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A crayon melter is a device specially designed to melt crayons safely and quickly. Typically, the melted wax is then used to make new crayons, but crayon wax also can be used artistically in its melted form. Depending on the design, this type of device might be safe for children to use, or it might require adult supervision. It is not difficult to melt crayons without special machines, so most crayon melters have additional features that make them more valuable and better suited for this specific task.
Many people accumulate a large number of broken and unusable crayons over time, and a crayon melter provides an easy way to combine those crayons into usable forms. The basic process of melting crayons is simple and involves simply gathering crayons and melting them slowly over heat. In many cases, a crayon melter might have different wells so that colors can remain separate. Some devices of this type are made specifically for making crayons of mixed colors, so having separate wells is less important.
The most difficult part of making new crayons with a crayon melter is actually not the melting aspect. Getting the melted wax into a crayon mold requires precision and speed, so in many cases, a crayon melter is designed to assist in the molding process. Often, the melting reservoir tips directly into special molds inside the machine to reduce the risk of spills or the user getting burnt. This is ideal for children who might not have the physical control to accurately pour melted crayons, but safety mechanisms can be a negative feature in certain cases. When an adult needs to access the melted wax directly for painting with crayons or batik, a more open crayon melter might be more appropriate.
There are many art projects that can be accomplished with a crayon melter. One of the most popular involves arranging broken crayons and melting them together to make mixed crayons. It also is possible to make layered crayons if one is very careful. Special molds can be purchased to make crayons in the traditional cylindrical shape, or other molds can be used to make wider crayons or special shapes.
It also is possible to improvise a crayon melting device, although this is not recommended for children. Using metal tins or the bottoms of soda cans in water typically is the best way to melt wax, but it is important for a person not to use too much water, or the tins will float. Alternatively, one can weigh down the tins with coins or other small objects that are small enough to fit in the can but large enough not to fall into the mold. This strategy makes an excellent alternative to purchasing a machine if one does not melt crayons frequently enough to justify the cost.