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Crayon Brands Coloring Test for Consideration in Packing In Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Crayon brand coloring test.  What crayons are best for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes?
At this time of year there are a great variety of prices of crayons at back to school sales:  from fifty cents to as inexpensive as a penny.  So many choices...how to choose!  We want to send nice things to the children in our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, but we don't want to spend money just to get a name on the box.  So I decided to do some tests.

We tested five brands for both coloring quality and resistance to heat (that they might experience in transit).  The brands we tested were Crayola, which you can normally get for $0.50 at Walmart & Dollar General during back to school sales,  Cra-Z-Art, normally $0.25 during back-to-school sales at Walmart,  Playskool which can be found at Dollar Tree and other dollar stores for $1, and  Dollar General offers a brand I*Magine often 3 for $1 or $0.33/$0.34 a piece at Back-to-school sales.  Also at Office Depot I got some Scholastic brand for $0.01.   All those prices are for 24 count except Playskool that is 36.  For those who are concerned about manufacture location:  most are made in China, Crayola is made in the USA or Mexico, you'll have to check the package.  (This post contains marked affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links)

Now crayons exact make up may change from year to year, or from batch to batch, especially cheaper ones that may have less stringent controls, but this is the best info we can give you.

Edit to note: these were tested in 2016-how different brands make things can change over time.

First, how do they color?

Everyone has different preferences in coloring tools.  For instance, I prefer gel pens and hate ball point pens, but other members of my family like ball point and don't
like gel pens.  So, it's hard to tell what others look for in crayons, but here's how our test turned out (thanks to my mom, Cheryl for testing and writing the guest review):

"For overall ease of use I was surprised that I found all the crayons easy to color with.  They all put down nice color.  So overall I would gladly share any of the five brands with a child in my life.  Now for the specifics.

Heavy Pressure Coloring Test Results

I wanted to see how the crayons held up under heavy pressure coloring and how the colors stayed true to the crayon itself.  Also, if the crayons wore down quickly.  I was surprised that all of the crayons seemed to hold up well and none of them broke as I colored.  Details of each are below image.

Crayon coloring test results.
Fish image from Crafting for Shoeboxes Colouring Booklets.

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
  1. Crayola
    1. Rich color; pretty even coverage.
    2. Closely matches color of crayon.
    3. Left the most "crumbles" of all the crayons tested.
  2. CraZArt (WalMart)
    1. Rich color; a little less even coverage than Crayola, but not much.
    2. Color was true to crayon.
    3. Was crumbly, too, but not as much as Crayola.
  3. Playskool (Dollar Tree) *affiliate*
    1. Compared to the others, the color was much lighter than the crayon, but had nice, even coverage.
    2. The results looked much more like colored pencils.  Which I thought for older children, or adults, would be nice.
    3. It was impossible to get a dark, rich color even with much pressure.
    4. Were not very crumbly.
    5. Actually, these were my favorite to color with.
  4. I*Magine (Dollar General)
    1. Did not color as darkly.
    2. Least even coverage.
    3. Surprising not very crumbly.
    4. Probably my least favorite.
  5. Scholastic (Office Depot)
    1. Colored quite darkly.
    2. Left some white spaces, but pretty much colored nicely.
    3. Not excessively crumbly.
I also tried coloring gently on a scrap piece of paper and each one performed pretty much as above.  You can see the heavy and light pressure coloring on in this image:

In conclusion, as I said earlier, I was surprised by the results (I went into the test with pre-conceived opinions as to "name brand means better") and that I would gladly share any of these crayons with a special child in my life. 

I also put some strong (but not excessive pressure) on all of the crayons and still none of them broke, so they all seemed surprisingly sturdy.

If you'd like to make some coloring books to go with your crayons stop by Crafting for Shoeboxes and download the Colouring Booklets.  She has them for all ages and sizes for both US and European paper sizes.  We also have shared how to make them with a cardboard backing here on Simply Shoeboxes:  How to Make a Sketch Pad or Coloring Book to Include in an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox.  If you'd rather buy small ones in bulk, here is a review we wrote of Dukal Coloring Books.

Second, how do the crayons hold up to heat?

There have been some concerns about how some crayons might hold up to high temperatures they may be exposed to in transit to their recipients.  So, we did some tests to see how the different brands held up to different temperatures,.  You can see the results here: Crayon Brands Heat Stress/Melting Point TestEDITED to add: it's important to note, OCC USA hasn't had any problems with crayons melting, and doesn't have any brand preferences.  But if you have concerns about melting, some data may help.

So, that's what we found from our tests...hope this helps someone make a more informed decision on which brand to send, it's helped us decide.  If you do a large number, you might want to test them for yourself-we plan to put the unused crayons from the test boxes in soap boxes and send them in Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes (except brands that fail the heat stress test).

We also did Pencil Brand Reviews you may find interesting.

*affiliate* (This is an affiliate link and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links, that is how I afford the time to write these posts)


Betty Sue Rayner said...

Will you please post here on this site your Crayon Melt test results that were posted on Facebook on 08-19-16 at 1:06 pm.? It's hard to find things on FB again when you need them. Thank you! Betty Sue

Anonymous said...

Funny to see this. I am making file folder games and am coloring. I questioned MY coloring. Realized the difference in crayons. Who knew. I used Colored pencils now or for a move vibrant color - crayons first and go over with pencil crayons. Good article.

Sarah said...

Betty Sue-we plan to post those on this blog in the next week, waiting for the other melt tests to have enough time to be done to give a fuller picture.

Anonymous-Thanks! Glad to help clear it up! :)

Unknown said...

Good to know.

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