Local Mom Makes Custom Crayon Packs For Kids

Writer / Jamie Hergott

Photographer / Lacy Clagg Photography

Last November, Michelle Jones noticed that the moms in her daycare provider Facebook group were making custom handmade crayons for their kids. Since it was just before Christmas, Jones saw an opportunity and began making crayon sets right away to sell for Christmas money.

“I just started with trying to make it a business,” Jones says.

While most moms might just make them for her own kiddos, Jones isn’t like most moms. She has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and when a venture in selling LuLaRoe didn’t go as planned, she was on the lookout for another idea. This new business idea perfectly fit the kind of business Jones was looking for.

Jones, a resident of Hendricks County, still keeps busy with her family and other commitments, such as running a daycare out of her home and being involved with her boys’ never-ending schedules school activities.

“That’s my life,” she says smiling. “It’s all about the kids.”

Because of that, Jones appreciates having a flexible business that provides a creative and social outlet for her in the community. She recently set up an Etsy account and a Facebook page. Under her company, Color Me Chelle, Jones melts down thousands of crayons into silicone molds of all kinds of shapes, characters, animals and more. Some of her mold sets include Legos, zoo animals, book and movie characters, Star Wars, Marvel superheroes, flowers, dinosaurs and alphabet letters.

She says what makes her different than other sellers is that she creates crayon packs by customizing coloring sheets and toppers for each pack.

“That’s actually my favorite part,” Jones says. “I do them a lot as birthday party favors. I recently did a crown set for a business fundraiser. And they make great gifts for flower girls, ring bearers, big brother or big sister gifts or even to pass out to little kids at graduation parties.”

Her signature set is a name box: a box with the letters of someone’s name inside.

The process of making the crayons isn’t exactly easy, but Jones still loves it. Her “studio” is simply her own kitchen. With dozens of colored bins lining the wall to keep her sets organized, Jones typically works in the middle of the night when her family is sleeping.

To begin the process, she must commit to unwrapping the large teacher boxes of crayons she orders online.

“I Netflix and sort,” she says, adding that sometimes her boys help, especially her three-year-old.

The boxes come either in packs of 16or 48. The smaller boxes are already organized by color, but the larger boxes are not. She spends roughly six hours unwrapping 800 crayons and sometimes organizing them by color. In fact, she’s melted more than 15,000 crayons since she started in December 2017.

She breaks the crayons, puts them in the mold of her choice, bakes them, tops off the molds, bakes them again and then lets them cool.

When she first started, she was working 20 to 30 hours a week on her Christmas orders. She still makes plenty to stash and sell in her Etsy shop and her Facebook group.

Jones even has a few regular customers. Robin Sweitzer saw an ad for the custom crayons on a Facebook yard sale site and had never seen anything like it before. She immediately made three orders, one for her grandson and one each for her granddaughters in Florida. One granddaughter loved the hippo in her pack so much, she never used it to color with and simply kept it in her room.

“Michelle just does a fabulous job,” Sweitzer says. “Anything I need, she tells me she’s got it and she can get it together. I have been very pleased with every order I have gotten.”

Her most recent order was for a set of six crayon packs for the kids she knows will be attending her granddaughter’s high school graduation open house.

“She does them so professionally,” Sweitzer says. “It looks like a very high-end gift, and you don’t spend an arm and a leg. Michelle is so kind and business-minded but comes across with that personal touch. It’s not all business with her, which I really admire.”

That touch is exactly why Jones loves her business, and it’s also her favorite part.

“I love doing events,” Jones adds. “I love being out and being myself. I love meeting people. They’re so much more exciting in person than just talking to them through the computer. It has nothing to do with my kids. This is unique, and it’s mine.”

You can find Jones’ products online in her Etsy shop at etsy.com/shop/ColorMeChelle.

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