Crayola Crayons Through Out the Years

I’m back, this time to talk about Crayola Crayons. Color has always been an important part of my life. Green has been my favorite color since I knew what colors were and I probably liked the color before I knew what it was called. This blog will be solely based on Crayola Crayons. I will be talking about other color topics at a later time.

When you hear the name Crayola (besides crayons) what do you think about? Do you think about the original 8 boxes of crayons or the modern 152 box? It’s true, the offerings of Crayola crayons has changed over the years.


The 72 box of crayons was my introduction to fluorescent colors. Around 1989 when I had them their names were simplistic but the colors were interesting and bright. Of the 8 new colors in this box, six of them were “ultra” colors. The word ultra is from Latin and means beyond. This word was applied to five of the major colors (red, yellow, blue, orange, and green) and also to pink. So for example the fluorescent green crayon was called ultra green. The name literally meant beyond green. I liked the name of these 6 colors as I though the names were interesting. I also thought that ultra yellow, looked more like an orange then a yellow. The final two colors in the box was chartreuse (a yellow color) and hot magenta.


While I’m talking about crayons during my grade school years, I want to mention the humble 16 box of crayons that every student got during elementary school. There was a small variety of colors but I was very excited to get the crayons each year. These boxes of crayons had the 8 standard colors: red, yellow, blue, orange, green, violet, brown and black, plus also white and pink. The rest of the colors were colors that sat halfway between two major colors on the color wheel. For example yellow green sat between yellow and green and blue green sat between blue and green. All 6 tertiary were featured. A tertiary color is a color that sits on the color wheel between a primary color and a secondary color. I will talk more about these tertiary colors in a later blog.


Another interesting thing that happened during these early years were the crayons that my younger brother had. They were called So Big Crayons. They had two assortments. The original assortment was the 8 basic colors with a cute name assigned to it and a picture to go with them. These crayons were larger than the standard crayon and were primarily for younger children. The green crayon for example was Froggy Green and the black crayon was Kitty Cat Black. The black crayon is worth to note since I love cats and have always loved them. I liked looking at the picture of the cat on the crayon wrapper. There was also a second box that contained a second shade of some of the basic colors and also included white and pink. A yellow bucket was also sold (this was my brother’s second box of crayons) which contained all 16 colors.


1990 was an interesting year for Crayola. They planned to retire some of their colors. They selected 8 colors that they thought were dull. Examples of such colors including lemon yellow and green blue. They had formulated 8 new colors with jazzed up names and in certain locations left children try the new colors to see if they were liked. As with any change, a few of the color changes caused complaints. People wanted to try to save colors like raw umber and lemon yellow. Other colors didn’t seem to receive so much love. When I first heard about the changes, I was excited. My mom cut the article out of the newspaper and helped me assemble a book telling the story. Every time a color was mentioned, I wrote out the name of the color with the appropriate crayon. I had to wait months before I could write out the names of the new colors using those crayons. It was hard to wait for the new colors to come out. The fall came, the beginning of a new school year, and I was hoping that a few of the new colors would be in the 16 box of crayons. They weren’t. Eventually I had a chance to get a box of crayons that included the new colors. Jungle Green was one of the colors and one of my ultimate favorite Crayola colors.


When I was in 6th grade, I discovered the 96 box of crayons. A girl had a box of these crayons and was coloring with them while the rest of us were using the school issued 16 boxes. For Christmas that year, I got the 96 box of crayons myself. There was a color naming contest and 16 of the colors were not named. My brother and I wrote our names on the labels for these colors though we did not submit any names to the contest. The 96 box of crayons also had 8 more fluorescent colors. By now the “Ultra” name had been phased out and all the colors had unique names. Ultra Green for example became Screamin’ Green. Eventually the color naming contest was over and the 16 unnamed crayons got their official names. A dark green for example got the name Tropical Rain Forest.

In 1998 Crayola finally made another major jump in box size. They released the 120 box crayons. In this assortment they added another 24 colors. This was the last of the major changes in new crayons that they made. In 2003 they retired some more colors by vote and replaced them with a few new colors. Recently dandelion was voted out and replaced by the color bluetiful.


You may ask, what is the 152 box of crayons then that I mentioned at the beginning? This assortment of crayons is all 120 colors plus 32 specialty colors. These colors are not named and are not technically new colors. They are special versions of some of the old colors. For example some of the colors are sparkly.

Besides changing box sizes and retiring and replacing crayon colors on their main line, Crayola sold other types of crayons throughout the years. For a while Gem Tone crayons were sold. They also had Magic Scent crayons in which each crayon had a scent. Originally the colors were mostly fruit scented with a few exceptions. The pine green crayon was pine scented, and the sky blue crayon smelled like outside air. Due to children apparently eating the crayons, Crayola eventually changed all of the colors to nonfood items. There was also a box of crayons called pinks and purples which supposedly were just all the pinks and purple crayons of the time put into one box.

Now that you know about the various crayon box sizes and assortments, the next blog will talk about color in general. An example will be the color wheel, primary and secondary colors etc. and maybe even a custom shade of green that I will create. Please remember to subscribe to my blog if you want notification to when new blogs will be posted.