12.04.2011

Magical Melted Crayon Art

So five years later (or close enough), I finally decided it was time to join the little blogging world and post my first blog.  Exciting, I know.
So anyone that knows me knows that I frequently mention ideas from Pinterest in regular conversation.  And if you don’t know what Pinterest is, well that is such a shame!  You must check it out, http://www.pinterest.com/.  But only if you are prepared to spend endless hours dreaming of the most wonderfully amazing ideas and wishing that you had time and the resources to make them all happen.
Anyways, from Pinterest I saw many pictures of art that people made from melted crayons.  Mesmerized by this, I decided that it was most definitely necessary that I give it a try.  So I forcibly enlisted my little sister to assist me with this endeavor. Oh lucky day!  Based upon all of the fabulous searching online, I came up with a plan:  to use some sort of coordinating color scheme rather than the entire rainbow and to create some additional level of depth by crisscrossing two rows of crayons.
Thus, my handy lil’ assistant and I gathered our supplies, consisting of:
·         tons of crayons (since I wanted lots of multiples of the same color)
·         hair dryer (one with a diffuser might have been a better idea)
·         poster board or canvas (I didn’t want the canvas lines, but it’s all the same)
·         hot glue gun and glue sticks
·         frame for final product (I chose a frame without any glass cover)
·         handy little assistant or method for hanging poster board/canvas

Then we got to work! Well kind of.  After some chitchat, munching, and bumming around, we then got to work… as usual. 
I picked the frame to use for the final product ahead of time so I could calculate the size I wanted to work with.  I didn’t want the crayons to remain in the final product (and I’m not sure that they would have stayed even if I would have wanted them to).  Thus, I measured and marked the size of the frame of my poster board with a pencil. 
I picked out the array of colors that I wanted to use.  My initial thought was to use colors all in the same tone, but then I realized that would have taken a lot of boxes of crayons and well I’m a little frugal so that didn’t happen. I broadened my color choices and I’m glad I did.  Got to keep things interesting, you know. Then I glued the crayons onto the poster board outside of the pencil outline. I chose to space my crayons out sporadically.  Again just getting crazy, trying to experiment.  I wanted some white space on the poster board when all was said and done.  You could put the crayons all right next to each other to create a different look. 
Next, I called on my handy lil’ assistant to lean the posterboard up against her legs so I could start the heating process. Why we thought this was a good idea, I don’t know. I’d recommend putting it on an easel or somehow mounting it somewhere.  My lil’ assistant got a bit too toasty and would have appreciated the mounting.  But, she is a trooper, so she didn’t complain too much. We started working with the crayons glued to the long side of the poster board so that they were at the top.  Not knowing exactly how to hold the hair dryer in relationship to the crayons, we started experimenting.  We held the hair dryer on high heat within 4 or 5 inches of the crayons.  Right before the crayon is ready to “run,” the tip of the crayon gets puffy and wet looking.  Once the tip of the crayon starts melting, the rest of the crayon will melt pretty quickly if the heat remains on that crayon (it literally pours out of the crayon wrapper very quickly).  We found that if you move the hair dryer side-to-side right as the tip is melting, the crayons create a splatter effect.
I worked with small sections of 3 or 4 crayons at a time until all of those crayons had melted and ran.  I held the hair dryer pretty close to the crayons angled from the top of the crayon down.  Moving the heat up and down the crayon seemed to help keep the heat even.  An interesting observation was that the heat from the crayons along the top row began melting the tips of the crayons along the side.
We continued working with sections of crayons until the entire top row was melted. 
A few unexpected observations we made during the process:  (1) Once the crayon wrappers were empty, some crayon wrappers blew off of the poster board.  It might possibly be a good idea to remove the crayons from the wrappers and glue the actual crayon directly to the poster board.  We aren’t sure if that would help, but worth a try next time.  (2) Some chunks of crayon would make it half way down the poster board and then stop in chunk form.  I tried taking the hair dryer directly to the spot where the crayon stopped and attempted to continue melting the crayon.  This distorted some of the crayon lines.  It was kind of a lose-lose… either leave chunks of crayon part way down on the poster board or force them to continue melt.  I think pulling the hair dryer a little further away from the crayons would have melted the crayons a little more evenly and possibly eliminated this problem. 
Then I gave my lil’ assistant a break so she could cool off her legs... and for the crayons to cool down and harden up.  Next we flipped the poster board and started working on the other side in the same fashion.
As the new row of crayons melted, some of the old lines began to melt also.  It was a pretty messy project, but I like the messy look of it. 
And voila! Then we cut out the poster board based upon our frame dimensions.  Framed it and hung it on the wall (ok, ok, so I haven’t hung it on the wall yet. I’m working on it).  B-e-a-utiful!  I was pleased.  It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but I think that is half of the fun of this project.  You really have no idea how it will turn out.  You should try it!   We will probably try it again someday now that we have a better idea what to expect.  We are pretty much pros now.

Kari

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