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.
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)
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...
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...
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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