Melted Crayon Art

Perhaps I should begin this post by introducing you to my mom, also known as Her Ladyship Craftiness…er, Her Royal Craftiness?  I’m still working on the title.  Regardless, she’s the coolest, most creative and talented woman I know.  She can make pretty much anything.  At least once during high school, I borrowed a friend’s purse, brought it home to Mom, and she whipped one up just like it for me.  Yes, I probably abused the power of being Her Ladyship’s daughter, and I no longer steal my friends’ purses, but the point is:  my mom is awesome.  And she came to visit this weekend.

If you follow Young House LoveBower Power, Making a House a Home, or Style by Emily Henderson you know how timely her visit was, as today is the big reveal for the Pinterest Challenge.  So, this weekend, with Super-Mom by my side, I set out to create this (from here):

The supplies were pretty simple:  canvas, crayons, and hot glue.  We used a 64-count box of crayons and supplemented with a few extras from a 24-count box (to replace the browns and grays we had rejected) and arranged them into a pattern we liked.

The next step was to peel off the paper labels from all 60 crayons.  This was not fun.  We could have left the labels on, but I, unfortunately, preferred the more natural look without them.  Did I mention that this was not fun?

We glued all the crayons to the top of the canvas (pointing down) with a single strip of hot glue from a high-heat glue gun, let it dry for a few minutes, then re-glued a few loose crayons.  Finally, we set our crayon-covered canvas in our car that was sitting in the sun to heat up a bit, setting the canvas up at an angle, in case anything decided to drip down. After about a half hour inside a hot car, the crayons had begun to “sweat”.  That’s when we took matters into our own hands and broke out our super-secret weapon:  my hairdryer from seventh grade.

It worked like a charm.  Melting all the crayons took a while, but Mom and I took turns with the hairdryer in the 90-something degree heat.  I might have had to change my shirt because of all the sweat…more than once.  But it was worth it.

What do you think of our masterpiece?  We were pretty psyched about how well it turned out.  Mom’s now itching to make one of her own (since she let me keep this one), and I’m even planning to try a different variation of the project someday.  I just love all the bright colors!

Total money spent:  $9.60

Total time spent:  about 1½ hours

Did any of you complete the Pinterest Challenge?  I’d love to see your projects, too, so feel free to leave a comment with a link to your own.

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262 responses

    • Here’s a helpful hint……to take crayon wrappers off, simple throw the crayons in a bowl or bucket of water for a few minutes and it’s super easy, just slip off!! Many will actually float off before you get to them.

      • I put the crayons in the water, but you don’t want to leave them in too long otherwise it’s almost impossible to take all of the rapper off. I suggest keeping them in for about 5 seconds before taking them out. I did each crayon one by one since I put them in color order BEFORE I took the rappers off (which was a bad choice since it took WAY longer)

  1. I love how yours turned out, based on the others I’ve seen the blowdryer is very important. Kudos to you and your mom!

    Here is my project for the challenge, not 100% finished but on it’s way.

    theambitiousprocrastinator.blogspot.com/

  2. Hey there! I enjoyed reading through your post! I actually did this two weeks ago and it worked perfectly! I did it two ways. The first time I used a hair dryer and the second time I used the oven. You get two different effects and both are awesome. Here’s a link to my post: http://naptimecraftmommy.blogspot.com/2011/07/melty-crayon-canvas-art.html The oven one is linked at the bottom. I also used a hard canvas and not foam core board. I realize that a heat gun or embossing gun would be the “best” (easiest) method, but my frugality wouldn’t let me go out and buy one!

    • So much fun. I actually own an embossing gun, so we tried it. It is too hot and the crayons and canvas started to smoke. Other issues is that it melted the hot glue we used to attach the crayons and it was hard to control, so the entire crayon slid down the canvas. Oops! We had much better results with the hairdryer. We also found if you use high temp hot glue to attach crayons instead of low temp we didn’t need to reattach them. =) Happy crafting

  3. I love yours! I have been wanting to do it but had only seen it done by running crayons through a hot glue gun, and I didn’t want to wreck mine! I have had this art pinned too!

  4. Hey there! Michelle from The236.net here! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    I love your crayon artwork! I saw this on Pinterest this morning and thought it was so cool! This would be a great project for kids….could you imagine their reaction to it? Amazing!

