At one point or another, you probably wondered what the white crayon is for when you spotted it in the box of crayons. And you probably have at least one white crayon around the house collecting dust because your kids don’t use them in their art projects.
Did you know that you can write secret messages with white crayons and watercolors? The technique is called color resist, and it produces some beautiful effects that will wow your kids.
The coolest way to use white crayons is to write secret messages. By writing on a white piece of paper, you won’t be able to see the message since it’s white on white. But with the help of some watercolor paint, your message will appear right in front of your eyes!
Crayon Resist Watercolor Art
- White crayon
- Watercolor Paper or cardstock paper
- Watercolor paint
- A cup to wash your paintbrushes
- Draw or write on the watercolor paper with a white crayon. You can write the message before the activity and have your kid reveal it with watercolors. My kids wanted to write their own. Just make sure you press hard enough to get enough wax on the paper.
- Brush over the secret message with watercolor. Don’t put too much paint on the paintbrushes – it’s better to keep the colors fairly light. While you don’t want the paintbrush dripping with water, it’s better to have it wetter to really see the secret message.
Color resist is so fun for the kids. They get to be creative and draw with the white crayon and then reveal what they drew with watercolor paint.
My kids liked to draw different things on white paper, and they loved that I wasn’t able to see what they drew. So mommy had to guess what the drawing was based on some hints they gave.
Then proudly, they would brush over their drawing with watercolor paint and show me the answer! Of course, mommy was always super impressed.
You can draw anything you want, and you are not limited to white crayons. We used yellow crayons to draw some stars, then we used black watercolor to paint the sky. The result is a pretty night sky with twinkling stars.
Imagine drawing fireworks with crayons and black watercolor for the night sky? That would be such a fun art project for July 4th or New Year’s eve. Or instead of the night, draw clouds with the white crayon and a rainbow with all the different colors. You would use a light blue watercolor for the clear blue sky during the daytime.
Why Do Crayons Resist Water?
Crayons resist water, and therefore watercolor paint, because they are made of wax. The watercolor will not adhere to the wax because it is made of colors or pigments that are dissolved in water.
You can find wax in nature as coatings on leaves and stems. That’s why you see raindrops or dews sliding off the leaves. The wax prevents the plant from losing excessive amounts of water as well as protects the leaves from frigid temperatures.
You may be thinking, is it the same reason why oil and water don’t mix? Are both oil and wax hydrophobic? Unlike oil, wax is actually attracted to water, but the force of attraction between the wax and water molecules are not as strong as water to water molecules.
There are so many activities you can do with color resist painting. For example, you can write secret lunch notes to your kids and send them in their lunch boxes with some markers. You can do a counting activity by drawing a certain number of objects and have your child count as he reveals them.
We will definitely be doing this one over and over again!
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