Wax Crayons vs Oil Pastels For Children: Which One Is Better?

wax crayons vs oil pastels

Wax crayons and oil pastels are two popular mediums for children’s art, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will explore the differences between wax crayons and oil pastels, their suitability for children, and their comparison.

Wax Crayons

Wax crayons are made from a mixture of wax, pigments, and additives, resulting in a solid, stick-like form. They are usually wrapped in paper labels, which not only provide an easy grip for small hands but also help to prevent breakage. Wax crayons are available in a vast array of colours, allowing children to experiment with different shades and combinations.

One of the main advantages of wax crayons is their durability. They are less prone to breakage than oil pastels and can withstand the energetic handling typical of young children. Wax crayons are also relatively mess-free, as they do not leave any residue on the hands or clothing. This makes them an ideal choice for parents who wish to encourage their children’s creativity without having to worry about extensive clean-up.

Wax crayons are suitable for children of all ages, including toddlers who are just starting to explore their artistic abilities. They offer a safe and non-toxic medium for children to work with, as they do not contain any harmful chemicals or allergens. Additionally, wax crayons are usually quite affordable, making them an accessible option for families on a budget.

Oil Pastels

Oil pastels are made from a combination of pigments, oil, and wax, resulting in a soft, buttery texture. They are available in a wide range of colours and can be easily blended to create different shades and effects. Oil pastels offer a richer, more vibrant colour payoff than wax crayons, making them popular among older children and more experienced artists.

However, oil pastels have several disadvantages when compared to wax crayons. They are more prone to breakage and can be quite messy, leaving residue on hands and clothing. This can make them less appealing to parents who are concerned about clean-up and the potential for staining. Furthermore, oil pastels can be more expensive than wax crayons, which may be a limiting factor for some families.

Oil pastels are generally better suited to older children, who have developed greater motor control and can handle the softer texture without breaking or crushing the pastels. They are also more appropriate for children who have some experience with art and are looking to explore more advanced techniques and styles.

Also Read: What is Line Drawing?

Benefits of Wax Crayons

  • Ease of Use: Wax crayons are easy for children to handle due to their solid and sturdy form. Their simple design makes them suitable for young children who are just starting to explore art.
  • Precision and Detailing: Crayons allow for precise lines and detailing. They are well-suited for colouring within lines and creating intricate designs.
  • No Mess: Crayons are generally less messy compared to some other art mediums, making them a practical choice for parents and teachers. They don’t require fixatives and dry instantly.
  • Wide Range of Colours: Wax crayons are available in a wide variety of colours, allowing children to explore and express their creativity with a diverse palette.
  • Affordability: Crayons are often more affordable than some other art supplies, making them a cost-effective choice for large groups or classrooms.
  • Versatility: Crayons can be used on various surfaces, including paper, cardboard, and even fabric. They are versatile and can be easily transported.

Benefits of Oil Pastels

  • Rich and Vibrant Colours: Oil pastels produce vibrant and intense colours, providing a visually appealing result. They are known for their ability to create bold and expressive artwork.
  • Blending and Layering: Oil pastels can be easily blended and layered, allowing for the creation of unique textures and a broad spectrum of colours. This makes them suitable for more advanced techniques and artistic exploration.
  • Versatility in Surfaces: Oil pastels can be used on a variety of surfaces, including paper, canvas, wood, and fabric. This versatility allows for experimentation with different textures and effects.
  • Expressive Artwork: Due to their soft and buttery consistency, oil pastels are ideal for creating expressive and free-flowing artwork. They allow artists to experiment with various strokes and techniques.
  • No Dust: Unlike some dry pastels, oil pastels do not produce dust, making them a cleaner option for artists. This can be particularly advantageous for individuals with respiratory sensitivities.
  • Long-lasting: Oil pastels are durable and do not easily break. They can last longer than some other art supplies, providing good value for money.

Also Read: Drawing ideas for beginners

Wax Crayons vs Oil Pastels:

Wax crayons and oil pastels are both popular art mediums for children, each with its own set of characteristics. Here’s a comparison between the two:


  • Wax Crayons: Wax crayons are made of a combination of paraffin wax and colour pigments. They are generally firmer compared to oil pastels.
  • Oil pastels: Oil pastels are made from pigment, a non-drying oil, and a wax binder. They are softer and more buttery compared to crayons.


  • Wax Crayons: Crayons produce a smoother and more controlled texture on paper. They are well-suited for detailed work and precise colouring.
  • Oil pastels: Oil pastels create a vibrant texture on paper. They can produce a more painterly effect and are excellent for blending colours.


  • Wax Crayons: Crayons are easy for children to handle and are suitable for both large and small areas. They allow for more defined lines and are great for colouring within the lines.
  • Oil pastels: Pastels are great for broad strokes and larger areas. They are less precise than crayons but allow for more expressive and creative freedom.


  • Wax Crayons: While crayons can be layered, they may not layer as well as oil pastels. Overlapping colours with crayons may result in a wax buildup.
  • Oil pastels: Oil pastels can be layered easily, allowing for the creation of rich and dynamic colours. They can also be scraped or blended to achieve various effects.


  • Wax Crayons: Crayons are generally less messy than oil pastels, making them a preferred choice for parents and teachers concerned about potential mess.
  • Oil pastels: Oil pastels can be messier than crayons due to their softer texture. They may smudge more easily, and hands may get dirtier during use.


  • Wax Crayons: Crayons do not require fixatives as they dry instantly and do not smudge easily.
  • Oil pastels: Since oil pastels remain somewhat malleable, they might benefit from a fixative spray to prevent smudging. However, this is not always necessary.

Also Read: Ways to Boost Your Child’s Drawing Skills

For more such articles, read EuroSchool blogs.

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