Art from Melted Crayon

Today's project started out as paper batik with the kids.
To do paper batik, we were coloring on paper with crayon, then going over it with ink.
However, the kids didn't think it was very fun or interesting.
Of course. 
So as any good mom would do, I started experimenting and set up a melting station on our George Forman grill where the kids could get melted crayon wax for their project.
But melted crayon wax doesn't spread very well. It doesn't stay liquidy long enough.
So we started just dipping the paper into the melted wax on the grill. Which was freaking awesome.
We quickly abandoned the batik idea and rounded up as many broken crayons as we could find.

So here's what we did: 
1. Protect the workspace - melted crayon is a bugger to clean up. We covered the grill with multiple layers of aluminum foil (though hot melted wax cleans off pretty well with a q-tip. Ask me how I know). We also covered the countertop with newspaper so I wouldn't have to clean up the drops of melted crayon that got everywhere.
2. We set up the ground rules. Only mom touches the grill. The kids could help by dropping fresh colors onto the grill, and directing where the papers would go. I also let them use pencils to poke the paper down when air pockets got stuck underneath.
3. Supplies: Aside from using up nearly all the broken crayons we could find, I had the kids cut up some scrap paper into pieces that were about 4 x 6 inches.
4. After everything was all set up, and the grill was all covered with foil, I arranged some crayons on the open grill and we watched them melt (which was way fun). When they were completely melted, I would drop a sheet of paper on long enough to pick up some color. Leave the grill open, just watch out for your knuckles. Ouch.
Experimenting with technique: sometimes I'd drop the whole sheet on there, sometimes I'd put on just a part of it. If I put the whole thing on there, I'd stick a pencil under a corner and lift it up long enough to let it cool and the wax harden, then pick it up with my fingers.
 Yes, those pages had a tendency to be on the hot side, but I don't think anyone got burned. I accidently bumped the grill with my knuckles at least once, but the grill wasn't hot enough to make my finger blister.
When the pages cooled, they had a little bit of curl to them, so we ironed them between two sheets of wax paper, and stuck them in a heavy book for 10 minutes and they were just fine.

Aside from looking freaking awesome, these little puppies are really fun for etching. The kids were using pencils to etch their names on their pages so there wasn't any confusion about who's was who's. 
Also, we have a wood burning fireplace, so I'm hoping to snarf some of the uglier pieces to use as fire starters. I've never put crayon in my fireplace before, hopefully I won't end up with colored wax deposits all over. I'll let you know how it goes.


Dad said...

Pictures! Where are the PICTURES, camera-girl?
Do you remember the "exploding crayon" of 1984? You girls were always leaving crayons in hot cars to melt. Once a can of paint spilled in the back floor - yellow. I convinced you it was from an exploding crayon. No more crayons were left in the car....


Great idea! they look so cool!


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