Monday, July 16, 2012

Crayon Art as all the cool kids are doing it

There have been a lot of pictures of melted crayons on canvas floating around Pinterest lately or not so lately I can never tell because when you're on there, time is kinda distorted.  I've seen things that I shouldn't have seen namely the bottom of the continuous line of pins.  On the front "everything" page.

No one should see that.  I had to go sit outside for 15 minutes to counterbalance.

The thing I've noticed that there are very few examples of how to do it.  Because as it turns out it's a bit harder to actually harder to melt wax than you'd think.  Yeah.  I'm demoting my crafting abilities for that one.  I got a huge donation of used crayons (thank you used school supplies) to dig into.  64 super box of crayons with included crayon sharpener!  With special kid created colors.  For the folks at home they were neon.

I keep a clean workbench ;)  It's actually supplies from the sun art I wrote about earlier.  It's blog meta!

My spin on this was separating out the different colors and create a panel of each that I could then use interchangeably in displays.  Since I had 64 different colors to choose from it's not hard to find enough of each to be able to fill a 4"x12" panel.  I decided to go with blue, brown, and green to start because they're colors that can be appreciated anywhere including my bathroom which has the blue/brown/tan/eggshell theme going for it.  Green had the most diverse of the color options in the box.  Turns out blue is really not a diverse color in terms of what I had available in that box.  Red really isn't either because it easily bleeds into orange.  Then you sit there trying to figure out where to draw the line and why "red-orange" looks more orange then red.

The browns were diverse and glorious.

11 crayons fit across the panel and give plenty of room for the wax to run down for effect.  & it doesn't have to run for very long as crayon likes to remain in a solid state perfect for coloring.  I stripped off the wrappers of the crayons and they hold onto canvas with your basic craft glue.

The diversity of the color blue

When doing this craft make sure you're working on a easily cleanable surface.  I laid out a tarp as my carpet had already had the joy of red acrylic paint.  Which can be easily differentiated from the orange paint.

I'm never getting the security deposit back on this place...

I used the low setting on my hairdryer with a "focus cone" for straightening as well as placing direct blasts of hot air to a concentrated band space.  Since the straightening out is of wax from these wonderfully round crayons, I recommend using this attachment if you've got it.  If not, don't sweat it; let the crayons do that in a few minutes.  Crayons run really well, it just has to get started.  Since the makers didn't want it falling apart in kid's hands, you've got to apply the heat relatively close to the crayons to get it started.

Crayola doesn't respect the hula hoop.  Rose Art may fare better

Also since you are blowing hot air at something that melts, you want to make sure that you're forcing it in the right direction.  Disclaimer: I've tried typing out the sentence about angling the dryer down but it just forced too many bad puns that I'm just going to let you assemble your own from the words "down" "blow" "aim" "lightly" and "oscillate".

While I'm all for decorating the borders, the splatter tends to dominate this

 Try to uniformly heat the crayon which is difficult, but after it gets started it's basically a river and your responsibility is to keep it flowing down the canvas.  The important thing is to not keep constant power on the crayons, if you do you end up with more of a running blob rather than streaks.

Checking for evidence of all the colors running.  Blue: check.

This can be a technique if you want it to be and doesn't look all that bad in the end.  I quickly came to realize people keep the wrappers on so the crayons stay separate at the top and look very true to their original form.  *shrug* I didn't want wrappers maring the color pallet.  Actually since the crayons were preused some had already been through the crayon sharpener in the back of the box and the frayed edges would have killed me on the display.  Alternate heat/no heat while evenly applying heat to all the crayons until you're happy with how the bottom 3/4 of the canvas looks.

Kermit was right.  It's tricky getting it to be green

Pro tip: the longer you try to heat the crayons and try to "fix" it, the worse you usually make it.  This whole heating process can take less than 10 minutes because the more you try to apply heat to the already hot crayons the more you're going to end up with more wax which usually just leads to a wax tidal wave running down the front of the panel.

Actually a fun follow up project would be to use the wax drippings from the melting.  Even though you're aiming down, crafting has an ability to get everywhere.  I love how my tarp looks now that I've finished these 3.  Should've done all of these overtop of black canvas for lines and random splatters of wax...  Looks like I'll just have to do some more!

Missed opportunity #1

So short summary:
1) apply heat close to crayons
2) angle down to force blowing the wax down; still cover work area
3) keep heat source moving for even distribution
4) less is more


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