A Very Belated Mother’s Day

IMG_1463I actually gave my mother her gift on Mother’s Day, I just haven’t posted about it until now. Oops. Anyway…

I got into crayon art a couple years ago because of Pinterest, but I haven’t played with it in a while. I did not manage to post about the last few crayon projects I did,  but I assure you, they were cool. But they were kind of generic, or at least as generic as you can get when you’re essentially painting with crayons. (I used blues, greys, and purples to make a rain storm and put a quote about rain on at least 3 canvases.)

Then I found this Pinterest post. This person made a gorgeous canvas by melting the crayons in a way most people hadn’t thought of yet. So I took on the copy-cat project, not knowing what all this would entail. This project took me over six hours because I kept making stupid mistakes. Hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes and knock this out in about an hour.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • a canvas (mine was pretty big, but you could use basically any size)
  • about 15 crayons (take off the paper)
  • sticker paper or masking tape
  • scissors
  • an exacto knife (optional)
  • lighter, spoon, and candle
  • iron and wax paper
  • microwaveable bowl you don’t mind messing up

(the last 3 items are kind of an either/or situation, but I’ll get to that in a minute.)

Step One: Pick a Quote I modified the quote slightly. The original says “my smiles begin with you” in very flowy writing that’s a little hard to read. I changed it to “my smiles began with you” (past tense), since it was a gift for my mother. I also made an effort to make my handwriting legible.

Step Two: Make Stickers! Who doesn’t love stickers? There are two ways to do this. If you have sticker paper (I couldn’t find any), you can simply trace your letters onto there and cut them out. Or you can cover your canvas in masking tape and trace your letters that way. This way is a little more tedious, but definitely cheap. I traced in pen to give myself some wiggle room for mistakes, then went over it in Sharpie. I might help to double up your masking tape to make it a little thicker and easier to work with.

Here's my work-in-progress.

Here’s my work-in-progress. You can see where I messed up on the m, b, and a.

Step Three: Place Said Stickers Make sure your letters are exactly where you want them because there’s no going back once you start the crayon. I put my ‘stickers’ onto a piece of saran wrap (I guess you could also use wax paper, or basically anything see-through) so that I could see where I needed to position each letter as I went.

Step Four: Crayons This is where things get interesting: there are at least 3 different ways to do this. I’ll tell you everything I tried and why it didn’t work/what worked best for me.

Option One: The Spoon Trick This is the method used in the original post. You light a candle, grab a spoon, and put chunks of crayon in it. This will ruin your spoon. I found that the wax didn’t melt evenly and that this method took too long. Every time I got a little bit of melted wax, I’d pour it on the canvas and have to wait for the spoon to heat up again. It was tedious, and I could only heat a little bit at a time. It made me want to scream.

Option Two: The Microwave This method should have worked the best and given me the most freedom with mixing colors, but I apparently bought the least melt-able crayons in the universe. After 2 minutes in the microwave, the crayons weren’t even a little bit melted. I was disappointed, and I was sneaking around the house like a ninja so my mother wouldn’t get a surprise sneak peek of her gift.

Option Three: The Winner! Finally, I gave up. At around midnight, I cursed Crayola, canvas makers, whoever invented heat, and just about everyone and everything in the world. So I went to bed. In the morning, I grabbed the wax paper and an old iron and gave it a last-ditch effort. I cut the crayons up into the tiniest chunks possible, laid the wax paper on top, and took an iron to the mother f——. The iron gave me a surprising amount of control over where the wax went, and worked more quickly than I had dared to hope. However, some crayon went through the wax paper and got on the iron. I’m still questioning physics about how this happened, but I’m not complaining, since it was an old, unused iron, and my project was finally (almost) done! It should come off with some hot water, but I haven’t gotten around to that yet.

Step Five: We’re still doing this? After all of that, I still wasn’t done with my canvas. And neither are you; you have to take the letter stickers off. You can try using your fingernails, but depending on how thick your crayon cover is, this could do some damage to your nails. I’m still pulling crayon shavings out of my nails. I recommend grabbing the exacto knife and going at it. Just be careful not to rip a hole in your canvas!

Step Six: Filling in the Not-So Blanks Once I finally got my stickers off the canvas, I found that a lot of wax had seeped beneath the adhesive. It looked pretty cool, but I wanted people to be able to read the quote from fairly far away, so I filled in the letters with white paint, leaving me exhausted but with an awesome canvas.

And that’s all, folks! It took way longer than it should have, but my mother loved her gift, and I love seeing it at the top of the stairs. Has anybody else had a total Pinterest fail? Did you manage to recover it? How was Mother’s Day, and do you have any ideas for Father’s Day?