What You’ll Need:
~ Photo editing program
~ Projector (optional)
~ Thick Pencil/ Eraser
~ Silver Spray Paint (optional)
~ Clear Acrylic Sealant
~ Masking Tape (non blue)
~ X-acto Knife
~ Crayons ( black & multiple shades of blue)
~ Hair Dryer with multiple settings
~ Large Piece of Paper & Card-board (to cover workspace inside and outside)
~ Silver Paint (optional)
~ Small Paintbrush
How to Make:
1~ Take your canvas outside and place it on your large piece of cardboard or paper. Grab your Spray paint and shake it for about two minutes. Then hold the can about a foot away from your canvas and spray the canvas in smooth horizontal motions. You won’t get a smooth uniform look right away and thats ok! Let your first layer dry for a few minutes and then repeat. Do this until your canvas is completely covered and has a consistent tone and density.
2~ Once your spray paint has dried completely, grab your clear Acrylic Coating and shake for about two minutes. Like the spray paint, hold the can about 10-14 inches away from your canvas and spray across your canvas until you’ve covered the entire canvas. let it dry for a minute or two and repeat. I usually do this about three times.
Why do this? ~ You want to add an acrylic coating to your spray paint so you don’t damage it when you create your tape stencil.
Note ~ It will be dry to the touch in a matter of minutes, but you should wait a minimum of two hours before you really start to handle it and bring it inside.
3~ Take your image and drag it into photoshop ( or whatever photo editing tool you have). Go to Hue/Saturation and make your image black and white. Then go to your filter gallery and choose the “Cutout” filter. Make sure that the sliders that represent Number of Levels, Edge Simplicity, and Edge Fidelity are at 2. Save the image and print it. If you don’t have a filter like cutout then you can increase contrast until the picture is only 2 tones(black/white). Click here to see photos of this process.
4~ If you have a projector or a “Tracer”, read on, if not click here to learn how you can get your image on your canvas without a projector. Depending on the space you have, this can be easy or a total pain in the butt. Find a table that either has a ton of space, or that is moveable. You’re going to need to be able to move the image and projector in order for it to fit perfectly on your canvas. I use a small bedside table thats super portable.
5~ Find a wall nearby that you can hang your canvas on or prop it up against. I dont have a ton of space that works for this, so I use my hallway. I prop my canvas up against the wall at the end of the hall on top of a stack of books ( the end of the hall is a mirror so I can’t hang them up 🙁 I add or remove different sized books to get the image height just right. Lol (do what you’ve gotta do!)
6~ Set your table and projector up and turn it on. Now that you can see where the image is, you can adjust the books so that the canvas is at the right height, and move the table/ projector so that the image is the right size to fit on the canvas. Once you have it just right fasten your piece in place, whatever that means for you. ( I use masking tape)
7~ With your pencil start tracing your image starting at one side and slowly migrating to the other. Once your done, double and triple check that you have every single part traced onto your canvas. Normally I would say be as light on the pencil, but when you’re working on a silver background, it gets really hard to see the lines when you apply the tape. So just to be safe, go over all of the lines and darken them just a bit.
8~ Grab your masking tape and X-acto knife. Choose any side of your canvas and apply your first strip of tape, going from one corner to the other. Make sure to cover the entire length of the canvas. Take your X-acto knife and cut on the pencil lines shown through the tape. Remove the tape from the areas that will be covered in crayon. Continue to do this one strip at a time until the stencil is complete.
9~ Cover your workspace with paper or cardboard to protect your belongings.
10~ Pick out your crayon colors, and de-wrap them using your X-acto knife. I used black and a bunch of shades of blue, but you can use whatever colors that float your boat. Place your crayons in something so they don’t roll away. I put mine in the top of a shoe box, it works perfectly!
11~ Pick your first color, and turn your hair dryer on HOT and HIGH. Wait till the crayon is nice and melty before you apply it to the canvas. I apply the crayon by rolling the crayon back and forth, between my thumb and index finger while applying heat. If you’re using black, be cautious about how much you apply… A little goes a long way.
12~ Add another color next to your previous application. Use the hairdryer as a tool to blend the colors together, and to build up the wax or thin it out. If you feel that its all moving too fast and you can’t control it, turn the intensity to medium, or give it a “Cool Shot”. Continue to add and blend colors until you’ve covered all of the exposed canvas spaces.
13~ Once you’ve finished applying your crayon, carefully start to remove the tape. I suggest going slow to prevent as much chipping as possible. Because of the medium, chipping will happen, so dont get too upset when it does. You may also see a little bleed through (when the crayon seeps underneath the tape) It’s an unfortunate part of this process, but its ok! We can fix it!
Note ~ Use your X-acto knife to get all of the small, difficult pieces of tape up.
14~ You have two options to clean and touch up the edges.
a.) You can get a silver sharpie paint pen. It isn’t the exact same shade of silver, its just ever so slightly darker. Its quick and easy, but I’m a perfectionist so I couldn’t hang.
b.) You can get metallic silver acrylic paint and touch up the edges and bleed through with a small paint brush. It takes a little time, but it looks perfect afterwards!
Note ~ I used Plaid’s Folkart Metallic Silver Acrylic Paint to touch up my edges.
15~ Once you’re all done take your piece outside and give it a few coats of the crystal clear acrylic coating. This will help protect the crayon from smudging off and getting on the canvas.