Crayon Etching (Scratch Art)

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Make your own scratch art boards using crayons.

By Andrea Mulder-Slater

Younger students will enjoy exploring with this activity while older students should be encouraged to investigate detailed images and patterns.

What You Need:

  • Paper (bristol board [poster board] works best)
  • Crayons
  • Popsicle stick, paper clip or construction nail
  • Optional: black India ink or black tempera paint

What You Do:

Fill the paper with crayon shapes and patterns, making sure to press hard. It is best to use light colors at this stage.

Once you have filled the paper with crayons patterns, color heavily over the whole paper using black crayon.

Plan out a picture or design and using the popsicle stick or paper clip, scratch the design into the black crayon.

The light colors will show through where you scrape away the black.

Polish the picture by rubbing wax paper on it — to give it a shine. You can also use a chamois cloth or even a plastic bag.

Optional: Instead of rubbing black crayon over the colored crayon, you can paint black India ink or black tempera paint over the colored crayon, let it dry and scratch into the ink – revealing the colors below.

Crayon etching - maker your own scratch art boards

3rd Grade Student Example, Saint Joseph Cathedral Elementary School


You can also try store-bought scratch paper for a smoother look.


If you like this activity, you might enjoy our Crayon Crackle Lesson. It involves the same materials but used in a slightly different way.