The Truth About Crayon Candles

Spread the love

Written by Bernie Carr

I keep seeing posts being shared in social media about using crayons as candles. Then there are variations on the crayon candle, such as the one where they stick the crayon in a jar of Crisco, using the crayon as a wick. Invariably, someone will comment that this is a fabulous idea, they will just use crayons next time there is a power outage since the kids have a lot of crayons. Or the readers comment that they ran to the dollar store and picked up a bunch of crayons and are now fully stocked.

I wanted to investigate this – you know me, I try things before I recommend them.

Let’s try this!

What happened when I tried to light a crayon?

I used generic crayons and regular matches, as that is what I happen to have at the moment. Remember the meme says use crayons as lighting in an emergency. So I will use what I have. Here’s what I found out:

The crayon is not stable.

Ok, the crayon can stand by itself, but it will tip over. So I placed a bit of tape on the surface that I am using to make sure it stands up while I am trying to light it. I am doing this without any help, so I need my two hands to strike the match and light it.

The crayon will not light

Once I got it standing up, I lighted the match and touched the flame to the tip of the crayon. I held the flame against it for a few seconds until the flame started climbing up and nearly burning my finger.

The crayon did not light after multiple attempts. It just kept melting. I tried using several matches, one after another, but it would not light.

Another thing I noticed is the burning crayon does not smell great. After several attempts, I felt a headache coming on.

Did the paper light up?

Ok, you might say, what about the paper, the idea is the paper should act like a wick and catch fire.

Nope, that did not happen.

The paper started burning with the flame touching it, but as the wax kept melting, the wax would douse the fire so the paper never actually caught fire.

What about the brand of candles?

Ok, someone might say, “maybe you need to use brand name candles instead of generic.” Perhaps the Crayola crayons really do light. If they did, they would last maybe 15 minutes, tops, and they still have the danger of toppling over as they are not stable.

And, if the idea is to use candles as lighting in an emergency, then theoretically, any candle should work, including generic, which it didn’t.

The Crayola company, which manufactures the brand name crayon, has issued a statement about crayon candles:

Crayola Crayons are made primarily from paraffin wax and color pigment. We do not recommend that Crayola Crayons be used to produce candles. They have not been tested or approved for this type of use.

Source: Crayola

The truth about crayon candles

The truth is, crayon candles do not work.

Even if it does light, the crayon can tip over and cause a fire or possibly ruin your carpet or floor. If you want to have cheap lighting in an emergency, opt for battery operated flashlights, or even real candles (as long as you keep them away from kids or pets). Or if you like DIY projects, here are a few ideas:

Salt emergency light

Vegetable oil lamp

Beer bottle lamp

Make candles last longer

Flashlights that use just one battery by Ron Brown

I don’t have anything against improvising, in fact, it is a great skill. So if you find yourself in need of light and all you have is a crayon and a match, then sure, make do and try using it for light. Just be aware that you may have trouble lighting the crayon and it will not last very long.

Let’s all get properly prepared for the next power outage. If you’re prepared, you won’t have to rely on crayon candles.

We are an affiliate of, which means we received a small commission if you click through one of our Amazon links when you shop, at totally no cost to you. This helps keep the lights on at the blog. Thanks!

About the author:

Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.

Spread the love


  1. Good article, Bernie! (Looks like you’ve been doing some homework.) I have 8 books for sale on Amazon as part of The Non-Electric Lighting Series. Book #1 is entitled “Candles.” Book #2 is “Olive Oil Lamps &c.” I experimented, in Book#1, with every candle idea I came across. Crayon candles; ChapStick candles; Crisco candles; shoe polish candles; Gouda cheese-wax candles; and several more. Most of them you wouldn’t want on your dining room table in the middle of a blackout (setting fire to the window curtains). But I would like to share a couple of tips regarding improvised candles. (1) Make “tea candles” rather than “taper candles.” With a tea candle, all the melted wax is trapped in the tiny tub that holds the wax. With a taper candle (homemade), much of the melted wax drips down the side of the candle and escapes. (2) Use cotton as a wick. Synthetics (polyester, nylon, rayon, etc.) melt in the heat of the flame. Thus endeth the capillary action which brings melted wax to the flame. No capillary action = no flame. And (3), on the flashlight article Bernie links to in her write-up, the single-battery info starts at 2:18 (so you can skip over my beginning brouhaha LOL). Hope this helps. Good luck to everyone. Stay safe!

    1. Hi Ron! Glad you like the article, I appreciate your take on this. I’m going to have to try the tea candle idea, with a separate wick as you mentioned. Another experiment to try! I figure you have tried them all so thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *