I love helping people find practical, useful ways to have more creativity and beauty in their lives.
Blunt Crayons? Sharpen Them!
Crayons, along with colored pencils and markers, are great tools that kids (as well as adults!) can use when they put their creativity and imagination to work in different ways. Crayons tend to last more than pencils and markers, but they might be put aside when they are not sharp anymore, even though they are "still working". Sharpening crayons is the key to returning them to their initial level of spark and utility—allowing you to continue to use them for coloring details in your works of art.
3 Best Ways to Sharpen Crayons
This article presents some of the ways in which crayons can be sharpened:
- Using various types of sharpeners
- Dipping the tips in hot water
Method 1: Scrape With a Blade
The classical approach would be to scrape your crayons with various objects, like a scissor blade or a pocketknife, until they have the desired shape. This way of sharpening is difficult, tedious and messy—it might save you money, but it does not save time.
- Choose your tool (I used one of the blades in a pair of scissors).
- Begin slowly scraping around the tip of the crayon, moving downward and creating a point.
- Check the result and adjust as needed.
Safety Note: This method can be dangerous. It is NOT recommended for kids and should only be performed by adults.
How to Sharpen Crayons With Sandpaper
A safer, easier yet similar method is to scrape them with the help of a piece of sandpaper. Using sandpaper pads is a simple option when it comes to sharpening crayons—all you have to do is to rub the crayons against the sandpaper. These pads can be used for creating points for pencils, charcoal, crayons and pastels.
Method 2: Choose a Sharpener
What do you do when a pencil needs sharpening? You most probably use a sharpener. You can do the same with crayons—just use a sharpener that fits your crayons.
Can You Sharpen Crayons in a Pencil Sharpener?
Yes! Here are some types of sharpeners you can use:
- A manual pencil sharpener with two holes—one big and one small. You can use the big hole to sharpen your crayons if you have standard-size crayons.
- A manual crayon sharpener that is specially manufactured for the brand of crayons you use. (Here's an example.) Some boxes of crayons even have a built-in sharpener.
- A manual crayon sharpener that is suitable for standard-size crayons.
- A manual makeup-pencil sharpener. These are meant to be used for the sharpening of soft materials. You should make sure the hole (or one of its holes, in case it has two) is big enough for your crayons to fit in. Note: If you do use it for crayons, don't use it for makeup pencils anymore!
- A battery-powered crayon sharpener.
- An electrical crayon sharpener.
How to Use a Hand-Held Sharpener
This method of sharpening is simple and effective:
- When sharpening crayons with a hand-held sharpener that has a metallic blade, you should use little pressure—only the amount needed to make the crayons roll and to make sure they're neatly modeled. Too much pressure can cause the crayons to get stuck to the blade and can even cause them to break.
- Do it slowly, and be careful with the sharpener too, especially if the sharpener you're using is not made out of resistant materials (the metallic ones are usually the most resistant).
- Also, you might want to peel off a part of the paper that covers the crayon, in case the sharpener's blade is not sharp enough and in order to avoid getting it stuck to the blade.
Tip: Leave the crayons in the freezer for about an hour before proceeding to use a manual sharpener to sharpen them. This way, they will harden, and it will be easier to sharpen them (this is particularly useful if the sharpener has a metallic blade). Also, harder or less-soft crayons will have longer-lasting tips.
Method 3: Dip the Tips in Hot Water
Here is the fastest, most effective way to use heat in order to make your crayons sharp again:
- Dip the blunt end of a crayon in a bowl of hot water for about a minute.
- Once the end becomes malleable, you can easily mold a sharper end using your hand—your fingers, to be more precise.
- After removing the tip from the hot water, it takes it about a minute to harden.
This is a messy and tedious method that demands caution and a bit of patience!
Safety Note: As with as the first method, this method is NOT for children and should only be performed by adults.
Tips for Long-Lasting Crayons
- Don't press too hard when you use your crayons.
- Roll the tips on all sides while you're coloring.
- Sharpen in long tips.
- Store the crayons in cool places, so that their consistency is less soft.
Enjoy using your sharpened crayons!
Siddhi on February 27, 2020:
This one is good for us☺️☺️
inding (author) from Romania on February 19, 2013:
I'm glad you find it useful! Have a great day!
Eiddwen from Wales on February 19, 2013:
A very useful hub and thanks for sharing.
When the grandkids stay over those crayons always need sharpening.
Have a wonderful day.