Crayon Hokus-pokus

Watch your preschooler’s drawings reappear! Surprise with a drawing and painting technique that grows small motor skills, hand-eye coordination plus creativity.


This is a bit messy, so be sure to cover your child and your workspace, too. Check out our FAQ for simple cover-up tips.

MATERIALS - click to buy
  1. Large crayons like these found on Amazon - or - you can recycle a candle stub to draw a picture.
  2. White construction paper like this - Construction paper works best for this activity because it is not coated, like printer paper.
  3. Brush - Check out our Materials page for appropriate brush size for your child’s age.
  4. Liquid tempera paint - We use tempera paint in jars like these or tubes found here.
  5. Metal or plastic containers like these, deep enough to hold your paint mixture and dip brush into. Using glass containers is not recommended with little ones.
  1. Skilly-spark: Ask your child what design or pictures they might like to make.  To help them make the final color decision, explain that it will be covered with paint and will look different when it’s painted over. This is called a crayon resist. For example:
    • If they choose to draw an underwater scene, they will likely want to use blue to cover their drawing.
    • If they want to make a night picture, they may choose to use black.
  2. Squeeze some tempera paint from the tube or pour a small amount from the jar into the container.
  3. Mix water into the tempera paint  to make it thinner and easy to spread over the crayon drawing. Start with 3 teaspoons paint to 1 teaspoon water, adding a teaspoon until it’s easy to spread. A too-thick mix will darken too much of the crayon drawing.
  4. Let your child’s imagination run wild with their crayon drawing.  For the full effect ask them to press very hard with the crayon and make thick crayon marks on the paper. At the same time, be sure to leave some areas of the paper uncolored.
  5. Now it’s time to paint the entire surface of the paper with the thinned tempera paint. Ta-da!! The paint will be absorbed by the uncolored paper and paint will be “resisted” by the wax crayon.
Keep the fun going
  • Make dramatic effects for winter holiday pictures.  For example, a white snowman or snowflakes can be covered with blue paint.