Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Melted Crayon Art and Pointillism + Books

A couple weeks ago, I saw this Round-Up of Melted Crayon Projects on Be Different, Act Normal.  I was intrigued and we have a whole box of not-quite new crayons that have been crying out to be used for something for a while.

So last Saturday, while Little Brother and Sweet Pea were napping, Firecracker and I pulled out the crayons and went to work.

Updated Jan. 2012 to Add:  You might also want to check out my newest Melted Crayon Art...Letter Tiles.  They're done pretty much the same way, but you can see more details and pictures here.

I especially wanted to try a little Pointillism with the crayons.  (Quick random story...when I was about Firecracker's age, we were on a family vacation out of state and went to an art museum with a pointillism exhibit.  I complained about being tired and hungry so much that they eventually cut the visit short.  I felt bad later that my mom didn't get to see much of the exhibit and so for a couple weeks (or maybe it was just a couple days) I made her dot pictures.

Well, this is a  little more sophisticated than the ones I made as a kid, but not quite an sophisticated as the ones in the exhibit.


Here's Firecrackers.

One of the things I love about these is the texture.  When the kids hold them, they can't help but run their fingers over them.  They almost get the look of think "real artists" paints...but of course it's just melted crayon.

Before we started the art project, we also pulled out a few children's books about art.  These were some recent discoveries from the library.

When Pigasso Met Mootisse by Nina Laden is loosely based on the friendship between Picasso and Matisse.  It's a funny story and has some striking illustrations.  Ish by Peter Reynolds emphasizes that art doesn't have to look exactly like what it represents to be cherished.  The boy's pictures don't look exactly right...but his vase does look vase-ish.  A particularly good message for kids who tend to be perfectionists. I figured Ish was a particularly good lead in to a project where we would try using dots to make the picture.

I also showed her a bunch of projects that used pointillism that I'd pinned on Pinterest

It does take some patience to fill things in with dots.  Firecracker started out with dots...

...but eventually resorted to more like coloring with the softened melted wax, which still gave her piece a lot more texture than regular coloring would.

I should also caution you that you need to provide close supervision while doing this project since it involves fire and candles.  Firecracker is 6 1/2 and I don't think I'd do this with a child who any younger or one who's really hyper for their age.  I also wouldn't try this with a group of kids since it does require close one-on-one supervision.

Here's what you'll need to make your own:
  • Board Canvas (or other background...I think cardstock would work.)
  • Oldish Crayons
  • Candle (and lighter or matches)
  • Pencil
Since we were using board canvas, I had Firecracker draw a rough draft of her picture first, in particular to encourage her to draw a picture that filled the space.  Then we lightly drew our designs on the canvas with pencil.

Now it's time to fill things in.  Start by peeling your crayons. You put the tip of the crayon in the flame of a candle just briefly.  If you leave it there too long, it will drip (not a big deal) and if it's not long enough, it won't leave a dot on your canvas.  It won't take long before you're a pro.

Ideally...you'd start by filling in your background, but I didn't think of that at the time and started with the tree in front...which of course should have been the last part to do.  You want to start with the background and work up...but it will work out either way.  I tried to make everything in my picture at least two tone, so I started by loosely filling in the space with one color...

...and then filling it in with the second.

It actually takes quite a bit of wax to fill up these pictures, so you'll want to be sure you've got plenty of old crayons.

And it continues...
One of the great things about this is that you can cover up mistakes since the wax is so thick...and there's virtually no drying time (unlike paint.)  My original plan was a summer scene with mountains and a pine tree, but then I realized the crayons were perfect for a fall scene.

You'll also find that different kinds of crayons and differing lengths of time in the flame yield different textures.  Crayola crayons seemed to be smoother...

...and the dollar store jumbo crayons were king of goopier (but I also didn't melt these as much.)  I actually found this a great way to use up some of those dollar store jumbo crayons that the kids never like to color with because they're too light.  The light blue in the sky and yellow-green grass were dollar store jumbos.  I also liked the mixture of textures that the different kinds of crayons gave.

And I loved a few of the finishing touches Firecracker put on hers...her and her brother swinging...
...and Sweet Pea swinging in a toddler swing.

If you're looking for another fun fall themed melted crayon project, you can check out the Fall Leaves we made last year.  (I saved them and need to pull them out again this year.)

And we used the scraps from that project to make last years Fall Tree Art...which is more appropriate for preschoolers.

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47 comments:

  1. So pretty! I love this idea and they turned out great!! (via Blue Cricket)

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  2. Brilliant! I just love the Fall painting! I have to try this!

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  3. This is wonderful! I've done this with other medium, but never melted crayons, can't wait to try it with the kids! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Looks so fun! The dots kind of remind me of candy!

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  5. Hahahahahaha...yes, I remember that museum trip AND all the wonderful dot pictures you made for me afterwards. But I didn't realize at the time that you were motivated by guilt...I thought you were making them because you were so intrigued by the technique! You were really good at them then...and NOW! Great art project.

