broken pieces. Sounds cool, right?

Operation of this 60 watt wax forge is simple. Plug in the machine. Pull back a clear protective plastic cover to reveal a metal tray that has three crayon-sized impressions. Broken crayons get placed into the impressions, the protective cover is put back in place, and then you twist a knob to active the machine.

An unseen light bulb turns on, giving the machine a slight glow, and there is a loud ticking sound, much like a robust kitchen timer. The bulb heats the metal tray and the crayons melt. When the light turns off halfway through the process, you twist a second knob to tilt the metal tray and pour the melted crayons into a plastic mold. You wait for the machine to stop ticking, then open the protective lid, remove the mold, crack open the mold, and remove your new, cooled crayons. For cleanup, wipe a tissue through the metal tray and the plastic mold to pick up as much wax residue as possible.

Here is how The Big Idea falls apart:

  1. The first disappointment comes when you open the product box and realize you need to head back to the store to buy a special 60 watt small-base candelabra bulb before the fun begins.
  2. The entire creation process is supposed to take 20 minutes. It takes me 40 minutes. By the book, the broken crayons melt in 10 minutes, with another 10 minutes to cool. My crayons take about 16 minutes, but because there is no way to time it, I wait until the light turns off after 10 minutes, then crank the handle back to start over for another 10 minutes. Afterward, I found that the new crayons need more than 10 minutes to cool, unless I risk occasionally breaking one when opening the mold.
  3. The machine does not have a bell or other alarm. This means you have to actively watch the machine for 10 to 20 minutes to notice when the light has gone out.
  4. The forge only creates three crayons at a time.
  5. Do kids want to watch crayons melt and cool for half an hour, or more?
  6. The toy is rated for 8-years-and-up. I don’t recall using crayons in third grade, but anyhow, forget about using this forge around a toddler. When my 2.5-year-old daughter bumped the forge, liquid wax sloshed into interior parts of the machine.

Photo of a Crayola Crayon Maker with a knob being turned that is lifting a metal tray that is pouring melted crayons into a plastic mold. The photo was taken with the machine's protective cover pulled away. Do not try this yourself.If you don’t need to repair crayons often, it’s not worth the time or expense. Just buy a new box of crayons. They are inexpensive, especially if you buy off-brand.

If you need to frequently repair crayons, the machine is simply too slow, repairing too few crayons. Again, just buy new crayons.

There is one good thing to report. The Crayon Maker has some nice safety features. The on/off switch is located on a not-so-obvious underside area. The protective cover locks while the machine is in operation. And, the machine turns off if it is picked up or knocked off a flat surface.

Buying note: Crayola’s web site states the Crayon Maker “has recently been discontinued but may still be located through Walmart, Toys R Us, Target, K-Mart, KB Toy, Kohl’s , Meijer, CVS, Costco, A.C. Moore, or Aldi’s.”

I paid $13 for one at a brick ‘n’ mortar K-Mart (found on the top shelf in the school supplies aisle). Online sellers vary widely in price at this moment. Amazon links to sellers asking as much as $44 while ToysRUs.com asks $7.48 for one that is branded with Spider-Man artwork. Ebay has some similarly overpriced auctions.

Also: check out alternate measures for reusing broken crayons.

For the photos below, I melted the following Crayola colors:

  • Yellow + blue (dandelion + blue)
  • Red + blue (violet red + robin’s egg blue)
  • Purple + orange (blue violet + yellow orange)
  • The melting photos were taken at 1 minute, 8 minutes and 16 minutes.

Three time-lapse photos of crayons melting in the machine, plus a photo of the finished crayons cooling in the plastic mold.

Comments

13 Responses to “Review: Crayola Crayon Maker”

  1. shauna says:

    Yeah, I wouldn’t touch that thing. Although they’re not crayon shaped, the same thing can be acheived in an oven with a mini muffin tin.

    December 22nd, 2006 at 12:02 pm

  2. elizabeth says:

    I completely agree with your other commenter – home made crayons are easy to make.

    SO good too – to read that you don’t buy into (ha ha) the toy awards crap – as I did once, and found it to be a “huh!?” happening.

    Love your site – thank you for it!

    Happy New Year!

    December 26th, 2006 at 5:44 pm

  3. Emily says:

    You can also use candle molds to form the crayons into something other than “muffins”.

    January 1st, 2007 at 7:51 am

  4. Danielle Gamble says:

    I live in Ohio and I have a crayola crayon maker. The only problem that I have is finding more molds and other products to buy. I heard that this product was discontinued but I have seen it in other stores not in my state. I love my crayon maker but I simply have no use for it without these products. Could anyone help me out with finding more products? The crayola store doesn’t help me.

    July 6th, 2007 at 9:02 pm

  5. emma says:

    i have a crayol crayon maker and its fantastic i have had it for about 5 or 6 years and ive never seen a more simpiler toy thats more great than any toy ive ever seen I LOVE IT!

    December 29th, 2007 at 10:44 pm

  6. Rachel says:

    I’m afraid I REALLY enjoy this thing. Even when it doesn’t work 100% right the kids still love to watch it – all the way through from beginning to end. I agree with Danielle Gamble – I am in Ohio and cannot find any new molds here either. I’m sad this thing is discontinued. It was fun while it lasted.

    June 5th, 2008 at 6:18 am

  7. steven says:

    my son waits till its all melted puts it into the moled and then takes it out and takes it under the tap

    September 14th, 2008 at 6:31 am

  8. Magda says:

    I just read about using candy molds for crayons, and thought that was pretty neat.

    http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2008/11/vroom-vroom.html

    November 12th, 2008 at 7:34 am

  9. Rick says:

    I think the whole idea was not to repair broken crayons but having the fun of melting different colors and creating your own creations. Sure if you what to go ghetto and put wax in a muffin tin you can, but this is a tad more visual.

    December 15th, 2008 at 10:55 am

  10. Kendra says:

    I love this product. I make the crayons for my kindergartners to use at my reading table, or I even put them in my prize box. The kids love them. Once the machine is turned on (that is, after the first batch), the crayons do melt more quickly. I also find it easier to do several batches at a time, allowing them to cool in between.

    April 6th, 2009 at 4:23 pm

  11. casina says:

    I love the crayola maker.It saves you money. But my kids are tired of the mold we have and i can’t find them ant where.any
    help out there?

    June 16th, 2009 at 4:06 pm

  12. Jane says:

    I have mixed feelings about the crayon maker, but the point is moot now because we lost the molds and I can’t find any replacements. I emailed crayola.com, but have not received a response yet.

    September 22nd, 2009 at 9:04 am

  13. Stampygal says:

    I foolishly bought an older version NIB… gave it to my daughter for Xmas and now find out, it’s missing the crayon molds. I think there are supposed to be 2 in the box… now I can’t find them anywhere. I called Crayola and they just don’t make them any more. Any ideas where I can find one? There has got to be someone, somewhere that has them lying around.

    December 28th, 2009 at 2:09 pm