Articles & Features
Displaying your Crayon Box Collection
So maybe you’ve decided to collecting crayon boxes and containers or you are thinking about it. But once you start accumulating them, then what? Most collectors want to display their collections and in the world of crayon collecting it is no different. There are many ways to approach a crayon display. If you plan on collecting a lot of boxes, perhaps a shelving system would work best. On the other hand, if you only plan on getting a few, other possibilities exist.
If you don't have to worry about space considerations and you just want to display a few boxes, one of the most obvious solutions is to use a simple hinged holder or you could find one molded of plastic or have some made. The main problem with crayon boxes is that they don't really stand on their own well and displaying them flat takes up a lot of space quickly and makes them more difficult to look at because you have to be right on top of them. Then, many boxes are lift-lid type and if you do stand them up, you cannot do it completely vertical because the top inevitably pops off and dumps the crayons out. An angled approach seems to work the best for vertical displays if you don't want to hold the box with something. These type of devices are easily obtained but can be spendy and not space conscious. This is a good quick solution for the small collection.
Another possibility is to use a portable show case solution. These can be readily purchased and are good for display many different kinds of smaller collectibles. You could actually fit perhaps a dozen 8-color boxes into one of these. They can be mounted to a wall or simply stacked like a deck of cards or set of book for easy access to look through. It is also quite handy if you want to bring part of your collection to a show or over to another collectibles home. I would think that even if you decide on another method of displaying your collection, this is still a good option to pick up in the event that you do want to pack up a few specific boxes for display. Obviously, these come in different widths and the bigger the box or container, the more expensive these become. They also vary from inexpensive metal framed ones to more elaborate wood ones that are hinged.
If you've really got large collection to display, wall display is probably the easiest way to go. The biggest decision is whether to physically attach your shelving solution to the walls or not. If it doesn't matter, then the adjustable wall-mount bracketing systems are probably ideal as a solution. Regular adjustable shelving units don't work that well for crayon collections because:
They are too deep for a collectors need (crayon boxes are extremely thin for
the most part) because it really cuts down on the room size.
2. Crayon boxes aren't very tall either, and if you really want to maximize your vertical display space, you need a lot of shelves and while display cabinets may offer sufficient holes to adjust shelves, they don't offer nearly enough shelves for a crayon collectors needs.
3. It's overkill to have this fancy wood, metal, or glass case with a back to it since the crayons will most likely obscure the back totally. If you are like me and on a budget for a display, this is a lot of extra cost wasted.
I personally have a lot of crayon boxes and don't like to have them mounted to the walls because my collection room changes a lot over time. I've moved my shelves around many times and reorganized. My solution was to simply take two 1 inch thick by 8 inch deep boards and cut them to the height based on the room and how high you want to take them. I leave room at the top of mine for larger boxes. With these two boards, I don't do anything real precise because with so many crayon boxes being displayed, you just don't see the minor leveling imperfections. So, I simply set both boards side by side and every inch down the length of them, I draw a line across both. These represent my drilling lines. I drill two holes per board per line. These become my holes for mounting brackets to put my shelves on. I then purchase more lumber and cut them down to the width I want to make the shelving unit. I usually don't go very long here because wood tends to sag with weight if it is too long. Then it's as simple as pushing in the shelving brackets and placing the boards as shelves.
Of course, I'm not actually done there. The biggest problem was how to set them so they don't tip over so easily and yet are still displayable. Since I didn't want a big wood construction project on my hands and wood is still somewhat expensive to be used as a backing to rest crayons on, I decided on a simpler solution. I purchase a huge sheet of black artist board from an art shop - costs me like $10 and then I cut it up to use as an angled back rest for my crayons. The mounting is so simple. I take cardboard and create several (4 is usual for the length of my shelves) angled brackets that I tape perpendicular onto the foam board so that it acts as a support. It's as simple as using scotch tape to hold the foam board to the cardboard and it's as simple as taping the whole mechanism to the shelf with more scotch tape. In this way, I can control both the height of the shelf I want to put up as well as the depth of the crayons I want to put on them. I tend to find that crayon boxes that are 24 count or greater can stand on their own just fine but many boxes are much thicker than the standard 8-color box. As you can see, this maximizes my display space with minimal effort and cost. I can put up a complete 300 crayon display unit in about half a day with minimal tools, skills, and dollars. The result is still a very eye appealing collage of crayon boxes. I'm forever moving the shelves on various units to suit my display tastes too. And by the way, the bigger items such as the dovetailed crayon boxes also fit on these shelves - I just don't use the foam board on those shelves. That's one of the reasons I use 8" deep wood. The other reason is that 6 inch or 4 inch is just too wobbly without being permanently attached to the wall.
Wall mounted display units could still use this foam board technique - it's just a good flexible way to rest your cans. I looked at other solutions such as magnets but it didn't seem economical or practical in some cases and it seemed like a lot more work. I'd always thought that another more expensive way to display a lot of crayons was to get a hold of one of those rotating display cases you see in antique shops. Of course, not all the crayons are immediately viewable, but you could easily scroll through a lot of crayons using one of these. If you're not crafty or just don't have the time to build your own shelves you could look into custom shelving options. Shelving can be combined with your room's decor to highlight your collection.
So that's my two cents on some options to consider for displaying your collection. Naturally, there are probably a hundred ways to slice and dice this problem and it depends on your collection, tastes, and budget. Happy collecting...