National Crayon Day
annually on March 31st
One of the most popular art supplies of all time, the crayon, is celebrated today. Used for writing, drawing, or coloring, crayons are colored paraffin wax pastels. Their name comes from the French word crayon, which dates to around the sixteenth century and means "chalk pencil." Charcoal and oil pastels predated crayons and were being used in Europe around the time of the Renaissance. Conté crayons, a hybrid of pastels and today's crayons, debuted in the 1790s.
The wax crayons of today rose to prominence in the late nineteenth century, with a number of companies competing for the market. The Franklin Mfg. Co, founded in 1876 in Rochester, New York, was one of the first companies to make them. Charles A. Bowley of Massachusetts made paraffin wax crayons in the late 1880s. The American Crayon Company, which had been making chalk crayons, joined forces with him in 1902 to produce his wax crayons.
Edwin Binney, the co-owner of Binney & Smith, an art products company, created the Crayola crayon in 1902. The company created the Crayola division in 1903 and began selling colored wax crayons in different sizes and colors. The idea for the crayons, as well as for the name "Crayola," came from Binney's wife, Alice Stead Binney, who combined the French word for chalk, craie, with the first part of the word oleaginous, which was a reference to the oily paraffin wax that the crayons were made from.
Crayola's "Gold Medal" line came in yellow boxes that contained 8 crayons. Soon, all the boxes had the Gold Medal design. Although numerous crayon companies have come and gone since, Crayola has continued to dominate the crayon market. Some other notable companies are Mega Brands America, which formerly was Rose Art Industries, and Dixon Ticonderoga, the successor of the American Crayon Company.
It is not known who created National Crayon Day, but it has been celebrated since at least 2006. Crayola has participated in the celebration in a few ways. For some years, they have given away tickets to the Crayola Experience. In 2017, they retired their dandelion crayon on the day and soon replaced it with bluetiful. But everyday artists and lovers of coloring are the biggest proponents of the day, and celebrate by taking out their crayons and creating something new!
How to Observe National Crayon Day
Some ways you could spend National Crayon Day include:
- Do some coloring and crafting! If you can't decide what to color or create, Crayola has some resources to get you moving, including free coloring pages, DIY crafts, and "4-in-1 National Crayon Day Crafts."
- Visit the Crayola Experience.
- Explore Crayola's crayon colors.
- Learn about crayon collecting.
- Make some homemade crayons.