Try This! Cheap Melted Crayon Stencil Art

8 Jan

I’m not going to go off on a rant of how amazing Pinterest is. It pretty much got me back into crafting, painting and being creative.

One of the most interesting things I have been watching on the site was melted crayon art. A lot of artists online had taken crayons, glued them to the top of a canvas, and melted them with a blow dryer so that they ran down and formed a big colorful rainbow. As cool as that concept was, I knew I could do more and do it better. So here’s what I did:

I used a pack of crayons, painter’s tape, a canvas, an Xacto knife or similar blade, some acrylic paint and a glue gun. You’re going to want to buy a new glue gun, as you will be running crayons through it. I got the glue gun pictured for $2.99 at A.C. Moore, and it would have lasted for another melted crayon project had my brother not blew a fuse in the middle of working and- literally- caused it to light on fire and blow up. Have you ever seen a fireball shoot out of a glue gun towards your hand? Yeah, me either. It was bloody terrifying.

This is a generally inexpensive project. Like I said, the glue gun was three bucks, a 64 pack of crayons was four dollars (make sure you use Crayola. Off brands are thicker and won’t fit into the glue gun), two dollars for the tape, blade and paint and four bucks for the canvas. You can reuse the tape, blade, glue gun and some of the crayons so it ends up being really affordable.

After painting a canvas with your desired color and allowing it to dry, cover the canvas with your artist’s tape. This will be the foundation for your stencil. For this project I decided to use Robert Indiana’s Love sign as my stencil. I was making this for my friend, Alicia, who is from the Philadelphia area like me but now lives in Ohio, so I wanted to make her something to remind her of home.

I drew my stencil onto the blue tape, then very lightly cut away the negative space. Remember that you are working on a canvas, if you cut into it too deeply it will slice through the fabric (which happened to me at one point!).  You might be thinking: why don’t I just draw and cut it elsewhere, then tape it onto the canvas? Originally that was what I did, but painter’s tape will not stick enough if you keep moving it around, it will just peel away and you need this taped down stencil to be completely sealed down.

You need a miniature glue gun because it fits the crayons perfectly, but the spring-loaded lever is thinner than the glue gun’s barrel, so the trigger has to be removed. This is super easy to do. There are several screws holding it together. When unscrewed it will pop open, and the trigger device will pretty much fall out. Screw the gun back together and you’re good to go.

Now it’s time to peel your crayons. And I’m not going to lie, it is super annoying. The easiest thing I found to do was to take your blade and run it down the paper, and it usually pops right off. While you’re doing this start heating your glue gun. Make sure you peel a lot, once you get melting things go very quickly.

Finally, the fun part! Lean your canvas upright, with paper or a drop cloth on both the floor and the background as the crayons can splatter.

Slide your crayons into the gun and allow them to melt a little bit, for about a minute before pushing them through the gun. They should run out almost like water from the top of the canvas all the way down. Push it through for a long time if you want it to run to the bottom of the canvas, but get creative! Make some trails longer and some shorter, with a lot of bright colors! One thing I did that was really successful was flip the canvas from one side to the other. That way I got an even cover on all areas.

When all of the canvas is covered and you are happy with the results, it’s time to remove the stencil. This is the hardest part of the whole process, as the crayon is very brittle and easy to chip away. This is a work of art, here people, not a toy, it should be fragile. Luckily I think I’ve found the easiest process. Either A. light a candle and keep it nearby or B. boil some water and keep that on hand. Then, take your blade and heat it up before tracing the stencil with the blade. Work as slowly as you need to, so that you avoid breaking pieces of crayon off that should remain on the painting. This is the reason I suggest using a slightly less detailed schedule, as peeling away more detailed pieces might be impossible.

Once the stencil is off, you’re done!

I wish I had better photos because I absolutely love this painting. Unfortunately my camera is getting a little old and isn’t as great as it used to be, but this is such a fun and colorful piece, yet still pretty chic. Surprisingly enough it only took me about 2 hours to complete, so I made another one for my boyfriend’s place a few days later. I found this the best method, because through the glue gun the grease and the colors don’t separate like through the blow dryer.

There are a ton of different ways to work this. You could choose one color pattern and work with that to match one specific theme for a room you have in mind, and of course you can do any stencil you want (I was thinking initials might be a really neat touch to a couple’s bedroom). Of course you could always skip the stencil, the crayons look amazing enough together and it really transforms into an interesting modern painting if hung horizontally.

I’m so excited to have a place to hang this up, whenever that is.

4 Responses to “Try This! Cheap Melted Crayon Stencil Art”

  1. Rudy February 28, 2013 at 10:11 am #

    Cool work! Do you think this will work on plywood though? I want to make a massive piece for my room and this seems really worth trying. Thanks!

    • ericabauwens March 4, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

      Hi Rudy, I don’t see why it wouldn’t. It might actually work a little better because it will stick to the wood better! Let me know how it goes!

  2. Hanna November 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Hi, I was wondering where you purchased your canvas from?

    • ericabauwens December 23, 2013 at 11:37 am #

      Hi Hanna,
      I shop at whatever craft stores have the best coupons! In this case, it was most likely Michael’s or A.C. Moore since those are the ones closest to home for me. They always offer really great sales and coupons circulate online every week- plus I buy them in packs of three and save them for future projects!

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