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Oil & Light: Melted-Wax Stained Glass for Chanukah

oil light 011I could have sworn I blogged about the melted-wax craft I did a month or so ago, but I guess I didn’t:  it was a stained-glass leaves project that I first found at this blog (via the Crafty Crow).  I’m sure I have pictures of them somewhere, but never mind.

I tried both the oil-style shown there and the watercolour-paint-resist style.  The leaves were interesting but not fabulous, but I did decide to revisit the project for Chanukah:  I mean, OIL and LIGHT (thanks to the luminously translucent melted wax)… it’s PERFECT!

I am so happy I did. 

When we did the leaves, I had to resort to using preheated cookie sheets and they cooled off so fast they barely worked for more than a couple of minutes of melted-crayon colouring.  (the cookie sheet method illustrated)

This time, I dug up an old electric skillet that I never use because the teflon is all flaky and horrible.  Great for melty craft projects!

(I hate when being a packrat pays off like this, because it only encourages me to hold onto EVERYTHING in case I eventually discover a use for it)

oil light 003I warned the kids sternly about touching the pan.  See how careful Naomi is being?  I had her choose an Internet picture but also draw one freehand to colour in with wax. 

Warning:  this process is utterly addictive once you get started.  First, the crayon gets a little soft and then it starts oozing everywhere.  It’s like paint!  The colours get deeper and richer as well and you get a huge area of solid bright colour with almost no effort – just glide the crayons around the page. 

[Weird aside you can skip if you want:  I have discovered that one brand of crayons in our box MASSIVELY outshines all the others.  They are Playskool, and not only do they melt at a safe low temperature, they’re big, chunky crayons.  Unfortunately, I have no idea where we got them, and the Playskool website gives no indication that they even make crayons.  The blogger I got the idea from says she uses Melissa & Doug for these projects, so I even went out and bought some.  They are nice crayons, but didn’t find they melt well at all.  Different brands will differ wildly (Crayola didn’t work with the cookie sheet method at all), so be sure to test various brands of crayons at various temperatures before turning them over to the kiddies.]

Naomi thought it would be like regular crayon-colouring and was pretty cynical at first (for some reason, we all dislike crayons!).  But she and even GZ warmed to it (ha ha ha) almost right away.

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Here, he’s brushing his picture with paint.  I told Naomi to choose one “wash” technique for each picture – paint or oil – so she could see the different effects.

She chose oil for her preprinted menorah:

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Then paint for her freehand drawing.  Ted said the black paint (see top picture) was too grim, so I was trying out other colours and she did, too).

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(the crayon areas are a little glowier than the paint ones… but it’s subtle)

Gavriel Zev chose BOTH paint and oil!!!  (he chose this colouring picture himself)

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There’s a lot of hassle, but arts and crafts must be my one of my favourite parts of homeschooling… when I was working full-time and the kids were in school full-time, we almost never did crafts together.  They got their artistic muscles worked out at school anyway (so what’s the point) and we were all too drained at the end of the day/week to even think about tackling a project.

Yup, I oil light 014 homeschooling!!!

(This one was mine – the heart is outlined in black melted crayon and all the rest is paint:  pink on the outside, blue on the inside.  I like the batik effect around the crayon outline…)