How to make Crayon Cloisonne. {Kid's Art Project}

This is a tutorial for making Crayon Cloisonne, a kid's art project that will use up all your old broken crayons. Make art, recycle crayons. Win, win. Find other kid's art projects and crafts on my Kid's Art Projects Pinterest Board here.
Support Kid's Art Projects: Learn about Blick's Art Room Aid, a site designed to help art teachers crowdsource funding for art supplies in their classrooms. Your local art teacher can create an art supply wish list, and everyone in your neighborhood can donate a little to fill it and make that art project happen. My local public school, Rosemont Elementary, has an art supply list you can donate to here.
What is Cloisonne?
Cloisonne is an art form from ancient times, used for decorating metal pieces. It divides the colors which are usually made of enamel and separates them usually with wire or thin strips of metal. The name comes from "cloisons" which is "compartments" in French.

It was very popular in Western History in the Byzantine Empire from the 10th to the 12th century. In Eastern History, it was produced most often in the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

Crayon Cloisonne is a kid-friendly, safer version of this art form, which does not use metal or enamel, but does use up all your old broken crayons. And I know you all have a box of those in your house.

White paper (some thin, light-weight type)
Piece of Scrap Wood approximately 5"x 8" works nicely
Glue (any kid-safe kind/brand like Elmer's)
White String
Masking tape 1" or wider
Shavings of crayons in multiple colors (Crayola brand melts the best but any kind will do)
Little cups to put crayon shaving in (save your snack pack lunch cups from jello or applesauce)
Plastic spoons
Oven OR Direct Summer Sunlight
White acrylic paint
Small Stiff Paint Brush

1. Unwrap and sort broken crayons by color. Then "shave" the crayons into little cups using a cheese grater. (This is messy, put down a big sheet of plastic or newspaper)

2. Trace the shape of your wood scrap onto paper in order to create a design that will fit perfectly onto the wood's dimensions. Then, on the paper, draw your design within the traced shape. Any subject matter is suitable as long as it can be created with large, simple shapes. (This is NOT a project for small, intricate designs)

3. Cut out your design and glue it directly onto surface of your scrap wook using a thin, even coat of glue to avoid ripples and buckling. Let it dry.

4. Cut the white string and glue it onto your drawn pencil lines. (Trace just a few pencil lines at a time squeezing the glue from the bottle, then lay the string on top of the glue.) For sharp corners or points in the design, it is best to cut the string to make a point, instead of trying to bend it. Once your entire design is laid in string, let it dry.

5.  Put masking tape all around the edges of your scrap wood to make a 1/2" sticking-up wall that borders the scrap wood. This wall will prevent the overflow of melting wax down the edges of the scrap wood.

6. Spoon, or pinch and sprinkle, the shaved crayon colors into your shapes being careful to cover the surface but not bury the string. Try and use as many colors as possible, keeping them separated by the string. Think about repetitions and patterns you can create. Important: Save one color to use in the background and do NOT use it in the subject matter. This helps with the visibility of the subject matter. Be sure and cover the entire surface leaving no shapes or background unfilled.

7. If it is summer time, simply set the mock cloisonnes out on a flat surface in the direct sun where they won't be disturbed. Check them periodically after the initial 20 minutes, and bring them in once all colors have liquefied. If it is any other time of year, preheat your oven to 175 degrees. Once temperature is set, place them on baking sheet or aluminum foil sheet and "bake" them for 25 minutes. Allow them to cool and melted crayon to reset solid.

8. Remove the tape and paint the edges of the scrap wood completely. Also paint the string which will have absorbed some of the crayon's pigment while melting. (If you turn your paint brush horizontally and dab the stings rather than using a traditional stroke, you will have better results.)

Why art is important at my house.
We put a major importance on art at my house. After all, I did go to art school. I've been in an art career my whole adult life, and I'm trying to get back into an art career at this very moment. We take our children to free museums, theater, concerts, and galleries on a regular basis.

The Arts are as important to my children's education as math, science, and reading. The thinking a child uses to create art lays the foundation for and develops their imaginative idea-generating and critical thinking skills, and these skills are key to life long self-confidence and self-discipline says Americans for the Arts.

According to Adopt the Arts, studies have shown that kids who participate in visual arts express their ideas in more complex language than other students. More complex language equals better grades in school, y'all. Quinn and Luka both take art classes, not only at school, but outside of school at our neighborhood art center. I pay for that with change I find in the sofa.

About Stacy the Art Teacher
I'm going to be featuring Kid's Art Projects on Mommy's Wish List this year, with the help of one of our fantastically creative local public school art teachers, Stacy from Rosemont Elementary. Luka is so lucky to have Stacy as his art teacher both at school, and in the summer. She has some great projects lined up for my kids and yours this year. We hope you enjoy making them.

Mommy's Wish List Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Blick ARA thru The Motherhood.

Subscribe to Mommy's Wish List so you don't miss the upcoming Art Projects for Kids series.

Tip Junkie  


Jeanette Nyberg said...

This is a completely awesome project. I'll try it with my kids- I think any time they get to ruin a bunch of crayons is a good time. See you at the Dick Blick Twitter party!

RedTedArt said...

Wow, what a wonderful project. The results look BRILLIANT and love that you recycled old crayons.

Thanks for joining in with Kids Get Arty.


Anna-Leigh said...

This looks so fuN! I'm going to pin this to do with my girl once she get a little older!

Marie Oliveira said...

Definitely pinned this one! A great project and an interesting read too! Thanks so much for linking this up on Pin It Tuesday! Hope to see you back next week!