Untitled, mixed media on mat board, 2012.
This is a lesson that came about from Pinterest. I needed a short filler lesson for between major units and this one was a smashing success. Sometimes I think I come across as a staunch neat freak to these kids because they were so excited that I was encouraging them to melt crayons instead of color with them! This is a great use for all those little crayon nubs that just cause frustration during drawing units.
Step 1: Glue crayon pieces onto a board with school glue. Peeled crayons will melt faster, if you leave the wrapper on, you will have a wrapper glued in place, but the wax will still melt away. I had pieces of mat board cut in advance for them to choose from. Consider designs or using objects to block and direct the melted wax.
Step 2 : If using blocking objects, tape them in place. I used a cardboard tube held in place with masking tape.
Step 3: Place on newspaper, and preferably inside of a box. The box will help catch the hot molten wax that will spray you and will burn.
Step 4: Turn hair dryer on to high heat and point at crayons. Hold 6 inches or so away form crayon. Point the hair dryer in the direction in which you wish for the wax to flow.
Within a few minutes you should see the crayons start to soften and melt.
You can also use pieces of cardboard to block wax and direct the flow. If you have a helper, be careful of their hands as well.
Once the wax starts to flow, direct it with the hair dryer. If crayons begin to come off, use a pencil or popsicle stick to hold them in place or move. If your hair dryer has a cold air setting, use that to set the wax more quickly.
Step 5: Allow artwork to cool completely before moving. Remove blocking objects carefully so as not to remove wax as well.
This melted wax design reminded me of a wave, so I added the watercolor ship design in later on.
As we discovered through trial and error during this unit, some designs work better than others. This circle just turned into a mess of colors and was not very interesting.
This heart worked well because the student directed the wax with the hair dryer to the outside edges. She then filled in the interior of the heart with collage.
This piece turned into an almost Chagall-like stained glass window of colors.