    Thanks again for stopping by my blog. Can’t wait to get caught up on yours!

    Michelle
    Twitter: @The236

    • Nope. We just brought the canvas inside to dry/cool and harden up. It seems pretty sturdy and shouldn’t need anything unless its within reach of kids or pets who might scratch it.

  5. Suzi,

    I love your blog!! I really want to try making this now. And just curious… which friend’s purse did you steal? And I completely agree about your mom. I’ve always been impressed with her creativeness and craftiness. She completely deserves a fancy-schmancy title :)

  6. Hi Suzi! this is such fantastic work I hope you don’t mind me trying it out too! I have a small question though, it seems like my hairdryer might be a little too strong it tends to splatter the wax when it drip and the weather here right now is just cloudy so no sun! should I buy a hairdyer that’s “weaker”?

    • Hmm…good question. Does your hairdryer have a low setting? I did a lot of mine on the low setting, because, even though it takes longer, I think it gives you better control. Also, try melting the crayons toward the top/base of the crayon instead of just at the tip, where they’re more likely to splatter, and angle your hairdryer down rather than straight at the canvas. I hope this helps, and good luck!

      • thanks for the reply! sadly my hairdyer doesn’t have lower settings than the low setting I’m using :( so weird. I’ll try what you suggested though! if not then I’ll probably try a heat gun or something. haha

  7. Pingback: EyePonder » Blog Archive » Melted Crayons

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  9. This is SO AWESOME!!!
    I am SO trying this out. Gotta get out my old crayons stored away in my closet :D I think I’ll try a mini version of this much appreciated and awesome canvas artwork. :D
    thank you SOOO much for sharing!
    I also love how you didn’t keep the wrappers on, as it does look much nicer without, and I guess the wrappers would’ve burnt out or something.. :O

  10. This project was a disaster! I followed it to the T and it just fell apart. Crayons fell off as theymelted and wouldn’t stick! What a waste of moneyand an afternoon!

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  14. Very cool! I love the vivid colors. My only question is will the crayons melt more if they are in a hot room, or in a place like Florida. Is there a way to ‘lock in’ the current result – I wonder.

    • Good question. Ours has gotten up to 85 degrees with no problem, but beyond that, I can’t be sure. I think it would need to be pretty hot (as in, at least over 95-100 degrees) to cause extra melting. Maybe you could use some sort of clear acrylic spray (like Krylon Crystal Clear) to cover it and lock in the results – that’s my best guess. Good luck!

  15. Hi there, I’m doing this project and I was just wondering how exactly you glued on the crayons? I keep trying but they just won’t stay on :(

    • Hey, Julia – I used a high-heat glue gun (so it will stand up to the heat of the hairdryer) to draw a single line of glue and quickly pressed the crayons into it, making my way across the canvas in small sections. If this isn’t working for you, some people have suggested using some kind of heat-resistant craft glue, which you could try. I hope this helps!

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  18. This is a wonderful idea for classroom art! You can really play around with the colors too. I would love to try this out, and feature my results on my blog. I would be more than happy to link back to your blog and give credit for the original tutorial. Thanks so much! Happy Crafting!

  19. This is fantastic!!! Anything colorful and drippy and runny is so fun, and I love crayon art. I have a gigantic box of broken and unloved crayons that my loveys have forsaken. A very easy way to lose the wrappers is to take an exacto knive and carefully slice — not too deep — the full length of the wrapper. The wrapper will peel right off. I love the wrappers for collage, or just to put in a clear mason jar to look at.

    I’m definitely going to do this today! I have some small canvases and can do a few for my lovey before she gets home from school.

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  25. I did this project today with my sister and we had the best time! It turned out great and we still have another canvas and more crayons so we’ll probably have to do it again soon! The tutorial was great! Really easy to understand. Thanks!

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  28. Hey, I think this looks so cool and pretty and really want to do it! But, I am wondering do you have to do it in the summer/hot day. Or could I in the fall?
    Or I am wondering if I have to put it in my car and if I could just blow dry it…or would that take to long?

