How to Make Abstract Crayon Art

If you guys follow us on Instagram, then you may have seen an R rated picture grace your feed in February. Yep…that’s my mom, sister-in-law, and I all holding portraits of a naked man.  I added the nice big red “X” to keep things PG around here.

The three of us had an amazing girls night out at a painting and wine class called Bottles & Bottega. They offer all kinds of painting classes and it’s a fun way to bond, drink wine, and get a little creative. I’ve done it a few times with friends (and even for B’s bachelorette party!), but I’ve never ever done it with a nude model. Let’s just say it was quite the experience and I’m pretty sure I blushed the entire night. The nude painting class definitely forced me to channel my inner artist, as I tried my best to be mature and view our male model as art…and not as some naked man standing on a platform.

Naked man
Heck, I tried. But I still ended up with a pretty crappy painting.

But let’s be real…even if I created a masterpiece, I probably wouldn’t be hanging any naked men in our apartment. Something tells me Finn wouldn’t be very keen on the new art addition. But I certainly didn’t want to waste a perfectly good canvas, so I decided to give the canvas a new life!

How to Make Abstract Crayon Art

I’m sure you guys have all seen the abstract crayon art craze all over Pinterest. You know what I’m talking about….the crayons glued onto a canvas with the color dripping down the piece of art.  I know you’ve seen it before! That look isn’t exactly my style (maybe if I had a kids room or playroom to decorate!), but I still wanted to do something fun using crayons.

So, I ordered a box of 120 crayons off of Amazon and started to plan my new masterpiece…

Supplies to Make Abstract Crayon Art

crayons and white paint

First step, cover the naked man! 3 coats of white acrylic paint did the trick for me. I soon had a blank canvas that was ready for some color.

Crayons to make abstract crayon art

Then it was time to peel the crayons. I decided to go with a color palette of blues, grays, greens, and purples…mostly cool tones. So I took out all of the crayons that I wanted to use and put the rest of the colors away.

Time to get peeling…

soak crayons in water to peel

I asked Finn to help me peel the paper off of the crayons and after attempting crayon #1, he instantly headed to Google to try to find an easier method. Turns out there is a very easy way to peel crayons…just throw them in cold water! The paper magically peeled right off. Who knew?!

hair dryer and crayons

When all of my crayons were peeled, I got out my trusty hair dryer and got ready to “paint” my canvas.

Crayon painting setup

I wasn’t in love with the idea of having melted crayon wax all over your countertop. So I put down a tarp and put the canvas inside a cardboard box while working. You could definitely do this outside if you don’t want to make a mess inside your home.

When my working area was ready, I got down to business. I simply put my hair dryer on the lowest & hottest settings and held a crayon on the canvas as I went. I found that if I went to a higher setting, the crayon wax would fly out everywhere and it got a bit messy, so low is the way to go. As the crayon melted and became drippy, I tilted the canvas all around so the color would spread. Then I grabbed another crayon and did it again, working my way around the canvas. Really there is no right or wrong way to do this. Just be adventurous and layer colors on top of one another.  I also recommend stepping back every few minutes to see how it looks from afar.

Rookie Tip #1: Don’t burn your fingers! The hair dryer can get really hot on your hand when you’re holding the crayon. Try to just hold the crayon on the end, or you could even spear it with a skewer to keep your fingers away from the heat. As your crayons get smaller, you’re more likely to get burned, so just be careful!

how to make abstract crayon art

Rookie Tip #2: If I wasn’t loving a color, I would often lighten it up with a white or light gray crayon on top of it. It gave the color a cool diluted, ombre effect.

abstract crayon art with a hairdryer

For now, I’m enjoying the end result…I mean it’s a heck of a lot better than my naked man. It’s definitely different and very abstract. I love the pop of color it brings to our space, and it has a cool drippy watercolor effect to it. Art is totally subjective, so if this isn’t your style I totally get it. It was just kinda fun to step outside of my comfort zone to channel my inner artist.

So there you have it…the story of the naked man.  He has come a long way from standing heroically on the beach…to being covered in melted crayon.  I think I’d take the new abstract crayon art any day.


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.