Art Techniques for Sunday Church School: Using Crayons

This series of blogs about including art in the Sunday Church School will offer a variety of art techniques and ideas. Each week will focus on one medium, offering a tutorial for one project (which can be used at multiple age levels), as well as several other suggested ways to incorporate the medium in other projects. The purpose of the series is to offer Sunday Church School teachers ideas which they can keep in mind for future reference as they plan to use art in their classroom. Each technique can be applied to a variety of lessons, whether Bible stories, Church history, lessons on the Faith, etc. For the purpose of keeping it simple, the cross will be used in each illustration throughout the series.

There are many techniques for using crayons in the Sunday Church School classroom. Here is one of them: create a colorful picture in dots of melted crayon. To do so, gather your materials. You will need newspaper, paper, pencils, candles, matches, and crayons.

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Prepare your work area. Cover the area with newspaper. Peel wrappers from crayons, leaving only the wax. Place a votive or tealight candle between two students, or provide one per student. Provide each student with a piece of sturdy paper (drawing paper or cardstock) and a pencil. Encourage each student to use the pencil to very lightly draw a basic shape, or write a message on the paper. When you are ready to begin, light the candle(s).

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Show the students how to hold the crayon near the flame of the candle. (You may also want to show them the black soot that gathers in the melted wax if they put the candle INTO the flame, so that they can avoid making that mistake.)
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Demonstrate how to carefully move the crayon, about to drip, to the spot on their paper where they want that drop. Allow the wax to drip from the crayon onto the paper.
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Every color melts and re-hardens at a different rate. Reassure your students that it is okay to drip wax in the candle (it makes the candles pretty!). Also let them know that it is okay for wax to drip on the paper at a place they were NOT planning to have color. That is the nature of this project!

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Repeat the melting and dripping process many times, with a variety of colors, until your image or message is covered in melted wax drops. You may only want to cover the outline of the shape (as shown), or you may want it to be completely filled it. Each artist can decide how they wish their project to look, and drip the wax accordingly.
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Blow out the candles and set the art pieces somewhere for a few minutes to finish cooling before sending them home. Encourage the students to handle their piece with care. The pooled wax can easily fall off.

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Suggestions for different age levels:

Preschool: This project will be difficult for a large group of preschoolers. If you have a small class that follows directions well, you may wish to attempt it, with additional helpers on hand. If not, this may not be a technique you wish to use. Read on for others that would work well with preschoolers!

Elementary: Elementary school students as a whole enjoy this project very much. The younger grades can get frustrated with the labored pace of the project, and with how easily the crayons drip at the wrong place. Consider limiting the number of colors for younger grades, suggesting that each child select a few with which to work. Small pieces of paper and/or large shapes/words to cover with dripped wax will work best for this age group.

Middle/High School: Older students will be able to carefully plan this technique to create a fairly detailed finished project. The students may balk at hearing they will be working with crayons, until they see that they will also be working with fire. There’s something about melting things that students of this age enjoy.

For more information and/or inspiration on this method, see https://everythingburger.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/burger-158-melted-crayons/ and/or http://www.piecesbypolly.com/2011/09/melted-crayon-art-and-pointillism-books.html.

Crayon-related helpful tips:
To quickly remove the wrappers from crayons, simply soak them in warm water for about 10 minutes. The wrappers will come right off, according to http://www.happinessishomemade.net/2013/08/18/recycled-crayons-back-to-school-with-crayola/.

To remove unwanted crayon marks from the walls of your Sunday Church School room, check out the tested methods in this blog: http://www.whatsupfagans.com/2014/03/how-to-remove-crayon-marks-from-walls-pinterest-experiment/

To create a simple art-related gift for your students, check this out: http://www.smallfriendly.com/small-friendly/2012/02/no-sew-crayon-wrap.html

 

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Following are additional techniques for crayon art:
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Crayon-related art projects that could double as gifts:

  1. Use crayon pieces to make a Christmas ornament! Making these melted crayon ornaments would require a Sunday Church School Teacher to hire a few helpers to handle the blow dryers. It would also require pre-cut crayon pieces, and a glove for each child to wear as they handle their warm ornament… But what a pretty result! http://www.meetthedubiens.com/2013/12/melted-crayon-ornaments.html
  2. Color a design on fine sandpaper, then iron it onto a tshirt, napkin, or other fabric to make a crayon print: http://alphamom.com/family-fun/crafts/sandpaper-printed-t-shirt/
  3. Glue the crayons themselves around a bowl or picture frame: https://feltsocute.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/holiday-gifts-for-teachers/.  Or cut them to size (if needed) and then glue them onto a canvas to form a shape or picture: http://the3rsblog.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/project-21-week-23-crayon-alphabet/.

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For Pascha, draw on hot, just-boiled eggs with crayons. The crayon melts on the eggshell and leaves a colorful (and waxed shiny) surface! http://www.diyhangout.com/1624/create-colorful-easter-eggs-using-melted-crayons/

Or, at other times of the year, allow students to draw on hot rocks with crayon. (You will need to have a well-covered work area, a way to heat the rocks beforehand, and a way to handle the hot rocks safely.) http://twigandtoadstool.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/wax-rocks.html

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Here’s a simple crayon art idea (especially useful for very young students): create a scribbled-crayon tape resist! Create a shape on paper using painter’s tape (ie: a cross), and then allow the children to scribble all over the page. Remove the tape to reveal the finished image! http://www.linesacross.com/2012/02/scribble-card.html

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Use crayons to scribble a block of intense, solid color onto a piece of cardstock (or a paper plate, as shown here), cover the color block completely with black crayon, and then scratch off the black to reveal the image in the colors beneath. http://nurturestore.co.uk/wax-crayon-pictures

Or, color a full sheet of paper with intense, solid colors, then lay that page upside down on a blank sheet. Use a ballpoint pen or a sharp pencil to draw on the white side of the colorful paper, The crayon will be impressed onto the blank sheet beneath, leaving a colorful drawing! See http://tinyrottenpeanuts.com/crayon-transfer-technique/ for a tutorial.

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Rub the sides of peeled crayons over paper-covered items* to create a beautiful rubbed image. Try natural items such as leaves (see http://www.firstpalette.com/Craft_themes/Nature/Leaf_Rubbings/Leaf_Rubbings.html) or create your own images with hot glue on cardstock (as demonstrated here http://www.freshlyplanted.com/2013/01/create-with-kids-valentines-week_8726.html).

*For an accurate image, keep both the item being rubbed and the paper still, so that neither moves during the rubbing. Consider affixing the to-be-rubbed items to a clipboards, and then simply clip a piece of paper over the item(s) before rubbing.

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Iron crayon shavings (you know your Sunday Church School kids want to help you sharpen your classroom crayons anyway, right?!?) between pieces of waxed paper; then cut shapes from the finished product. See http://buggyandbuddy.com/crafts-for-kids-make-a-sun-catcher-with-crayon-shavings/ or http://hazelnutgirl.blogspot.com/2010/02/crayon-and-wax-paper-hearts.html for tutorials.


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