What may have been your first-ever craft supply gets a fine art spin with this project: colorful crayons are melted to create an expert piece of wall art. Use concentrated hot air to drip glued crayons down a canvas, and let your abstract art essentially create itself. The wax sets in drip patterns to produce an interesting focal point for a kid’s playroom or artist’s studio. This artwork requires somewhat high heat to melt wax into liquid, so it's best left to older kids or adult crafters.
You’ll need the big box of crayons for this project—a total of 70 were used in the example—but it's definitely worth putting the colorful wax to alternate use to create this piece of quick original art.
An 18 x 24-inch canvas is used here, but this project is easily scalable to any sized base. In fact, try varying your background’s color or texture for a unique take on your crayon art. Finally, keep your hot glue handy, and invest in a heat gun for the most controlled wax melting. While a hairdryer does get hot enough to melt crayons, it’ll produce a more splattered, and less drippy, effect than a heat gun.
Pro tip: If opting for the hairdryer as a melting tool, use the diffuser attachment to further focus the hot air and have a bit more control over your art.
Lay Out Your Crayons
Arrange the crayons along one edge of the canvas. Keep in mind that colors placed next to each other will likely mix when melting, so it may be best to align colors that are analogous, rather than complementary—which would lead to muddy, brownish, melted wax.
In this example, the crayons follow rainbow order and there is a crayon-width of space on each end to naturally frame the art. Tweak your pattern until you're completely satisfied with your design; you won't be able to rearrange the crayons once they're glued onto the canvas.
Glue the Crayons Down
Using a line of hot glue per stick, adhere the crayons to the canvas. It’s best to work in groups of two to three crayons at once. We chose to glue the crayons down with their individual names facing up, as a nod to the prominent use of color in the piece.
Melt the Wax
Prop the canvas up on a diagonal over a disposable or covered surface—the crayon wax will melt, drip, and collect onto the crafting surface. Using the heat gun, blow hot air at one section of crayons at a time. Focus the heat at the top edge of the row, allowing the wax to melt and drip from the top of each stick.
For an industrial-strength heat gun on the low setting, it takes only about 60 seconds for the wax to begin melting. Move the heat gun across the row of crayons until each stick has produced a rivulet of wax. If you opted to go the hairdryer route, you'll spend closer to five minutes per section to achieve a melt.
Make Final Adjustments
Experiment with the heat gun: hold it parallel to the crayons to spread the wax sideways and mix the colors more, then bring it down the canvas to even out the rivulets. Allow a few minutes between each pass of the heat gun to let the wax cool and harden, then build up layers to achieve bolder color and added texture. For a more splattered look, hold the heat gun just an inch or two away from the canvas.
Allow to Cool
Once you’ve achieved the desired amount of dripping color, allow the artwork to cool completely in its slanted position. The wax cools relatively quickly and will completely set in less than an hour. Carefully lift the canvas from the crafting surface, pop those solidified pools of melted crayon off, and add them to the kids’ art table for a fun twist on coloring book time.
Display Your Artwork
Set your creation in a bright space—it makes the perfect addition to an office, a sewing room, or a classroom. Hang the canvas with a couple of nails, a little sticky tack (for a renter-friendly option), or just lean it against a wall for a fun display.
Consider taking your melted crayon art to the next level by masking out a silhouette with painter’s tape, then peeling it away for an image in negative space. Or, try a monochromatic piece using a variety of shades of the same hue. The options go far beyond a completed coloring book when it comes to creative ways to use crayons!