Kids can use the classic crayon and paint technique, to make a scratch art family portrait to give as a gift to a parent or grandparent.
I am super-stoked to share another fun and easy art project with you today! Grab the crayons and the black paint. We using one of our favourite art processes – scratch art – to make a framed family portrait to give to a loved one for Christmas or a birthday.
Do you remember doing scratch art in art class when you were a kid?
It was one of my favourite art techniques when I was in grade school, and it still is!
Along with crayon resisist art and melted wax art, it’s one of my all-time favourite ways to get creative with crayons.
If you’re not familiar with the scratch art process, it’s a layer of crayon covered with paint. When you scratch through the paint, the colourful crayon wax 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!
We’re all about making homemade gifts for the holidays right now, and I’ve been wanting to do a family portrait craft with the kids for a while. This morning, 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 card stock or poster board
- crayons in bright, light colours
- black tempera paint or poster paint
- paint brush
- craft stick (or wooden skewer or toothpicks)
Making your scratch art portrait
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 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 sections of colour are better than thick ones. You’ll get a better variation of colour in your finished project.
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 you to place 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!
More easy gifts that kids can make:
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.
Hello, can you use crayola twistables instead of regular crayons? Or does it have to be the regular kind?
I’m not sure, Mary. I’ve only ever used regular crayons. You could give it a try. I *think* it would work.
Would regular acrylic paint work?
I’ve tried scratch art with acrylics, and I didn’t have much success as the acrylics seemed to adhere too firmly to the crayon wax. It didn’t scratch off nearly as nicely.
What did you use to “scratch”?
Craft sticks (popsicle sticks), but you could use toothpicks, chopsticks etc.
Hi! I wanted to ask you how long does the tempera take to dry? Thank you.
Not long at all, Claudia. It’s a fairly fast-drying paint because it’s water-based. You can always speed up the process with a hair-dryer. I do that a lot to cut down on drying time when I’m crafting with the hooligans.
Good Morning, I’ve found a lot of your crafts Awesome, the problem I’m having is that you give how to do them but with my computer is in one room and the craft area in another it makes it hard to do when you have a lot of little ones. I can’t print these activities am I just not seeing how to do this? Is there a way to print this wonderful crafts?
Do you have a phone or ipad that you could pull the craft up on in your crafting area, Penny? My crafts aren’t printable. As far as I know, I can only make my recipes printable with a special plugin I have installed in my website. Most of the crafts are quite easy. Would it be possible to jot down a few notes at the computer, and take those notes to the craft room with you?