I am super-stoked to share this fun and easy art project with you today! Grab the crayons and the black paint. I’m going to show you how your kids can make a framed “scratch art family portrait” to give to a loved one for Christmas or a birthday.
Hands up if you remember making scratch art when you were a kid. It was one of my favourite art techniques in grade school! I still love it! Along with crayon resisist art and melted wax art (remember our Starry Night project?), it’s one of my all-time favourite ways to get creative with crayons.
If you’re not familiar with the scratch art process, I’ll explain it in detail in a minute, but basically, it’s a layer of crayon, and then a layer of paint. When you scratch through the paint, the crayon colour underneath is revealed.
To young children, the process seems quite magical. For older children, it’s rather mesmerizing and addictive. Once you try it, you’ll see what I mean. Betcha can’t make just one!
I came up with the scratch art portrait idea the other day after making some scratch art Christmas cards with the hooligans. I haven’t blogged about the cards yet, but don’t worry; I will.
The children really enjoyed making those cards, so I wanted to come up with another scratch art project for them to do.
We’re all about making homemade gifts for the holidays right now, so the thought of using the scratch art technique to make a gift came to mind. As I was brain-storming, I spied some black, dollar-store picture frames sitting among our craft supplies and BINGO, my plan came together: scratch art family portraits!
Let me show you how we made them!
For your scratch art family portrait, you’ll need:
- inexpensive picture frame
- white cardstock or poster board
- crayons in bright, light colours
- black tempera paint or poster paint
- paint brush
- craft stick (or wooden skewer or toothpicks)
Begin by cutting your card stock or poster board to fit your picture frame.
Next, gather up the brightest, boldest crayons you can find. I say “bright and bold” because you need the contrast between the crayon colours and the black paint. Dark crayons won’t give you that. For a vibrant “pop”, go with colours like lime green, turquoise, yellow, orange, pink, lavender etc.
Now you’re going to colour your card stock or poster board. Cover your paper with lots of random stripes and blocks of colour. Bend your lines, colour at crazy angles. The more colour you can cram onto your page the better.
Thin bands of colour are better than thick, and small blocks of colour are better than large. You’ll get a better variation of colour in your finished project if you make small sections of colour with your crayons.
When your page is completely covered in crayon and there’s no white showing through, it’s time to give it a coat of paint.
One coat of black Tempera paint should do the trick.
You’ll find that the crayon resists the paint at first, but keep painting; after a few swipes with the brush, your paint will adhere to the wax.
When the crayon is entirely covered with black paint, set it aside to dry.
And now, it’s time to scratch your art!
A word of advice: This isn’t a “messy” project, but I would advise placing a piece of newspaper or something similar underneath because as you scratch the paint off, it turns to a powder. Clean up is easy when you can just tip the newspaper into the garbage when you’re finished.
Get scratching! You’re going to create your art using your craft stick as if it were a pencil. You can draw pictures, write messages, or in our today, create a hand-drawn family portrait.
When your picture is finished, gently tap off any loose paint powder.
Look at the colours of the leaves in that tree. Aren’t they gorgeous?
And look at this colourful family surrounded by hearts and home. So full of love!
When your masterpiece is finished, pop it into the frame, and BAM, suddenly that dollar store frame looks like a million bucks!
And now you have a beautiful scratch art family portrait to proudly display in your home.
I’m fairly certain any parent or grandparent who receives a hand-drawn family portrait will be very pleased indeed.
And now your kids can go ahead and use this process to make homemade Christmas cards and gift tags for the holidays!
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