Melting Crayon Art Christmas Paintings with Watercolor Resist

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Melting Crayon Art

We did some good old-fashioned watercolor resist painting the other day, using a melting crayon art technique and mostly Christmas colors.

Melting Crayon Art

Melting Crayon Art is Fun!

First, Maia drew with crayon on watercolor paper. I've been wanting to try more of a melted crayon technique, which I had read about in one of MaryAnn Kohl's books, but didn't have the warming tray that she recommends using. However, I finally decided to try it anyway, and use a hot cookie sheet instead. It worked very well!

I placed watercolor paper on a cookie sheet and put both in a 275 degree oven for a few minutes to let them heat up. I set the cookie sheet on top of a couple of towel layers to protect the table and had Maia wear an oven mitt to protect her free hand.

As she drew on the hot paper, the crayon melted, creating more intense, color-saturated lines. Maia thought this was Very Cool. The cookie sheets stayed warm long enough for Maia to do one drawing. I alternated two sheets, one in the oven, and one in front of Maia, so there was always one ready to work on.

Melting Crayon Art 

Afterward, we went back to the studio to paint over the melting crayon drawings with watercolors. I mixed up some watercolors from tubes rather than using the liquid watercolors this time, only because I wanted specific colors (red, green, white) that I didn't have in my "tropical" set of liquid watercolors.

I love the effect of watercolor resist! I think they're beautiful. We have big plans for these paintings, by the way. Maia and I are going to make our own advent calendar this year with fun, artful activities for the countdown to Christmas.

Update: Here's the advent calendar we made with these melting crayon paintings.

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  1. says

    Great idea to use the cookie sheet…will have to try that someday soon. Quick question: do you use watercolor paper? Getting ready to order some supplies and debating about what kind of paper to order. Trying not to spend a crazy amount of money but also wanting to make sure I have things that work well. Ordering liquid watercolors for the first time and excited to finally play around with them. So it was nice timing to see this post.

  2. ginger says

    Hi Jean,
    More blogs to look at:
    No time for flash cards
    Unplug your kids
    Idea:
    If you want to do another one of those posts that poses a question to your viewers… I got one or two!
    1— An awsome sugar cookie recipe that not only tastes great but will work great with cookie cutters
    2—- Book recommendations for all the major holidays:
    Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, VDay
    I would love to get a great collection of books to pull out for my kids at each of these holidays. I hide mine away unitl the month of the holiday and then pull them out for them so they are more special and seasonal for them.
    Thanks,Ginger

  3. says

    I can probably help you with the sugar cookie recipe. THere’s a good recipe for butter cookies (sugar cookies with more flour) in The Best Recipe that is for using with cookie cutters.
    I’d love book recommendations for all the holidays, too! Especially those coming up.

  4. Summer says

    Have you tried putting the crayon drawing in the warm oven (instead of drawing on warm paper)? I wonder if that would work for my slightly younger child.

  5. says

    oohs and ahhs from here. this is one of my favorite techniques as well. for those who don’t to use the hot tray…i find using oil pastels works equally well with my toddlers.
    a sprinkling of salt for a nice speckled effect is always a hit too….

  6. Barbara Zaborowski says

    Great substitute for the warming tray, Jean! I’d try it but we are really far from the oven at my school. Most of the classes have warming trays for the kids to draw on. Last year (with four year olds) we even tried melting crayons in foil muffin tins and then pouring the melted crayons over the paper. The result was so beautiful, bright clear colors with a wonderful waxy quality. I’m thinking we may try melted bits of candles this year.
    Warming trays are very cheap at Goodwill and similar thrift stores.

  7. says

    Ooh! I definitely want to your pouring melted crayons idea! I’ve heard of painting with melted crayons (which I have yet to try) but not pouring them. I think either would be wonderful.
    I’ve tried to keep an eye out for a warming tray at Goodwill, but haven’t seen one yet.

  8. says

    Hey Summer- I haven’t tried that, but it might work. I think part of this is that by drawing on a hot surface, it not only melts the crayon but also gets a lot more of the crayon onto the paper, creating thicker lines, etc. Putting a crayon drawing into a warm oven would melt the crayon, but not necessarily create the thick, intense lines. But would probably still be neat! Definitely worth a try.

  9. ginger says

    Jean,
    I wanted to help you and send you my Christmas book wish list; I’ve either looked at these myself, read reviews on Amazon and looked at star ratings, or read about them on a blog. Can you let me know if you got this so I know all my typing is not in vain. ;) I know you are sooo busy.
    Books to check out for Christmas:
    Mr Willoby’s Christmas Tree
    The Snowman by Raymond Briggs (same one that has the super cool DVD to music only, if you get the old version at library, not sure if new version is changed or not)
    The Christmas Crocodile
    Snow Globe Family
    Little Porcupine’s Christmas
    Christmas Oranges
    Martin MacGregor’s Snowman
    A Gnome’s Christmas
    The Jesse Tree: Stories and Symbols of the Advent
    The Adventure of Christmas: Helping Children find Jesus in our Holiday Traditions
    Jotham’s Journey
    Jesus is coming 25 daily activities to read, color, and cut
    The Last Straw
    Cookie Count
    Santa Mouse
    Bear Stays up for Christmas
    Night Tree
    Auntie Claus
    The Nutcracker (I wouldn’t have chosen, but my daughter was smitten by it and is great to familiarize them with it before they go see the ballet.)
    For Valentine’s Day:
    A Village full of Valentine’s
    The Valentine Bears
    The Day it Rained Hearts
    Halloween:
    The Vanishing Pumpkin
    For this book, I had this idea to link it up with a fun food suprise by having the tradition of hiding and serving up pumpkin pie after I read the book to my kids. This would make sense after you read the book. I did it this year and want to make it a tradition.
    Non-holiday noteables:
    Mother Earth and Her children: A Quilted Fairy Tale
    How to Build an A by Sara Midda
    (that is the letter “A”, I didn’t leave out letters).
    Happy Reading. You rock.
    Ginger

  10. says

    Very cool, great idea. Can’t wait to see your Advent Calendar….I hope you’ll link it up to my Christmas Fun Linky as I knwo it will be super cool.

  11. char says

    I was so inspired by your post (crayons and watercolors) that I went out to get some supplies to try it at home with my son (3.75 years old). I think I’m set, but I am all tripped up about how watercolor paper gets warped. I tried wetting it and tacking it down on an old wooden cutting board (I don’t have the special sticky paper). It helped but still wasn’t flat when it dried.
    What do you do (if anything) to reduce the funky warping with watercolor paper?
    Thank you! Your site is one of my favorites!!!!
    Char

  12. says

    Our paintings buckle some and I just stick them under a stack of heavy books after they’re dry to flatten them.
    You can tape it on all sides and keep it taped down as it dries. That helps. I don’t do that with Maia though (at least not yet). The thicker, better quality watercolor paper doesn’t buckle as much, but again I don’t get the best right now.

  13. Cristina says

    Love this idea! I am going to do this with my 3 year old this week. Where did you happen to get the star-shaped paint bowls? Love them.

  14. says

    My 2.5 year old is getting watercolors for Christmas, and I cannot WAIT to try some of this stuff with him. I’ll have to remember about the salt thing, too!

  15. Melissa says

    I’ve gotten warming trays at Good wills and Garage Sales!!! They are great!!!! Just put wax paper over the warming tray and draw with crayon and instant stained glass! Beautiful!