    • You can definitely do this in the fall! Really it’s the blow dryer that does most of the work anyway, so it shouldn’t take much longer if you skip the warming-it-outside/in-the-car step. Good luck!

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    • Teresa, I love your crayon art! If I put mine in the oven, do I need to put it at an angle for the melted crayon to run down? And if I do, what do you suggest I use to prop it up?

  33. Hello Suzi!

    I’ve seen this type of artwork on the internet, and i found your tutorial!
    So today i bought a box with 8 (yes really 8 only) crayons and a small canvas. This would be just a test. I went outside (15 degrees) with my canvas and hairdryer. I have no idea what temperature my hairdryer gives? But it didnt worked out really well! The first thing that went wrong: The dark colours melted way faster than yellow and orange? The second thing: the dripping didnt went in straight lines, but it splashed all over the place? Hope you can help me! I made a picture of it just to show how bad it was/still is :)

    http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/308886_10150312476903859_591073858_7915505_535731863_n.jpg

    • I’m sorry it didn’t work for you! My first suggestion, based on what I’ve seen from some other people, is to use Crayola brand crayons. They seem to melt the most uniformly and give the best results. After that, make sure to point your hairdryer at a downward angle, instead of going straight at the canvas. This should prevent the splattering effect and promote long drip lines instead. I hope this helps!

      • I actually think that you’re painting looks really neat! I think that there are multiple ways of doing this kind of art. My first impression when I opened up that link was that it was a bird in flight. How about that?

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  35. I decided to make this yesterday and as soon as my husband got home, he said he loved the idea and ended up taking over the blowdrying part way through! He’s now even decided he wants to do more! He decided to make the colors go more down to the bottom of the canvas rather than leaving it so “drippy” at the bottom. Here’s a link to my blog if you want to check out how ours turned out: http://theblondelawyer.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/crayon-canvas/
    So glad I ran across your blog yesterday! Thanks!
    Oh, and P.S. I used an Exacto knife to get the paper off the crayons, it cuts into the crayon, but I just glued that side down. I got frustrated from peeling after about 10 crayons!

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  38. I actually just finished gluing the crayons on my canvas, and after everything is finished would I have to put something over it, like some sort of spray to hold the wax on after it has dried? Does the wax fall off at all after?

    • Nope, you don’t need to do anything after the wax has dried; it will hold to the canvas on its own. Ours looks just like it did the day we made it. Good luck!

      • I live in a place that experiences random heat waves that reach up in the 80s. When I make this and that happens, will the crayons melt again? I don’t want to ruin my walls!

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    • You could use a heat gun or an embossing gun, if you have one. I’ve heard those work well. Another option I’ve seen is sticking the crayons through a hot glue gun, which gives a different, but cool, effect. Good luck!

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    • That’s a good question, and unfortunately I don’t know the answer…I’m not sure how well oil pastels melt, but you could test it out on one first, just to see if the hairdryer will melt it. Good luck!

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  42. Great idea just finished mine looks great. One thing I have to say though is that if you want best results have hair-dryer at the top tilted down this stopped the wax melting side ways which doesn’t look as good.

  43. thank you very much for the idea!
    I made mine on a mirror instead and it came out pretty well…
    also i didn’t leave my crayons in the car (I was to impatient) and it came out just fine
    thanks!!!!!!!

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  45. Hello, I tried this the other day and it came out really good. But yours is just perfect, mine has splashes of color everywhere and some of the color got mixed together(like the purple and pink) and i didn’t like that, i was just happy because it was my first one. But i want to do a better one and want to know how did you avoid the splashing and color mixing, i have seen in some sites that they use the blower behind the canvas, what do you recommend? -Great site! :)

    • I would recommend pointing the hairdryer at a downward angle toward than canvas, rather than using it straight on. If your hairdryer has a lower setting, that might help with the splashing, too. Also, make sure the airstream is never pointed to the left or right, but instead you should move the whole hairdryer to the left and right (does that make sense?); that could help with the color mixing. That’s all I can think of, but using the hairdryer behind the canvas is an intriguing idea, too, and you could definitely give it a shot. Thanks for stopping by, and good luck!

  46. I’ve tried doing this, but I’ve run into the issue that the hair dryer melts the surrounding crayons, and then it just splatters and doesn’t “run” down the canvas, but instead mixes with all the other colors. Did you use high or low heat?

