Sunday, August 14, 2011

Melty Crayons a la Pinterest

We've all seen this on Pinterest, right? You can buy one in JKCreate's Etsy shop for around $75 or you make one yourself for free if, like me, you just happen to already have all the stuff on hand.

When I saw this I knew I'd be trying it for myself but I also knew I'd be doing it a little different. I like the colors in spectral order (even though she didn't start with red like she's supposed to but I guess we can call that creative license and let it go) but that just won't work for my little pastel house.

I also knew I didn't want the wrappers left on my crayons and that has nothing to do with the fact that all of my crayons are different brands, sizes, shapes, etc. I just don't care for the wrapper look.

Here's the supplies you will need:
     a canvas
     some crayons
     some glue
     a heat gun

Complicated, I know. Before you ask, yes I divide my crayons into color groups and store them that way. These are not the crayons I color with. Those are in a different container. These are the ones I melt.

These crayons are leftover from years ago when we used to do faux encaustic wax painting. See the travel iron in my purple box? You hold the crayon on the plate of the hot travel iron until it melts then you use the iron to paint the melted crayon onto a canvas or cardstock or whatever. Encaustic wax sticks can cost $4 - $8 each which makes no sense to me when a crayon will work just as well. I suppose if I was a professional encaustic painter I'd use the good stuff but I'm not and don't ever intend to be.

Here's a short video on a basic encaustic painting technique if you're interested:

First thing you do is line up the crayons on your canvas and glue them down. Mine were all broken and different sizes but that didn't matter because I knew I'd be melting them all the way down. I took a picture of the crayons before I started melting them but I seem to have temporarily misplaced that picture. The glue I used was the one that was closest to me at the time and it worked great! It's that UHU All Purpose Twist Glue in the yellow bottle.

Let the glue dry then get out your heat gun and go to town. My beloved Weller heat gun is probably 15 years old and it's starting to make a funny noise, which I just ignore since they're pricey and I'm not in the mood to replace it right now. I guess when it bursts into flames in my hand I'll get another one. Once you go Weller you'll never go back.

You stop when you get the amount of melty you want. I wanted lots of melty. This was my first attempt so naturally I learned what not to do. Keep the heat on the crayons and try not to heat up the drips too much or your colors will muddy. Mine got a little too muddy in some areas so I put another crayon on there to melt over the muddy areas. That worked fine.

That's all there is to it! Let it cool then hang it. I put mine in the upstairs hallway on a narrow naked wall. I found that I like the top of the canvas where the crayons were attached better than the drippy parts. I like that blendy, smudgy look. Jayson likes the drips and even had some suggestions for other techniques that I might try.

This is something I would definitely do again, especially if I needed something kind of big but had a small budget to work with. It really does give a lot of bang for the buck.

Oh, I did attempt to melt the crayons by leaving the canvas outside in the sun since our temperatures have been 100+ degrees. A couple of them melted beautifully but most of them just got soft and never ran. I figured it was the cheap off-brands that melted and the brand names didn't. Crappy Crayolas.


Lisa said...

This is so pretty! I love your version!

Melanie @ bear rabbit bear said...


I'd love for you to share it on my "Crafts for Under Twenty Somethings" Thursday blog hop. Hope to see you Thursday!


LaDonna Loehrke said...

Interesting and creative...thinking of which room I want to make one for. :)

Shannon Green said...

Thank you Lisa, Melanie and LaDonna! It was a fun, easy project.

Melanie I'll try to remember to hop over to your place on Thursday. I love blog hops but have a hard time remembering to do them!

Melanie Rogers said...

love this idea! cheap and easy and something i can make in brasil if i can ever find a place that sells canvases! walls are mostly barren here and art is expensive so i'm on the lookout for cool ways to decorate! thanks! :-)

Shannon Green said...

Melanie, here's another idea for you:

It'a a mosaic of 1" squares of scrapbook paper. I saw another one where a mom let her kids watercolor on a bunch of papers and she cut those into squares & made a mosaic out of it. You could also use patterns & textures you find on magazine pages. You wouldn't even have to glue them to a canvas, anything sturdy will work!

I'll keep an eye out for Brazil-friendly art projects for you!

Cherished Bliss said...

This looks like so much fun! I hope you will stop by and share at my party : )

Terry said...

I love how this turned out and thanks for the extra tips.

A Lived in Home said...

Wow! That's really cool!

Marjori Miller said...

Very cute!

I named my son Jayson. He's 12 & when I named him that, I had only seen it I see it all the time. lol

Mel the Crafty Scientist said...

I love this! So fun and creative and beautiful! I saw other versions where people fed the crayons through their glue guns, but that made me extra nervous.... I feel like I could maybe do this too! Thanks for the tutorial! : )

-Mel the Crafty Scientist

SpiderWomanATL said...

With a good heat gun to aim at the glued crayons, I can't help but wonder if that might be even better. At least with a heat gun, maybe aiming the heat to the places needing the most heat could get it or leaving them in a more solid manner might lend even more attempts at even more artistic touches. I might try this on a small swatch instead of a big drop cloth and then...heaven what after that. I'll ask for broken crayons since I don't have kids in the house and not one crayon. Darn.

A Stone Gatherer said...

What size canvas did you use? I have a smaller canvas I was thinking of trying. Should I break my crayons in half then?