You know that old bin of mismatched broken crayons you have lying around? I'm going to show you how you can have fun with them again, while turning them into an awesome customized decoration or gift.
The idea for melting crayons onto canvas is not my original idea, but I did want to take something simple into a more complex direction. The instructable below gave me a good idea of where to start!
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Step 1: Materials
Heres what you'll need.
- A canvas (I used 11"x14")
- a sheet of cardstock or an old cereal box
- a heat source (heat gun, hair dryer, lighter, candle, whatever you want!)
- a silhouette image of what you want to immortalize in wax
- crayons, candles, or any other type of colored wax
- an exacto knife or scissors
- a working surface you can spill some wax on
- painter's tape
Step 2: Cut Out Your Shape
The first thing you'll want to do is print out your shape onto a piece of card stock. If you don't have any cardstock you can use normal paper and trace it onto a cereal box and cut it out from there. I don't recommend using regular paper for this. If you want to go with a really simple shape like the heart in the first step, you can just draw right onto your card stock and skip printing altogether. Try to keep the paper in tact, it will help you later on if you need to clean up the final product.
Step 3: Place and Tape
After you have your shape cut out, position it on the canvas where you want it to be. Then tape down all the edges except for a small piece. This is where you will start. But first, you need wax.
Step 4: Select Your Colors
When sorting through old crayons, its very difficult to tell what the colors are. Test them first on a piece of paper and develop a palette of 2 or 3 colors you want to use, separating the ones that you don't want from the ones you're going to keep. The amount of wax you need will vary, but estimate between 10-20 crayons. This number can vary widely, depending on how much of your canvas you'd like to cover, and on how many layers of colors you want. I like to do at least 3 colors. Don't forget to peel the paper off.
Step 5: Turn Up the Heat
Now that your canvas is ready and you have all your wax, grab a crayon with your pliers and apply heat with your heat gun on low. Point it so that the heat blows across the crayon and is NOT pointing at your canvas. This is extremely important, you don't want to melt the wax that's already on the canvas. The wax should slowly run down the crayon and drip onto the canvas. Be sure to drip some wax onto the edge where your stencil and your canvas meet. You want the wax to pin the stencil to the canvas but not seep under the edge of the stencil. Keep your setting on low. If you turn it too high the wax will blow and splatter everywhere.
Some commenters have asked whether a heat gun needs to be used. The answer is no. This would work just fine with a hair dryer, a candle, even a lighter if that's all you have to work with. Using a lighter is a great way to get just a drop of wax in an area you might want to fill in. One excellent suggestion was to try using a crayon inside a hot glue gun. This will wreck your hot glue gun but would give you a lot of control over your design.
Step 6: Details and Practice
There are a lot of different looks you can get from this technique. Try tilting your canvas at a steep angle to get the raised thick drip patterns seen in the first photo. Tilt the canvas at a shallow angle and the drips will look more like the second photo, flatter and soaked into the fibers of the canvas.
Step 7: Keep Going
Slowly drip wax all the way around your taped edges, peeling the tape as you go and rotating the canvas so the drips go in the direction you want. Be random and don't worry about trying to fix "mistakes". People have a really difficult time trying to make random patterns, we have a tendency to want to space things out evenly. Resist that urge. Keep peeling away the tape until its all gone and your stencil is held completely in place by the wax.
This is the time to make one or two more laps around using some different colors.
Step 8: Peel It! Carefully...
Now it's time to reveal your masterpiece! Hit the wax sealed stencil quickly with the heat and find an exposed edge to slowly pull the stencil up. If it's not coming up, use a little more heat. Using too much will melt all your hard work, or at the very least change its appearance.
Step 9: Clean It Up
After you first peel the stencil off, you might have a perfect shape! But more likely than not, you'll find a few spots where the wax made it under your stencil. If this happens, don't panic. Grab your blade and start to clean up the dirty edges. This is where keeping that original shape will help you out. Lay it over the top and you'll be able to see exactly what you need to clean up. You can see plenty of messy edges on mine. You can save yourself some time if you avoid as much of this step as possible. My girlfriend and I finished this one in about an hour.
Step 10: Done!
Hang your new art on the wall, give it to a friend, sell it on Etsy, whatever!
If you enjoyed this, please consider voting for me in the Wax Contest!