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How to Sharpen Crayons

Updated on February 19, 2013
Crayons | Source

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 the other two, but they might be put aside when they are not sharp anymore, although they are "still working". Sharpening crayons is the key to give them the initial spark and utility, facilitating, for example, their usage when it comes to coloring details in works of art. This article presents some of the ways in which crayons can be sharpened.

Method no. 1: Scraping

The classical approach would be to scrape them with various objects, like a scissor blade or a paper cutter, until they have the desired shape. This method can be dangerous, it is NOT recommended for kids and should only be performed by adults. This way of sharpening is difficult, tedious and messy, it might save you money but it does not save time.

Step By Step Instructions

Art Alternatives Sandpaper Pencil Pointer
Art Alternatives Sandpaper Pencil Pointer

The pads can be used for pointing pencils, charcoal, crayons and pastels.


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 pointing crayons - all you have to do is to rub the crayons against the pads.


Lyra Stockmar Crayon Sharpener, Wood w/Cardboard Barrel
Lyra Stockmar Crayon Sharpener, Wood w/Cardboard Barrel

Wooden Sharpener for Stockmar Stick Crayons


Method no. 2: Using a Sharpener

What do you do when a pencil needs sharpening? You most probably use a sharpener. You can do the same with crayons - use a sharpener that fits your crayons. Here are some types of sharpeners you can use:

  • a manual crayon sharpener that is specially manufactured for the brand of crayons you use. Some boxes of crayons have a built-in sharpener;
  • a manual crayon sharpener that is suitable for standard size crayons;
  • 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 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. If you use it for crayons, don't use it for makeup pencils;
  • a battery powered crayon sharpener;
  • an electrical crayon sharpener.

Step By Step Instructions


Tip: Leave the crayons in the freezer for about an hour before proceeding to using 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, less soft crayons will have longer-lasting tips.

When sharpening crayons with a hand held sharpener that has a metallic blade, you should use little pressure, only the amount needed to make them roll and to get them neatly modeled, because 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, in order to avoid it getting stuck to the blade.

This method of sharpening is simple and effective.

Method no. 3: Dipping The Tips In Hot Water

The fastest, most effective way to use heat in order to make your crayons sharp again is to dip their blunt ends in some hot water for about a minute. Once they get malleable, you can easily mold sharp ends 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. It is a messy and tedious method that demands caution and a bit of patience. As well as the first method, this method should only be performed by adults.

Step By Step Instructions


Tips for Long-Lasting Crayon Tips

  • don't press too hard when you use the crayons;
  • roll the tips on all sides while using them;
  • sharpen in long tips;
  • store the crayons in cool places, so that they get a less soft consistency.

Enjoy using sharpened crayons!


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    • inding profile image

      inding 5 years ago from Romania

      I'm glad you find it useful! Have a great day!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      A very useful hub and thanks for sharing.

      When the grandkids stay over those crayons always need sharpening.

      Have a wonderful day.