    • I used high heat, but either should work. Check out my replies to some of the earlier comments for some other suggestions on getting your crayons to “melt nicely”.

    • Absolutely! I’ve seen lots of people do it that way. Just make sure to melt the crayons slowly, so the wax drips down the tip rather than spilling over the crayon wrapper.

  47. I absolutely LOVE this!
    Now, you mentioned you started off by putting the canvas inside your hot car. I really want to get started with this project but its about 25 degrees where I live right now. What alternative would you suggest to get the melting process started?

    • You can just skip straight to the hairdryer. The hot car was more of an experiment to see if it would melt in there, and it sped the melting up a bit, but it’s really not necessary. Good luck!

      • Once I start using a hairdryer, it takes a really long time for it to start melting, and by then my hairdryer has overheated. When I let my hairdryer cool, so does the crayons. And if feels as if I’m starting all over again. What should I do?

      • You’ll want to keep constant heat on the crayons so they’ll melt evenly. If your hairdryer can’t handle that, you might want to find a different one that can. Good luck!

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  50. I used a blow torch and that worked well… but my drips are delicate. I’m thinking of going over it so they are touching the canvas more because a couple have broken off!

  51. hey! yours looks awesome…i did mine in a similar fashion, however the next day there were alot of cracks between the wax. did anyone else experience this/any advice? thanks and happy holidays!!– melanie

    • I actually just noticed a small crack on mine yesterday that I think was caused by the cold, dry air. I would suggest keeping it somewhere warm, or at least in a place that doesn’t experience a lot of temperature change. Hope this helps!

    • I had the same problem! And everytime I’ve fixed it, the next day there are even more cracks! They’re HUGE cracks that make the melted crayon almost peel off the canvas! I don’t know what to do! The weather here is fairly hot, humid, and constant. I have no idea what I’m doing wrong, or how to fix this. Sombody helppppppp. Oh and btw I didn’t use crayola, and I melted them with fire (they REALLY wouldn’t melt any other way) if that explains anything to you O___O

  52. I couldn’t get my crayons to stick onto the hot glue. I would put a strip of hot glue onto the crayon, press it down onto the canvas, then the crayon would fall off and the hot glue would be left on the canvas. :(

    • Were you using a high or low heat glue gun? High heat would work better for this project. Also, you should work quickly between applying the glue and sticking on the crayons, so the glue doesn’t harden until you’ve pressed the crayon firmly onto the canvas. I hope this helps!

      • its much better to leave the wrappers on,though it may look tacky, that way you don’t to worry about them sticking to the glue,it’ll melt if you don’t blow dry it right,and they’ll fall right off.

  53. I live in a very cold region of the U.S., and it will take a long time for the crayons to melt. If I were to leave them in a car, nothing would happen. If I use a hairdryer, it will take a long time. Any suggestions?

    • You really don’t need to worry about the “hot car” step. It doesn’t make much of a difference; it’s the hairdryer that does most of the work, anyway. It didn’t take us all that long with only a hairdryer, but if you don’t want to take the time to do that, you could always try the oven method that others have used (although your results will be slightly different from the hairdryer method).

      • My husband let me borrow his heat gun. It is like a hair dryer but with less blast of air coming out of it and much hotter. It worked so much better and faster than our hair dryer. I highly recommend the heat gun over a hair dryer any day because I had more control over the heat with less air to control the melted crayon drips.
        .

      • Thanks for the tip, Noelle. I’ve heard that heat guns work well for this art, but the hair dryer is still a good solution for those of us who don’t have heat guns and aren’t prepared to spend the money to buy them!

  54. Awesome job it looks great! However I do want to warn you that since crayons are wax based they may not stick well to the canvas over time. Wax sticks better to absorbent grounds. You may be fine though but it’s possible that there could be some flaking of the wax over time. A better ground to use is wood or Masonite.

  55. How do you keep the fragile drips from breaking off? I made to paintings last night and there are several drips on each that have lifted off the canvas slightly. Any suggestions on how to protect them from breaking? Thank you!

