Working in a similar fashion to 3D-printing pens, but without the futile exasperation of actually trying to make 3D objects, Crayola's new Crayon Melter turns colourful sticks of wax into a thick, goopy, ink that lets kids write on almost any surface imaginable. Can you hear the sound of parents crying in the distance?
Although it uses an enclosed and protected heating element to turn smaller pieces of unwrapped crayons into liquid wax, and a low-temperature extruder that's safe to touch, Crayola is still targeting its Crayon Melter pen at older kids aged eight and up which hopefully means they're past the age of writing on walls, furniture, or themselves -- hopefully.
It takes about a minute to liquify the pieces of crayon after they have been inserted into the back of the melting chamber, at which point you can just start writing with it like an oversized ballpoint pen. Aside from being another novel way for kids to draw that will maybe hold their attention for a few more minutes, the Crayon Melter has the potential for being a legitimately useful tool for grownups too.
The melted crayons adhere to countless surfaces you could never draw on with a regular crayon, and once it dries, which happens almost immediately after extrusion, the results are waterproof and durable, depending on the surface. Removing wax from a pane of glass is almost certainly a lot easier than a piece of fabric.
The Crayon Melter is expected to hit stores later this year for $US25 ($32) and will only include eight crayons to get you started, so maybe it's time to dig up that bucket of crayon shards you had as a kid.