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  6. What a fabulous project, although I'll have to wait a few years until my girls are old enough. I used to love pointillism art at school.

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  7. I love what you did - it turned out fantastic!

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  8. Oh wow -- this looks so fun!! I'm going to HAVE to work this into next weeks homeschool plans somehow!

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  9. What a fantastic project!!!! When my kids get a little older, I will definitely give it a try :-)

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  10. WOW!! This is awesome! Love the book Ish by the way! This is going to be a fabulous project to do with me little artist! Thanks for sharing!!

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  11. How fun! Melting crayons is surprisingly fun... we just made the drippy crayon canvases for my craft group and we loved it! My SIL also just informed me that you can feed the unwrapped crayons into a hot glue gun and draw with the wax, so that will be fun to experiment with :)

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  12. I love it! I also love that you are back! This is going on my Summer art class list to try with the kids! Thank you for sharing!

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  13. That's so cool! Perhaps I will try it some time. Plus I love the art children's books, I'm a sucker for that stuff. I need to check out our library here and see how good their children section is.
    I love Firecrackers drawing and how she put her siblings in it :)

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  14. That is awesome. what a fun rainy day activity. Those turned out so cool!

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  15. Just found your blog. Love these ideas! Thanks for sharing. Can't wait until I have more time so I can look at your other posts.

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  16. Love the texture of this artwork!

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  17. wow, I love this! I'll be doing this with my girls soon. I love reusing all those old broken crayons! Thanks so much for the inspiration. I started a link party at my blog and I'd love for you to link this up. If you're interested it's http://caribbeanmissionarywife.blogspot.com/ Have a lovely day, Maria

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    1. and to think I would pass up those large ziploc bags of old crayons at 2nd-hand shops these past years. Sure missed out on lots of fun w/ th grandkids... NO MORE! :-D

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  18. Wow I love how these came out...I can't wait till I can try this with Emily!

    Thank you for linking up to stART :0)

    (I pinned this project on Pinterest)

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  19. I love that little gallery artwork display! That's such a cute idea! I definitely want to do that once my baby is old enough to make his own art : )

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  20. Loved this--did a canvas today . . . but it's coming off. :( Is there something to use to keep it on better? I'm thinking of ironing it with waxpaper between the iron and the artwork. Any suggestions?

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  21. featured this today on my blog!
    www.kimboscrafts.blogspot.com

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  22. I absolutely LOOOOVE this project! It turned out so well and you've inspired me to make one of my own! I also wanted to tell you that I featured you over at my blog here. Please feel free to grab a featured button if you want!

    -Mel the Crafty Scientist

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  23. Just found you on pinterest. I am going to try this with my little girl, love!

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  24. I also came across this amazing idea of yours on Pinterest. I look forward to trying it with my kids. They're going to love the candle part!

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  25. Thank you for posting this!!! I had seen the melted crayon rainbow art on Pinterest, but wanted something different. I found your site by googling "melted crayon dot art." So glad I found this!!! I decided to make a two-page spread from my son's favorite book "The Lorax." Here's what I ended up with: http://anapriladay.blogspot.com/2012/02/crayon-art-turning-crayons-into-scene.html

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  26. You can also do this with a low temp glue gun, the crayons fit perfectly in the back and you can drip-drop them onto your work surface (I like foamboard).

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  27. I love this and Firecrackers name <3

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  28. This looks like so much fun. I know my 3 year old will love this, but he won't last long. I'd like to do it, though!

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  29. So super cute. Thanks for the share. Going to try this for sure with my little firecracker. Ü

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  30. I love this so much. Thank you for sharing.I shall definitely try the melted crayons with my kids.

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  31. Love this... been thinking how to recycle box of crayon.. Thank you...

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  32. Thanks for this info it inspired me to do my own. Here is what I did with your information thank you! I linked you in the post also. http://www.lifeofamadtyper.com/2012/08/crayon-art-part-3-crayon-nightmare.html

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  33. I think this is the coolest ever....I made a simple snowman and it took three white crayons to do it but it was a great past time in the evening. Was going to try to post a picture of it but don't know how to do that.

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  34. Awesome idea that I had to pin!! My daughter will love this. I even have an extra canvas for her!

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  35. What a great idea! I just through some broken crayons away. I may be heading for the trash right now! Thanks for sharing!
    Found you through Show & Tell Saturday.
    Jessica @ A Humble Creation

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  36. Love this , Its an amazing idea.

    Thanks

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  37. Hi Polly!

    You have absolutely inspired me to try this. Winter is here in South Africa and we have three weeks winter holidays coming up, so lots of time for projects like this one. I think my oldest son would really enjoy this. Thank you for sharing :)

    Take care,
    Georgia

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  38. Melting the candle just turns it black :( Tried several different candles and even lighters, all of my dots are mostly black - am I missing something??

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    1. You want to make sure that you're not holding the candle in the flame for too long. In fact, you're more holding the candle next to the flame to it melts. I did have a few black flecks in the yellow and lighter colors, so you want to be especially careful with them not to burn.

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