Melted CrayonsOver the balmy Thanksgiving weekend not much melted here in Southern California in the way of snow or ice. Yet that didn’t stop my son and grandsons having some fun melting other things. Scrolling through an online series of photos featuring imaginative Pinterest ideas, we laughed and laughed at the paired photos of subsequent failures when others tried to reproduce them. Our favorite was the melted crayon fiasco. But really, what do you expect when duct tape is involved. Melted Crayon Fail

A box of sixty-four crayons had been languishing in a desk drawer under the stairs for over a decade along with some leftover square canvases from a previous art project. How ’bout we experiment? Was this clever art idea really a fail when others tried it? The grands sorted through the crayons choosing just enough sticks to create a rainbow of colors across the 12 x 12 canvas. Glued in place, we left them to dry while we went to see the newest Hunger Games movie.

The Pinterest instructions suggest melting the crayons with a hair dryer…which works, but has a tendency to blow the melting wax across the canvas rather than let it cascade down the tipped surface. My son and I decided to move to Plan B; later in the day I retrieved my heat gun from the mid-town studio I sometimes share with my art partner. Ah, a far superior tool for generously melting crayons as the image above suggests.

Tim's Melted Crayon ArtBut there was lots of melting wax pooling on the newspaper below which seemed a shame to waste. I asked my grandson Tim to get the glue resist canvas he’d been creating for another project we were piloting. We let the excess melted wax drip on his canvas. At the time he thought he’d simply sacrificed an art piece of Chinese characters he was pleased to have worked on. (He is learning to speak and write Mandarin from Chinese foreign exchange student friends at his high school.) And it did look kind of ruined until we began to remelt the wax with the heat gun, tipping and turning the canvas, blowing the colors around until they achieved a great abstract image. Cooled, the colored wax hardened. Tim took a gold metallic paint pen and highlighted the raised glue ridges. Instead of thinking he’d sacrificed his piece, now he was really happy with the results. Even considering it “social media worthy.” Now that’s what I call a successful art experiment.


Grandson Scott’s smaller canvas with an eagle and In God We Trust has a much more water color appearance. He carefully cut and placed smaller amounts of crayon in the specific colors he wanted. Melted and moved around with the heat gun, the lighter application of crayons left a thinner finished surface of wax, a lovely variation on a theme. Grandson Peter had covered his larger canvas with lots of glue resist symbols plus his initial. We experimented with chopping his chosen colors, grating crayons, and scorching the dried glue pattern to compliment the neutral colors surrounding the vigorous purple.

I last posted an art adventure with my grandsons in July 2013. Haven’t they grown in the last three plus years! There were even pillowcases and gingerbread houses made. I love that they are still willing to explore “I wonder what if…” art making with me after all these years. They melt my heart.

4 comments to Melting

  • I love the art that came from melted crayons. I have some art my daughter did when she was little with melted crayons. So loose and authentic….not too much intellectual overlay. Thanks.

  • Jude

    I miss those boys!!! My mom wasn’t kidding that they’re all in growth spurts! I’m going to be the shortest when i get home!

  • Joyce

    I LOVE IT ALL…art and story of the generations! Almost sounds a bit like working wax in encaustic…THANKS!

  • Susie

    What a fabulous adventure….mixed with discovery!!!!! Love it!

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