It’s Really Not As Hard As It Seems.
You’ve seen them. Those glamorous Pinterest posts with melted crayon art and the seemingly impossible how-to’s. Attempt after attempt just doesn’t turn out quite right.
Well, my friend, your luck changes here.
You see, the biggest secret to accomplishing such a profoundly perfect pieceis not the glue you use, the time you put in, or even the size of your canvas. The trick is all in technique.
Once you glue the pealed crayons to the canvas and the adhesive has dried completely, you find yourself wanting to aim your hair-dryer straight at the crayons to start melting them, but the moment you do, poof. Your DIY is suddenly a mock-worthy #NailedIt meme.
What most people don’t realize is that gravity ALONE gives the best, cleanest results, so aiming the hair dryer down will not give you the picturesque finished product you want. That forceful air pushes wax away from where the air is hitting the canvas, in all directions except straight down. Once you pull the trigger on your blow dryer, you need to expose the melted wax to the smallest amount of forceful air possible, and to do that, you need to heat the crayons from behind.
In doing so, you achieve the straight, neat and natural flow of melted, colored wax as opposed to blow drying the front of the crayons, where you may blow melted wax in an unintended direction, such as diagonally, which looks undeniably unnatural and can cause the hot wax to fly off the canvas and could potentially burn you. So let’s give this tutorial a try.
I recommend getting a few more cartons of crayons than you think you’ll need. I ended up doing two large canvas pieces for this project and went into it with seven cartons of 24 crayons, thinking I’d need six. I only used just under six cartons but I opened them all up so I could hand select my colors and arrange as I wanted with some to spare. I obviously left out all the blacks, browns, grays and most of the whites. I wanted more color to show through and these neutral tones didn’t quite fit in with the product I had in mind.
I used regular cheap school glue, but I must add that in doing so, you need to let the glue dry for a full 18 hours or so before it’s safe to stand it up at all and start melting. So for my other canvas, I used some super glue that we had laying around and it only took less than 5 minutes to dry. However, with the strength and bonding that comes with super glue, I recommend using disposable gloves. I always have a box of those laying around.
I find that peeling crayons goes much quicker when you slice a long cut the length of the label. Even if you cut the crayon deep, it won’t matter since it will be melted.
Truthfully, the hardest and most tedious task during this project was the peeling of the crayons.
There should be a secondary market of pre-peeled crayons. I’d happily pay more for something like that.
Lay out the crayons on your canvas in the order you think you’ll like before you glue them. This will allow you the ability to make changes and swap spots before melting.
Halfway through my first piece, I realized my initial technique, the one everyone else uses, wasn’t working. This is when I started melting the crayons from behind to get the wax to go straight down. Loved the results.
I sketched out the silhouette of a little girl that I found online and liked. I’ve never been very good at human hands.
Make sure you get quality acrylic paint if you’re adding any painted image to your artwork. Watery paint spreads all over.
I wasn’t concerned with imperfections in my sketch because I knew paint would cover it up; like my awful attempt to draw hands.
After I painted in the silhouette, I painted on grass and a flower. I also added the bubbles and melted the crayons just a little more so the drips would be closer to my subject.
The second one I did turned out a little better as far as the wax melting. I was able to better the technique by then and I painted on the silhouette first, another little boy silhouette picture I looked up and tried to replicate.
This was a fun project for a teacher friend of mine and I really enjoyed photographing the final product with a small sense of pride for having finally #NailedIt for real.
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