I’ve seen the melted crayon art canvases all over Pinterest and have been wanting to try one for the longest time. Like many things, however, time gets away from me and I never seemed to find the time – that is, until this week! Tahd was gone for several days and I wanted something fun to try with Gabe during our last few days of summer. Crayons are at insanely good prices right now with back-to-school sales, so it was as though the stars aligned to make this project possible. The equation went something like this…
time + need for fun + cheap craft supplies = automatic success!
The canvas was one we had laying around at home. I had actually started another project with it and never got around to finishing it. Hence the blue paint with gold spatters. I thought about painting the whole thing white again but then decided the blue and gold would probably look fun so I decided to leave it.
It’s really a straight-forward project – glue crayons, melt them with hair dryer, done! But there were a few things I learned along the way I figured I could pass along.
Tip One || I used a 16×20 canvas and somewhere around 85 crayons, I believe. The whole experience took about an hour.
Tip Two || Buy a box of 64 crayons and remove all the dark, dingy colors. I took out all the blacks/browns/grays. Then I combed my house for crayons in brighter, happier colors to fill the canvas. I had recently bought a new box of crayons so I knew we still had some fresh ones laying around. If you don’t, you might want to pick up two 64-packs.
Tip Three || The Roy G. Biv layout looks really fun. I suppose you could try other arrangements, but I’m a huge sucker for rainbows. When I googled some pictures from other people’s endeavors, several people who didn’t remove the dark colors and didn’t arrange the colors in any order were disappointed. I like my rainbow. It’s happy.
Tip Four || It doesn’t take long for the crayon to start melting. You can change the speed of the crayon drips by changing the angle of the canvas and/or changing the positioning of your hair dryer. This is handy when you realize you’re overmelting some sections but you can’t completely remove the heat from the area.
Tip Five || Some people said they used their hair dryer on hot heat on the highest airflow setting. This created a LOT of spattering for me, and I may still have to clean red crayon splatters off my freshly painted white walls. <ahem> I switched to the lower setting and was much happier with the process and result. Also, I kept my hair dryer fairly stationary. I didn’t wave it all across the crayons at once. I’d target a group of crayons, holding the dryer still until they had melted. Then I’d move along to a new area. Finally, I tucked a piece of paper behind each of the top corners of the canvas so that if any more wax spattered it would hit the paper and not the wall.
This all could be avoided by doing the project outside, but we didn’t have an outlet handy so it was inside for us.
Tip Six || Once the wax drips down and you remove the heat, the crayon trails dry quite quickly. If you don’t like the way they dry you can go back over the trails with the hair dryer and melt them again. Likewise, if you want the trails to be chunkier/more 3-dimensional, you can go over the crayons once and let the trails dry and then go back a few more times, gradually building the layers. This sounds more complex than it is, and by the time I actually figured it out I didn’t really care. But I think it’s at least somewhat possible.
Here’s our finished product:
Pretty, right? It’s hanging proudly in Gabe’s room, even though he was more interested in watching than helping.
Oh, and not long after I took that picture I knocked it off the wall (because it may or may not have been perched precariously on the thermostat), and some crayons fell off the canvas and broke. Not to worry – I fired the hot glue gun back up and repaired the whole thing. That’s the kind of art I like – repairable!