So shortly after work ended this summer, I had a bit of an art attack. I’d seen pictures on the internet of some cool paintings people had done by melting crayons onto a canvas, and I figured that it was a good time to try one out for myself. What follows is a bit of a trial-and-error method of making a few of these paintings.
Attempt #1 involved gluing a bunch of crayons to the top of a canvas and melting them with a blow dryer. Turns out: no dice. The blow dryer doesn’t get hot enough. As I was sitting out on my deck, in the scorching sun, attempting to melt these little crayons, I found it ironic that I was the one who was doing the majority of the melting. Then I thought: the sun is already melting me so why don’t I use the sun to melt the crayons?!
Attempt #2 involved me getting my eyebrow-plucking concave mirror from the bathroom and bringing it outside to melt the crayons. I held the mirror so that it reflected the sun onto the crayons. The wax splooched out of each crayon and made a little glob of hardened goo right at the top of the canvas.
The downside was that this took a ridiculously. long. amount of time … plus the wax hadn’t even made it to the bottom of the canvas before it solidified. The other reason why I don’t recommend this method: if you let the beam of light stay on the crayon paper for too long, it will start to smoulder. Oops.
So this lead to …
Attempt #3. Since we just moved, we had a lot of cardboard boxes in the basement. I lined one of them with tin foil and covered the top with saran wrap (convection: it will get you every time), and – voila – a solar cooker!
It worked remarkably well. The wax dribbled all the way to the bottom in no time.
Thus ends my first painting.
Next, I played around with some different techniques for my new solar-cooker-art-maker! I tried lining up the crayons at the top of a second canvas and putting that directly in my solar cooker, but the wax melted out of the crayons a little too fast and made little streams all the way down. There was still a lot of white showing. This one would have looked better if, say, the canvas was already a cool colour.
Then I tried laying the canvas on the bottom of the box, and breaking up the crayons (minus the paper) in an artful arrangement.
Once they melted, I tilted the canvas up in the box and let the wax drip down. That ended up working really well, because – for this particular trial – the white crayons melted much slower than the black crayons (SCIENCE), so they were much more viscous than the black when I tilted the canvas.
As a finishing touch on that one, I melted some brighter crayons on the top and just swirled them around. So avant garde! (I don’t actually know what that means.)
For my final painting, I broke up a bunch of colours in a pseudo-rainbow-y pattern, melted them on the canvas while it was laying on the bottom of my solar cooker, tilted it up, and let all the wax run down.
All in all: it was super fun. I highly recommend trying it. Just don’t be surprised when you poke the wax if it’s a little hot – ow.