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Waxing Poetic

Wax has been used in making art and crafts for centuries. It’s made by bees to create their honeycombs and is also made from plants or chemicals. Wax can be carved and molded to create sculptures and models. When it’s heated it becomes liquid and can be used in many ways. It’s used in candles with fragrances and colored pigments are often added. When heated, bees wax can be mixed with colored pigments and used like paint to create what is called “encaustic” paintings.

One of the oldest-known painting techniques, dating back to 100 AD, this Indonesian fabric-printing technique called “batik” uses melted wax to paint designs on textiles. After the wax is cooled, the fabrics are then dyed and painted. Finally, the dried fabrics are ironed between pieces of brown paper that absorb the wax, leaving the design un-dyed and the fabric soft. Crayons are a perfect way to make drawings and designs on fabric. Check out our Prismatic Owl Friend project for details. For our project today we mixed a few techniques and came up with a new use for our KID MADE MODERN rainbow-colored gem crayon!


Tools Needed:

  1. 100% cotton t-shirt, washed and dried
  2. KMM rainbow gem crayons
  3. Carrot peeler
  4. Ironing board
  5. Brown paper bags, cut open on the sides and flattened
  6. Aluminum foil
  7. Pencil
Step 1:

Carefully use a carrot peeler to shave off curls of wax from the crayon gem on to a piece of foil.

Step 2:

Trace around the outside edge of your t-shirt on to a piece of brown paper bag and cut out. Place the paper cut out inside of the t-shirt to keep the wax from seeping through to the back. 

Step 3:

 Lightly sprinkle the wax chips into a pattern that you like avoiding big clumps of crayon. 

Step 4:

*Ask an adult to help with this step*
Place a piece of brown paper carefully on top of the crayon design. Set iron to medium (no steam) and wait until it's heated up. Pressing down firmly, slowly move the iron across the paper. 

Step 5:

As the iron heats the wax crayons, they will melt into the fabric, and the excess wax will be absorbed into the paper. When the paper is discolored with wax, pull the paper off the t-shirt. Using a new sheet of paper, repeat this process until all wax is absorbed. This may take 2 to 4 pieces of paper depending on how much crayon has been used.

Step 6:

Save the brown papers used in the pressing process, they are often beautiful and can be trimmed into one of a kind note cards! HAPPY WAXING!