Crayola v Generic: Melting Crayons for Science

Art & Sculpture Craft & Design Science
Crayola v Generic: Melting Crayons for Science

Being inquisitive and scientifically minded doesn’t always have to be a long drawn out and possibly boring experience. Sometimes it can be as fun and simple as letting some crayons sit on a rock while you swim in the river.

In these super hot days of summer, my family likes to spend some time at a local river exploring and cooling down. This weekend, while gathering supplies, I was perplexed to find two boxes of crayons along for the ride. I asked my wife Lisha what she was up to, and she said she wanted to do some experiments. Our family cherishes playful experimentation. Before you read further, realize that this isn’t fantastically scientific. There are no thermometers, no timers, no logs.

When we got to the river, she pulled out the two boxes; one Crayola, the other Cra-Z-Art. She placed similarly colored crayons on a rock. After an indeterminate period of playing in the water, chasing fish, exploring streams and floating lazily, we checked back on the crayons.

left: Cra-Z-Art. Right: Crayola. note: Darker colors do melt faster but the difference here is more than that.
left: Cra-Z-Art. Right: Crayola. Note: Darker colors do melt faster but the difference here is more than that.

The Crayola had melted completely, while the Cra-Z-Art was still holding its form. The results, while purely anecdotal, were clear enough for us to draw our own conclusions. If I were making some melted crayon art, I’d want Crayola on my canvas. If I want to keep a box of crayons in my car, I’d prefer some Cra-Z-Art!

Cra-Z-Art would certainly make less of a mess!
Cra-Z-Art would certainly make less of a mess!

Of course, I’m just operating on the assumption that anyone reading this article is already familiar with melted crayon art work. If you weren’t already aware, watch the video tutorial below to see how it is done.

We weren’t the first to think of this little experiment. Pretty far from it actually, others have done it more in-depth and documented it much better. However, I think there is value in seeing things with your own eyes and exposing your children to constant inquisitiveness and hypothesis testing.

As you can see in this project, there actually are measurable differences in the melting points of the different brands. This is more than likely attributed to the wax they use, though even the amount of pigment could play a large role.



I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity I see in makers. My favorite thing in the world is sharing a maker's story. You can find me on twitter at @calebkraft

View more articles by Caleb Kraft
Send this to a friend