So you just bought a new pencil, right? Or maybe you bought a whole box, but every time you sharpen them, the lead breaks and crumbles, leaving you insanely frustrated and ready to give up on everything. Do not fear - this is not your fault. When the pencils are shipped, they easily break and are easily affected by fluctuating temperatures in the shipping truck.
Unfortunately, that means there's a 50/50 chance of you getting a pencil off the Hobby Lobby shelf that isn't broken. In this guide, I'll go over ways to help avoid pencils with damaged cores before purchasing, as well as details on the reason you came here - the title: Should you microwave your Prismacolors to repair them?
When you buy a boxed-set of these pencils, there's really no telling what you're going to get. They're packed in cozy plastic trays to minimize their movement in the box during shipping, but there's always the chance that someone dropped the box before it gets to you, and that can cause a whole world of hurt. If you are purchasing your colors individually from an outlet like Hobby Lobby where they are all displayed in small boxes on a shelf, here's a tip to help you lower the 50/50 chance to more of a 30/50.
Look to the opposite end of the pencil you've picked (opposite to where you'd sharpen it. The colored core should be perfectly centered, and the wood surrounding it should not be two halves of different colors. These factors don't guarantee a perfect pencil, but the chances of you getting one that didn't have a manufacturing error are less when using these guides. I consider it a basic rule of thumb.
Now, onto the microwaving.
I had never tried this until this morning, but had heard of it. I did some brief research and found that 20 seconds worked, though in hindsight I probably should have thought that over more. If you put a stick of butter in the microwave for longer than 15 seconds, it starts popping and hissing up a storm... So for whatever reason I thought microwaving wood and wax for twenty seconds was a good idea...
First and foremost - if you must do this to repair your pencil, I advise doing it very sparingly, and keep an eye on it the entire time. I put mine on a plate, and after five seconds, it sparked as the foil square with the color number on it burned off. Ten seconds later, there was a flash of flames inside and I yanked that sucker out. It caused the wood to split up the side, but I squeezed it together until it cooled down, and scraped off the ashes where it had burned.
I believe it'd be much more successful and stressless to place them in the oven at a really low temperature. It may take longer, but at least you're not at risk of burning down your home. I don't think it'd cause any of the aforementioned problems that way. Just be extremely careful when testing this 'hack'. I would not recommend it, to be completely honest. You might have better luck leaving them in a sunny windowsill or running a hairdryer over them from a distance, or the oven trick. The microwave definitely isn't a safe route, especially if after ten seconds it looks like the Fourth of July in your microwave.
I hope this helps anyone who's been experiencing similar problems.