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    Crayons and Neocolors, Oh My!

    "Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up."
    ~Allen Klein

    We have a shoebox of crayons that sits unused amidst the glamorous art materials. The pastels and neocolors, even the sidewalk chalk yield more interest than the crayons. It's a really big box of crayons, contents of so many boxes graciously given to the children over the years.

    In my never-ending losing battle quest to use these crayons artistically, I found a fun project at The Artful Parent that involves crayons and hot cookie sheets, which lead to several creative experiments! We used the idea as inspiration but went on a tangent. We drew mandalas on tracing paper and melted them.

    my daughter's drawing after melting

    before melting

    I heated two baking sheets to 350 degrees F and took them out of the oven and placed the mandalas on the hot metal. The crayon melted instantly - it gets shiny for a few seconds. But it didn't spread, so it doesn't look much different! They are more translucent in the melted spots, so they could indeed be suncatchers with more crayon work. So I put them in the oven for 5 minutes, same result. 

    my daughter drew swirlies at the end

    my drawing melting in the oven

    before melting

    After taking them out of the oven, my younger daughter *carefully* drew squiggles in blue around my mandala while it sat on the cookie sheet. There's a dreamy flow of melty crayons onto the page, but I'm just not a fan of working with super hot stuff.

    With experiments, I like to refine, add a twist, change a factor, brainstorm how to improve the result...

    Off on another tangent, I wondered how Neocolor II's would react to heat. So I drew two quick and colorful mandalas in Neocolors on watercolor paper.

    One went in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. I sprayed it with water every 5 minutes

    my drawing after baking

    action shot: in the oven

    before baking

    The other went out to the back porch to enjoy intense 98 degree sun for an hour. I sprayed it with water after 1/2 hour.

    after sunbathing

    before sunbathing

    Wrap-up... two experiments with great potential and hopes for vivid, melting color... didn't pan out. I might just try spraying the neos with water, without heat. That, my dears, is what experiments are all about. With each experiment, you learn something, you think of new tangents for your experiments, new uses for your art supplies, new tactics.

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    Reader Comments (5)

    Love your experiment with crayons and heat. I was surprised there wasn't a bigger difference too! You have taught me a few things today:)

    06.22.2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

    Interesting experiments! BTW - Love the "action shot" in the oven! Hugs, Terri xoxo

    06.22.2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerri@PringleHill

    Love your blog so much! Thank you for sharing your experiment, even though the outcome wasn't what you wanted. Some of my favorite activities with "forgotten" crayons are:

    wax crayon watercolor resist
    melting crayons on journal pages (like some do with beeswax)
    wax ornaments ( )

    Things I want to try but haven't yet:
    - covering the iron with foil, drawing with a crayon on the foil and pressing cardstock. You can then add watercolor
    - scribbling crayon all over one half of a piece of paper, folding it, writing on the blank top side with a dull pointed object, unfolding to see the secret message
    - using a hot plate with paper on top to "melt" crayons in a design

    For some eye candy, google "carved crayons"

    06.22.2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie K in Taiwan

    *Deborah, Thank you for saying hello! I guess if we knew what would happen they wouldn't be all that experimental, eh? I like to report back on what worked as well as what didn't.

    * Terri, Some would say I was just kooky to photograph paper with crayon melting in the oven. So your support is awesome!

    * Julie, Glad we're not the only ones with excess crayons. I LOVE the idea of using foil to create the resist layer and then watercoloring. Sounds lovely. I will investigate your other ideas. Soooooo appreciated. Thx for the kind words @ Daisy Yellow.

    ~ Tammy

    06.22.2010 | Registered Commentergypsy

    With wax crayon, you can try melting it with an embossing/heating gun.
    When I was much younger, we used to sharpen crayons and put the shavings on a sheet of paper. then, with a piece of wax paper on top, we would iron it to melt the wax. Another thing you can do is melt crayon on a hot plate and run pieces of cardstock through it. Of course, working with heating tools such as those can always be tricky but I don't remember ever burning myself while doing those experiments.

    As for the Neocolor II, I often draw with them and then spray the whole piece with water to let the colours run a bit. Another thing you can do is cover a piece of paper with color from Neocolors and then apply a thin coat of Gesso. The colours will mix a bit with the Gesso but you'll end up with a more muted background.

    FInally, a good way to use both crayons and Neocolors together is to draw or write something with a crayon. Then, color over it with a contrasting color of Neocolor and then paint water over everything. While it's still a bit wet, wipe off the watercolour from the wax crayon parts.

    Have fun!

    06.22.2010 | Unregistered CommenterMissKoolAid

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