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Using Chalk to Create Vibrant Wax Resist Paintings

I love to teach and use wax-resist painting in the art room.  From crayons to oil pastels to batiks, this technique can really be geared for any age level.  Over the years, I have tried wax resist strategies and finally have a method that is simple, successful and never fails to impress.  My secret… chalk!


After students decide on a sketch for their artwork, I have them sketch their final piece with a light-colored chalk.  This technique works well for highly patterned pieces, like dragons, tropical fish or detailed landscapes.

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Next, students color their design with oil pastels or crayons, being careful to not cover up the chalk lines.  I also encourage students to use a fair amount of pressure while coloring.  Not so much that they media breaks, but enough so the paper does not peek through.

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Finally, students use a contrasting color and apply a wash to their entire piece.  I have used watered down watercolors, tempera paint, ink or dye.  The chalk melts away leaving plenty of space for the paint to stick to the paper while the crayon or oil pastel repels it from the rest of the image.  And the results are amazing!

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What are some ways you have used a resist technique in a unique way? 

Heather is AOE’s Project Manager and an expert in differentiation, curriculum development, and assessment. She is a veteran teacher in the art room and at the graduate level.