A couple of years ago we bought some Stockmar Beeswax Crayons, and they came with a little plastic tool for doing Sgraffito.  Sgraffito comes from the Italian word sgraffiare (“to scratch”), and the technique works great with crayons.  All you do is make a light color background, then color a dark layer (black is best) over the top.  Then use something pointy (plastic works best, so you don’t rip the paper) and scrape the black to reveal the light colors below.  We’ve been doing it for a year now, and it’s so cool. Almost turns out looking like a tiny wood block print.

I couldn’t find the tool that came with our crayons, so I just cut a point on this little green piece of plastic and scraped with it.

35 Responses
  1. Rowena

    I used to do those a long time ago. You reminded me how cool it is. I might try it again. I hope crayola works as well as beeswax. :)

  2. kristine

    hi, i'am kristine from france, i like very what you post.
    I was used to do that whit my children (4) end i used a bamboo cut with a cuter and it gave a good results.
    have a good day and thank for all the think you post

  3. Mejse

    We did that a lot in kindergarden :) I think I still got a piece of it lying around somewhere.. We used a fork to do the scraping! Thank you for the great reminder :)

    /Mejse from Denmark

  4. Amy

    I used to do this as a child, but I would start by painting the paper all different colors, then coloring over that with a dark crayon. That way, the paint doesn't get scratched off like the light crayon might. We used all different things to scratch with, to make different patterns.

  5. Elīna

    This really remind me kindergarden time. But we did something different – made a picture using crayons and then put on it watercolours.

  6. Joel Henriques

    I'm so glad I did this post. I knew I would get some good ideas from all of you! Very cool! Thanks everybody!

  7. cluster design

    joel! i just found your blog and love it.
    thank you so much for posting so many fun and beautiful crafts!
    i can't wait to try one with my almost-three-year-old

  8. LisaAC

    I learned to do that in grade school 30 years ago. I still love the technique. I'm glad to see it's not forgotten. A cheaper version of a scratch board. :)

  9. Rachel@oneprettything.com

    I love this! I'm think I'm going to have to do this myself this month. Thanks so much for the great idea, I'll be linking.

  10. Margaret

    You inspired us to do sgraffito yesterday! It was so much fun. Thanks for all the great ideas! Love your blog

  11. Paul & Paula

    oh great… nearly forgot about it…
    looks like rain for the next couple of days anyway!
    Thank you!

    Love from Amsterdam

  12. infinitemonkeytheory

    ah, i remember doing this in school using the two methods Amy and Elīna mentioned. it was such fun!

  13. Astrid

    taught my daughter how to do this just the other week and she loved it! she has been making lot's of pictures ever since!

  14. toasted

    OH wow. Just happened across your blog. I think you might be a genius.

    I haven't been so inspired in a long long long time.

    AND I was very obsessed with these kind of drawings when I was a kid (never knew the name of it though.) Thanks.

  15. ADHDmamma

    I loved doing that when I was young, too. I remember that the fattier crayons in kindergarten worked much better than the ones I had at home. I can't remember what we used for scratching, but probably anything we could find that would work ;)

    How fun to see this again :)

  16. Lisa

    Try it my way: Instead of covering whith black crayons me and my kids cover whith black acrylic-colour mixed whith soap. It makes it all black and surprises the kids every time!

  17. Amy

    There was a similar color-resist technique craft that we used to do as well. Color on white paper with white crayon, then try to paint over it – the paint sticks to the paper but resists the crayon-colored places. Or you can cut shapes out of removable contact film, stick those to the paper, paint over/around them, then peel off the shapes.

    You can do the same thing with white crayon or electrical tape on hard-boiled eggs before dyeing them. Makes very beautiful colored eggs!

  18. aimee

    oh what fun!! this has worked for me with crayons on cardboard, then covering the multicolored background with a layer of india ink. i wonder if i can work up the moxie to stick a pointy tool in my kids' hands and close my eyes to the flying india ink shavings. i think i can, i think i can…

    super inspiring blog you have!

  19. Michelle

    This is fantastic! Looks like something I did in art class when I was little, kind of. Fun for kids and grown ups too!

  20. Vicki

    Hi! Thanks for the idea! When I looked at it, another idea jumped into my mind…why not draw a colorful design like rainbow stripes and before using a black crayon over the top, slip a rubbing plate underneath the paper and watch it appear as you go over the bright colors with a black crayon. You could even take an alphabet, number or shape stencil and slip it under the paper instead of the rubbing plate. I think I'll try this with my preschool class and see what develops. Thanks again! Have fun!

  21. deryik

    It was my dad who first showed me this great technique. I was amazed when he painted it all black and amazed once again when the colors came back. it is one of the most vivid memories of my childhood. thank you.

  22. Joel Henriques

    deryik – that sounds like a really great memory. I have similar childhood memories too. amazing what kinds of things stay in our minds.