Sandpaper Art with Cast-Off Crayon Bits

The contrast of a grey of a rainy day and the brilliant orange of those California poppies is simply something we cannot resist around here. It makes you get on your mud boots and go tracking...

The terrain of the poppies is always the barren hard arid soil. The colors pop in the landscape, and though it feels dark and drizzly - there is this brilliant color that punches through. It is invigorating.

Some native wildflowers must wait years for the storms to make their seeds explode with life... and they were not there yesterday. They will not be there come autumn...

Nature and art. These are moments full of opportunity for reflection.
All we are doing is simply using traditional art techniques - but applying them to grief and loss in subtle ways for children to learn and grow (and us adults grow too, btw.)

This is a good project for rainy days, days you want your oven on to help warm the house a little. This one is good for older kids - even though "tweens" would reject crayons as a medium - this one is cool enough that they still will want to participate. And it takes a wee bit of patience while the piece bakes and cools - ideal for older kids. With younger wiggly ones, plan something to do during the waiting period.

Our art subject today is an ode to those poppies that we traipsed through in the rain. You can pick any topic that helps you talk about things that are broken and gritty that can become beautiful again...
You will need:
- old crayon shards and bits
- sheet of sandpaper - grittier is better
- an old cookie sheet that can be messed up
- oven set to 120 or warm
- your subject matter

Select a space to work that can get messy with crayons.

Draw a picture on the rough surface with leftover crayons. Be liberal with your application of the crayons, BUT remember that the wax will spread a little upon melting so leave some "room" around things for some spreading. While creating your art, I like to sneak in subtle conversation about how these cast-off bits of crayons that are broken and worn- that people might even throw away - and this gritty paper are going to become something beautiful by the heat. And that the poppies seem to emerge from nowhere in the heat and yet thrive in the rains that fall.
Once the sandpaper is all colored, place in the oven on an old cookie sheet that you do not care about at a low temp - we did 120. You will smell this as it bakes.

Once the pictures are melted on the sandpaper, take it out of the oven. I was surprised to see the printed numbers from the back of the sandpaper showing through - it lightened up as the piece cooled...
Let it dry for about 10 mins... and put on your wall with a little quake hold... here is the result. Cool enough for a squirrelly tween's bedroom wall to brighten it on a drizzly day...