    • I don’t have any drips on mine that aren’t connected to the canvas, so I haven’t had to face this issue, but one thing you could do is to frame the art in a kind of shadow box with glass over it. If you don’t want to do that, I would simply suggest not touching it! :)

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    • Not likely. Unless you hang the art directly above the heat source or the room gets to be more than, say, 90 degrees, the crayons aren’t going to melt again.

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  59. Did you re-glue the same colored crayons on top of the melted colors or did you glue the crayons wrappers you took off from before hand back on? I was just curious how it still has the crayon wrapper at the top.

  60. Looks awesome….but it looks even more awesome if you flip it upside down with the “drips” up! Instead of a hairdryer, use a heat gun (for stripping off paint) it gets super super hot and will do the job in seconds.

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  62. I’m more than happy to find this website. I want to to thank you for your time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every bit of it and i also have you book marked to see new information in your blog.

  63. I’m excited to find this website. I want to to thank you for ones time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every bit of it and i also have you bookmarked to look at new things on your website.

  64. Wow…this brings back memories! Back in ’69 or so, I made a ‘painting’ done all in melted crayons. Only I used a candle to melt down the color I wanted and then paint with it. Took hours…but I loved it. Gave it away to a friend….don’t know if it still exists or not!

  65. Nicely done. I found that when I peeled the wraps off the crayons… It was so easy to do with a straight line down with a knife pressing lightly … Then it just cane right off in one piece.

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  68. When I do this with a blow dryer the wet wax tends to go off to the sides and clash with the colors on each side of it. Does anyone know how to make the colors go more straight down? Also how can I do this without the crayons at the top as I have seen some done that way.

  69. I just did this over the weekend! – I don’t like the wrapper on the crayon either – I used 3 different ways to melt it – glue gun, hair dryer & lighter

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  72. I LOVE this, and want to do a version I can hang on my Preschool bulletin board for the start of school. Where could I find a 5′ long canvas? I wonder how many boxes of crayons it would take to do one this long? Or maybe I should do one as you did, and just attach it to the top/center of my bulletin board. Any suggestions?

  73. Use a glue gun. I found out the hard way that just using glue doesn’t work. The heat from the hair dryer will loosen the crayons, and if the canvas isn’t hanging on the wall– the crayons will begin to fall off, in chucks. And its hard to get them back on. Also, watch the size of your canvas, as a 12×12 will leave you little to no working space (and that’s also the where the crayons fell off). I’ve been using a 16×20 canvas, and so far nothing has fallen off, then again they’re both hanging on the wall. I have noticed little cracks in the wax through.

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  75. My grandson’s and I did this for their parents for a xmas gift. We actually did two. Let me back up a 1/2 sec. My daughter (their mother) has a small obsession with “Crayola” In her mind there is no other crayon company. So we actually left the wrappers on deliberately. We did two identical except for one thing. On one canvass we had the name brand “Crayola” facing the front. On the second canvass, we showed the color’s unusual name. I have to tell you that my grandsons are 5 years apart and the youngest is autistic. This was fun to do with them and for a child with special needs to do it was fantastic.

    To prevent cracks in the wax, after it cured a bit, we layed it flat and hit it in spots with the heat source and let it melt into the canvass a bit. After it completely cured, I applied 2 coats of Mod podge Matte spray coating. Since it was matte you couldn’t really tell and it prevented cracks and chips. Just a small tip that may help others in the future.

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  79. I can’t get crayons but I have oil pastels, will oil pastels melt? I can use a hot glue gun , will UHU liquid glue stuff work? And how strong does your hair dryer need to be ?

    Thanks

    • I’m not sure how well oil pastels will work…you could try it, but I would recommend going out and buying a box of Crayolas. You can get them for less than a quarter at back-to-school time. I think super glue/UHU should be fine. As for the hair dryer, mine is pretty old and not that powerful, and it worked just fine. In fact, I think that’s better, because if it’s too strong, the melted crayon will splatter. Good luck!

  80. Can you use regular glue but just heated? And can you you regular paper could I use cardboard because I don’t have poster board.

    • Cardboard would work just fine, probably better than regular paper. As for the glue, you could try Elmer’s (or something like that), but you might want to do a test spot before doing the whole thing, just in case it doesn’t hold. A heavier duty glue is probably a better bet. Good luck!

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