Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Discards = Free Crayon Mosiac Art!

At the end of the school year I will collect all sorts of odds and ends that other teachers normally throw out. Short nubby little crayons have become a large collection in my room filling two copy boxes. I've heard of people melting them in various manners to create batiks, or even new crayons, but melting isn't something I'm comfortable with. I wanted to do something safe with my 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders with minimal chance of bleeding and blistering.

This idea originated at a conference years ago where an expert art teacher told me how she would use marker tops to create small scale murals. I didn't have a lot of marker tops at the time, but I did have tons of nubby crayons. Hence, I would give it a try!

I assigned this project to a small group of fourth grade girls, however I think with proper guidance much younger ages could also accomplish this. We used the following materials: one side of a cardboard box, crayons, and glue-all.  I would not recommend school glue because it doesn't have the permanent quality needed.

We drew out a pencil sketch of Van Gogh's Starry Night on the cardboard, then we poured glue in lines across one section at a time, placed the corresponding color crayons on the glue, then continue forth across the entire image. I think the results are rather impressive considering all the materials used to create this work were discards.

Our interpretation of Van Gogh's Starry Night

A couple of pointers about making something like this: I recommend shaving one side of the crayon to create a flat edge that will rest parallel to the cardboard base. I've found that many will pop off easily if they remain cylindrical. This project takes a while and a lot of crayons. If you are working small then I would expect you could finish quicker, but this particular piece is over a foot and a half wide. Lastly, use a lot of glue. Pour it on seams, fill in little gaps.

So far I have a crayon mosiac started at my primary school (K - 2) of our mascot, a giraffe. I would also like to create one at my intermediate school although I'm not quite sure what we should create yet. If anyone has any suggestions feel free to share them!


  1. wow! this is beautiful! How inspiring!

  2. This is AMAZING!!! How did you create the sketch, free hand?

    1. Thanks, I free handed a general drawing with pencil first for my students.

  3. I drew out the design freehand with pencil first on a sheet of heavy cardboard (from a packing box). Then I had students look at a print of the real thing and start filling with corresponding color crayons. This took guidance though and I did fill some gaps here and there. Students did the majority of the work though. :)