When I was a kid, one of my favorite activities at Grandma’s house was playing with her chalk pastels. They were like chalk, but more intense in color, a more serious art supply than we were accustomed to. She taught us a technique that amused us for hours every time we visited. Kids of any age can play with chalk pastels, but mid-grade school-aged kids will probably have the most fun with this technique.
Chalk pastels come in sticks and are commonly sold in the art supply section of big-box stores or craft stores. They range in price, but if you visit your local big-box store, you should be able to pick up a box of 12 for about $5. Be careful at the art or craft store, though, because they have boxes of chalk pastels that cost $50 or more! Also, don’t mistake oil pastels for chalk pastels. They won’t work for this particular project. You can probably substitute regular colored chalkboard or sidewalk chalk for this project in a pinch, but the colors won’t be nearly as dark because those types of chalks don’t have as much pigment in them.
Also worth noting: chalk pastels are pretty messy (but tons of fun)! Cover your work surface with newspaper if you value your table, and wash hands promptly after this activity!
- Chalk pastels
- Tissue paper or paper towel
You can use any type or size of paper. Older kids might get a kick out of using larger newsprint-type paper to make an oversized piece of artwork.
1. Tear first piece of paper across long side, varying the rip (so it’s not straight across).
2. Place torn piece of paper over a full sheet of paper, and draw a chalk line near the ripped edge.
3. Gently sweep your tissue paper over the chalk, across the rip, and onto the full sheet of paper.
When you pull the torn piece of paper away, you’ll have a delicate line of color, kind of an airbrushed effect.
Repeat the process with different colors, and using the opposite side of the paper, until you have a “landscape.” My sister and I spent endless hours creating art this way when we were kids, and we LOVED it.
To fix the chalk on these pictures, spray lightly with aerosol hairspray or clear spray paint.
When your child’s masterpieces are done, frame them in dollar store frames and hang them in her room, or cut them up into pieces and glue to cardstock to make cards (a set of four or six would be a great handmade gift for Grandma).
Heather Mann is a regular contributor at Make and Takes. She’s is the mother of two boys under age 3, and another boy on the way. She publishes Dollar Store Crafts, a daily blog devoted to hip crafting at dollar store prices, CROQ Zine, a print magazine devoted to hip crafting, and also CraftFail, a community blog that encourages crafters to share their not-so-successful craft attempts.