Easy Fall Art with Melted Crayons

Oct 19, 2016

Oh, how I love crafting in the fall with my daycare hooligans. The colours of the season provide us with so much creative inspiration. The skies are so blue, and the trees are bursting with vibrant shades of red, yellow and orange.

Today, we’re using one of my favourite art techniques — melted crayon shavings — to re-create a classic autumn scene: a vibrant fall tree set against a bright blue sky.

You may be familiar with some forms of melted-crayon art but this one will likely be new to you. Ironing crayon shaving between sheets of wax paper is a classic kids art activity. In recent years, melting crayons with a hairdryer has become a popular way to create unique pieces of art.

Today’s process is a little different. We’re using the low heat of an oven to transform our wax pieces into an explosion of colour on a simple homemade canvas.

We first tried this technique to re-create Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” a couple of years ago. The results were gorgeous, and I’ve been wanting to do it again ever since.

Today is the day! Let's do it!

To make our melted crayon fall trees, you’ll need:

  • crayons in fall colours
  • cheese or spice grater
  • cardboard
  • aluminum foil
  • blue paint
  • paintbrush
  • tape
  • baking sheet

An image of all of the needed supplies: crayons, spice grater, cardboard, tin foil, blue paint, paint brushes, tape and a baking sheet.

Start by making your "canvas". Cover a piece of cardboard with aluminum foil. The panel from a cereal box or pizza box works well. Secure the foil to the back of the cardboard with tape.

Next, paint your sky on the foil. We blended together a few different kinds of blue paint. One was acrylic and two were washable, water-based kids' paints. Set the canvases aside to dry.

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While your paint is drying, grate your crayons onto a plate. For one tree painting, you'll need about 1/4 of a crayon in each colour.

A shallow dish filled with grated crayon shavings in greens, blues, oranges, yellows, pinks and reds.

Wax clean-up tip: To easily remove the wax from your grater when you're finished, pour a kettle of boiling water over it, and give it a quick scrub with a drop of dish soap and an old toothbrush.

Once the paint has dried, lay out the crayon shavings on your canvas. We started with the brown trunk and branches of the tree, and then we scattered the other colours all over the branches. We sprinkled some "fallen leaves" at the trunk of the tree as well.

Crayon shaving sprinkled across the blue

And now, for the exciting part! Set your canvas on a baking sheet, and place it into a 200ºF oven. Don't worry, your cardboard is not at any risk of catching fire at this temperature.

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Watch closely as the crayon shavings almost instantly liquify on the canvas. To see the transformation take place, you can look through the glass in your oven door, or you can leave the oven door open a bit, and watch that way. NOTE: If you're working with very young children, looking through the glass is a safer option.

The wax has melted and spread out to make a beautiful, colourful fall tree!

Leave your painting in the oven for up to 2 minutes, removing when you're happy with the way it looks. Keep it level so the wax doesn't run.

The crayon wax will set quickly at room temperature, but try not to touch or jiggle the painting until it does.

When your painting has cooled, you can punch a couple of holes in top of your canvas, and loop some string through. Now your child can hang his fall masterpiece in a special place at home.

Article Author Jackie Currie
Jackie Currie

Read more from Jackie here.

Jackie Currie is a mother, daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind the blog Happy Hooligans. A self-proclaimed glitterphobe, she specializes in easy, affordable arts & crafts and good, old-fashioned play.

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