Friday, February 22, 2013

DIY: Crayons + Watercolors = Prints

Inspired by the cool crystalline shapes of these rubber stamps by Extase, I decided to make a little geometric art this week. I know, I know. You're probably like, Great. More geometric stuff. Soooooo played out. Just like brushing your teeth. BUT the straight lines and clean graphic quality of geometric shapes lends itself handily to this sort of project. AND geometric shapes are fairly easy to handle, even for straight-line-a-phobes like me...

You'll need watercolor paper or thick cardstock and all your Crayola supplies: paintbrush, crayons, and watercolors. Also, I think a pair of scissors is a good idea. You never know when you might need to trim something.

Here's the secret to this project: when you paint over crayon drawings with watercolors, the wax resists the paint and shows through. Now, there are a couple different directions you can take this. Initially, I did all my drawing with a white crayon (shown at the top of this post), so the design ends up dreamy and muted behind the watercolor, but you can also create your design with a specific color crayon and use a similar or contrasting watercolor shade. I chose to use a couple bright colors to demonstrate the design, but have examples of both below.

Sketch out your design with crayons. It can be anything, but these geometric designs--basically triangles on triangles on triangles--is super easy. Make a triangle somewhere on your paper and then add another to it. Add another and another and so on and so forth. Equilateral! Isosceles! Scalene! Break out all those triangle types you learned in 4th grade...or whenever you learn triangle types. I honestly don't remember.

You may notice that I have a particular affinity for scalene triangles. So wonky and misshapen: they're my fav. Also, I really want to call these dodecahedrons, even though I know they're not. I suppose if we're talking pentagons vs. triangles, this shape set would be closer to a icosahedron. Still, that's all equilaterals, and I'm a scalene girl, as we've established.

Did you notice that this one looks kind of like a geo-cat? Totally unintentional, but I was pretty psyched when I saw it. Thank youPareidolia!

The next and last step is pretty simple. Just paint over your design with the watercolor paint. Use as little or as much as you like. I enjoy the way the paint pools at the end of my brushstroke (left), so I tried to amplify that effect.

You can also paint within the lines. Thinking back on it now, I probably should have painted my geo-cat within the lines instead of my blue wonky crystal. Oh well. But look, you can see where I watercolored my front porch pink! 

Also, bear in mind that if you're using cardstock, it'll get all wavy once it gets wet. I started with cardstock, let it dry, and tried to flatten it under my copy of Design Sponge at Home before realizing that I had a perfectly good notebook full of watercolor paper. Silly me. So, you'll notice the earlier prints (done on cardstock) are still a bit wavy. Nothing wrong with that. Just try to go easy on the water if you're using cardstock.

You can also experiment with thick and thin lines, different color washes and fades, or accidental splatters...

Bottom line: just mess around and have fun. Umm, that might be my motto for all DIY projects.

If you do a little crayon + watercolor art, you should definitely send us a picture or a link to your blog or instagram feed. We're always thrilled to hear from you and even more excited when you surpass us in creativity and skill. Seriously. Throwing down the gauntlet!


  1. Hey, thank you for sharing this :) I'll definitely give it a try!

    1. Thanks, Aida! Let us know how it turns out!

  2. It is for the first that I just visited your site and I find it really interesting! Congratulations!


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