CRAYON RESIST CARD – Colour, Contrast, Shape

Students use crayons and watercolour paints to create a crayon resist illustration on a card that contains a story or poem they have written.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Kindergarten to Grade 8


Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts


colour composition contrast crayon resist detail shape


Crayola Regular Crayons - Not Washable Crayola Watercolour Paints Crayola Paint Brushes Table Salt Green Masking Tape Water Containers Plastic Placemats - 1 per student Cardstock Paper - 21.25 cm x 27.5 cm (8.5" x 11") - 1 piece per student

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CRAYON RESIST CARD – Colour, Contrast, Shape - Step One

Step One

  1. Fold the cardstock paper in half horizontally – short end to short end.
  2. Line up the corners, and make a firm crease along the fold.
CRAYON RESIST CARD – Colour, Contrast, Shape - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Tape the folded cardstock to a plastic placemat.
  2. Make sure the tape runs along the full length of each edge.
  3. Make sure you know where the fold is.
CRAYON RESIST CARD – Colour, Contrast, Shape - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Place the paper with the fold where it should be for the card to open with the picture facing up.
  2. Draw a design or picture on the paper.
  3. Use crayons to colour your picture.
  4.  Press hard with the crayons and leave some paper blank.
CRAYON RESIST CARD – Colour, Contrast, Shape - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Paint over the drawing with watercolours.
  2. Use several colours and let them bleed into each other.
CRAYON RESIST CARD – Colour, Contrast, Shape - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Make sure the paint is still wet.
  2. Sprinkle a small amount of salt over the wet paint.
  3. Set the painting aside to dry.
CRAYON RESIST CARD – Colour, Contrast, Shape - Step Six

Step Six

  1. When the paint is dry gently brush away the salt.
  2. Carefully remove the tape from the edges. 
  3. Write a message inside the card.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create an illustration for a specific piece of writing;
  • create a crayon resist card;
  • use contrast to add visual interest;
  • explain how water affects wax;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.


Have students:

  • use the Exploring Watercolours lesson plan available on this website to experiment with watercolour techniques;
  • apply what they have learned to create a painting on a theme of their choice;
  • share their work and what they have learned with their peers.


  1. Download and display the Contrast, Colour and Shape posters available on this website.
    - review or teach the element of colour – warm/cool colours, primary, secondary
    - review or teach the element of shape – positive and negative, organic, geometric
    - review or teach the principle of contrast – elements placed beside each other that have strong differences
  2. Prepare materials to use for a demonstration.
  3. Prepare a completed sample.
  4. Gather, and make available, picture books that have interesting illustrations.


  1. View picture book illustrations drawing attention to how the details in the illustrations connect to the story.
    - placement of objects to move the eye through the page
    - use of colour to draw attention to specific details
    - use of shape to move the eye through the composition
    - use of contrasting colours to add visual interest
    - overall composition
  2. Show students your sample and ask them how they think it was made.
  3. Demonstrate the process for making a crayon resist painting by first drawing with crayon on a piece of paper, and then painting over it. 
  4. Discuss what happens when watercolour paint is painted over wax crayon.
    - Water and wax are different forms of matter.
    - Matter is made up of tiny molecules that are attracted to each other.
    - Water beads up when it is on wax - the water molecules stick together but not to the wax.
    - Water and wax do not mix - artists use this understanding of chemistry to make art using a technique called crayon resist.
  5. Discuss the use of shape and contrast. Focus on the purpose or theme of the writing, and what an appropriate image would be. 
  6. Introduce the challenge


The Challenge

  1. Compose a scene or design to illustrate a specific piece of writing.
  2. Create a crayon resist card.
  3. Use contrast to add visual interest.
  4. Explain how water affects wax.
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  6. Support your ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - used colours that go with the theme of my writing
    - created an illustration with details that connect with my writing

    - used contrast to create visual interest
    - pressed hard with crayon so it shows through the watercolour paints
    - created a card that is in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work.
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students into partners.
  2. Ask them to: 
    - Share their cards, taking turns looking at the illustration and reading/listening to the writing.
    - Discuss the things that are especially effective and why.
    - Talk about how the details in the illustration provide additional information and help to bring the writing to life.

    - Talk about what they found difficult and what they found easy to do.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask students to tell how they felt about doing this project.


  1. Observe students as they work  – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss the crayon resist cards – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – Card_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – CRCard_self-assessment.pdf, or CardPrimary_self-assessment.pdf)