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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Crayon Time!

Cheap Frills Tutorial #4

Are you familiar with crayon rubbing? It’s a craft technique also known as crayon impression or texture rubbing. I’m going to teach you how to make unique greeting cards with textured elements.

You may associate crayons with people under the age of 10. But let’s open up the fun to those of all ages. I find using crayons to be an instant trip to happiness. Crayons are so colorful, easy to use and inexpensive. They also allow you to make something quickly because there is no dry time.  

Many people profess not to be creative, but I think they underestimate themselves. Crayon rubbings are fun and you do not have to be a professional artist to do them. No one is pressuring you to recreate Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel! Get yourself some crayons and paper and don’t be afraid. Just give it a try!

Things you will need:

1.      Blank note cards or card stock (paper that is thicker than regular paper)

2.      Envelopes for your note cards

3.      Scissors

4.      Glue

5.      Crayons

6.      An assortment of household items that have a raised design (simple is fine—see below)

If you are using a sheet of cardstock instead of a pre-folded blank card, cut your cardstock so that when folded, it will fit into your envelope.

Next, walk around your home and look for everyday items that have raised texture that will create impressions. The texture needs to be somewhat rigid. (For example, the bristles on a toothbrush are textured but they are too flexible for this technique, and you won’t get a clear impression when you rub.) I found it fun to walk from room to room and spot things that would make interesting impressions.

Here are some household items I used to make impressions:

·        Buttons

·        Rick rack

·        Tread on the bottom of a shoe

·        A corrugated tin can

·        The fake snakeskin on my wallet

·        Legos

·         The tines of a fork

Once you start looking, you’ll notice that there are many everyday things that have texture. Metal items give particularly good results as the metal is firm and the impression will be quite clear. Here are a tin can and the grate from our coffee maker. Both have raised and lowered parts, which will make clear impressions.

Get some plain paper and place a sheet over the item with the texture. Use your crayon to color the area above your textured item. Hold your item in place with one hand while coloring with your other hand.

TIP: The harder you press while coloring, the darker the texture will be and the more contrast you will see between the high and low parts of the texture.

TIP: If you are rubbing crayon over a pattern with a direction, color in the opposite direction. In other words, if your textured item has lines running up and down, color from left to right. This will make the texture show up much better.

TIP: There is no right or wrong to this technique. Whichever colors you like are fine. Experiment! Some items I used (like buttons) did not pick up the texture as well as I expected. Oh well. Try something else.

TIP: If you like how a rubbing has turned out, consider layering another color on top of it. Turn your paper a bit so that the impression from the first crayon will not match up perfectly with the impression from your second crayon. This will be a more visually interesting effect. Here are the results of my impressions using the corrugated side of tin can. On the left, I pressed down on my crayon with more force. The result is a darker look. On the right, I did not press as hard and I left a little white space, which makes a lighter effect.
The next photo shows how different patterns and colors created a variety of effects.

When you have an assortment of rubbings (at least six, but why stop there?), pick several for your first greeting card. I decided to make a flower so I began cutting petals out of my rubbings. Here is how it looked when I had my pieces cut out: 
I lay my pieces on my cardstock and tried a few arrangements. When I was happy with how things looked, I got a glue stick and glued each piece in place. Try to get a uniform layer of glue so that each piece sticks well to the card. (Of course, let’s avoid having rivers of glue run down the card. Universal rule of using glue: don’t use too little, but don’t use too much, either!) Here’s my finished card:

Here is a card I did using only three pieces of textured coloring. I made hearts in three sizes, and layered them on top of each other. It’s a simple design but cute and will brighten someone’s day.

My last experiment was a thank you card. I used blue cardstock and picked out eight different patterns and colors, but all with a blueish look. I cut out the letters and placed them on my card before gluing them down. Once I was happy with the layout, I glued the letters down. I decided to outline each letter so that the overall message stood out from the background a little bit more.


Creativity does need not be expensive or involve unusual tools. The only ingredient you need is the desire to try.

Total cost: $3.

·        crayons and glue (free, because I already had them)

·        cardstock and blank greetings cards: $3 for 10 cards.

Wouldn’t you like to send people hand-made cards with fun patterns on them? If you start now, you can make them in time to send out in December. It does not take long to make a one-of-a-kind card but the personal touch means a lot to the recipient. Have fun!


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