We are excited to be participating in a monthly series focusing on Process Art. Since becoming a teacher and then a Mum, I am a huge fan of process art. Through exploration of various art materials, young children are able to make their own decisions. The focus becomes on the art that is being created rather than what the finished product will look like.
This month’s theme is wax crayons. I have to be honest that I struggled to come up with an activity that was wholeheartedly process driven. Our Clay Rainbow Fish ended up to be too adult directed for my liking. This was partly due to my desire to melt the wax crayons and because our craft ended up with a finished product. However, Adam did enjoy the process of creating the wax crayon shavings and directed how each fish would use the small pieces of wax crayon.
To begin with I removed the paper wrapper from each wax crayons and divided the crayons into four colour groups. Adam used the pencil sharpner to grate the crayons down into shavings. Once in a while the wax crayon got stuck in the sharpner so I simply used a plastic toothpick to unclog it.
Although you could use a cheese grater to make wax crayon shavings I wanted to develop Adam’s fine motor skills. I have him a pencil sharpener so that he could grate the crayons independently. This proved tricky but he persevered. It was a new concept for Adam. He had to hold the sharpener still in one hand whilst turning the crayon in the other hand. Furthermore he had to turn the wax crayon in an anticlockwise direction to create the best shavings.
Once we had plenty of wax crayon shavings, we set about making our DIY clay. We used a different recipe to our DIY White Clay we had used to make our heart buttons. This recipe, which we followed on The Imagination Tree, involved mixing bicarbonate of soda, cornflour and water in a saucepan.
Once the clay had cooled, Adam helped me to roll the mixture flat. I placed a fish cookie cutter onto the clay and Adam sprinkled wax crayon shavings into the middle. We removed the fish cookie cutter and used the rolling pin to flatten the wax further into the clay. Once the shavings had embedded into the clay we used the fish cookie cutter to create a dish shape and place it on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Adam wanted to experiment with combining the wax crayon shavings and clay in different ways.
1) Rolling a small amount of wax crayon shavings into the clay before rolling it flat
2) Only using wax crayon shavings from the red/orange container
3) Only using blue wax crayon shavings
4) Rolling a large amount of wax crayon shavings into the clay before rolling it flat
5) Sprinkling a lot of wax crayon shavings but not embedding it into the clay
6) Only using a small amount of shavings
7) This is the fish we created following the instructions above
8) Using a large amount of different coloured wax crayon shavings but not rolling it flat
9) Using a small amount of different coloured shavings but rolling it flat into the clay
Once they were completed, we used a straw to make a small hole in the top of each fish in order for us to hang the Clay Rainbow Fish.
I placed the Clay Rainbow Fish into the oven. I had expected the clay to need a full hour on the lowest setting on our oven. However, when I went to check on them after 20 minutes I noticed that the wax crayon shavings were bubbling. I removed the fish immediately from the oven and let them cool. Perhaps our oven is just too hot – I have never had much success with anything that requires time in the oven.
However, our process art with wax crayons taught us that some of the methods we used above didn’t work. Attempts number 1 and 4 just cracked the fish. With fish number 5 we had used too much wax crayon shavings and the fish fin broke in the oven. All three fish had to be thrown away.
Although we had used a lot of wax crayon shavings on number 8 the fish remained in tack. However, the wax crayon ended up looking burnt. The fish where we used only a small amount of wax crayon shavings ended up the best.
We used blue wool to hang the Clay Rainbow Fish from our decorative hanging tree. Although our Clay Rainbow Fish created a nice decoration, Adam thoroughly enjoyed the process of using wax crayons.
Check out these other crayon ideas from this month’s Process Art Challenge:
Scratch Art Paper for Kids from Powerful Mothering
Melted Crayon Art from Mum in the Mad House
Crayon Melting Art from Kidz Activities
Crayon Smash Artwork from Peakle Pie
Crayon Shaving Sun Catchers from Rainy Day Mum
7 Lessons I Learned from Coloring on Walls (Crayon Process Art) from Preschool Powol Packets
Simple Invitation to Draw with Crayons at an Easel from Stir the Wonder
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