How to Create Easy Crayon Resist Art in 4 Simple Steps

Crayon resist art has been a favourite art invitation of mine for many years now. It’s an invitation that children and adults of all ages can get involved in. I come back to this easy crayon resist art time and time again. The process is simple and fun to do, the finished artworks are always beautiful and interesting to look at and no two pieces of art are ever the same. All you need is the desire to have a go and see what happens.

To create this easy crayon resist art all you need are some simple art materials including watercolour paper or card stock, white and coloured crayons, watercolour paints and a paintbrush. Next, take a pastel and draw an image or simply scribble on your paper. Apply a wash of watercolour paint over the pastel and see your image come to life, leave to dry and admire your creations! It’s as simple as that.

The rest of this blog post is designed to show you step by step how to set up the crayon resist art invitation for you and your little art maker.

Easy crayon resist art in 4 simple steps

First, let’s look at how the resist technique works.

Oil repels water, so the areas covered with the oil pastel or crayon will resist the watercolour paint. The remaining areas of the paper not covered in pastel will soak up all the paint and leave a wash of colour.

Art Materials

What you will need

Oil pastels or Crayons

Watercolour paints (liquid, tube or cake)


Plastic palette or jars (If mixing watercolour paints from a tube with water)

Watercolour paper, thick card stock or poster paper

Masking tape (optional)

Cardboard, lid of a storage box or baking tray (optional)

Spray bottle filled with water (optional)

A few notes on materials and substitutions

You don’t need to use watercolour paper, you can use card stock or thicker paper instead. I often use a thicker card stock paper instead of watercolour paper. The great thing about watercolour paper is that it will absorb more applications of water. This is helpful if you’re doing this invitation with younger children who tend to enjoy applying many layers of paint.

Quick Tip
  • If you don’t have oil pastels that’s ok use crayons instead.
  • If you don’t have a white crayon you can even use a wax candle to draw your design.
  • If you don’t have watercolour paints you can use watered down food colouring. Food colouring can sometimes stain, so be cautious especially if using with younger children.

Level of Engagement

High, depending on the age of the child anywhere from 30-60 minutes. If an adult is present even longer. A little encouragement from an adult can help to extend the level of engagement for a child.

Level of Mess

Moderate, paint can get messy. It’s best to prepare for some mess. Limit the number of paints available at one time and opt to use the watercolours in the cake to limit the potential for mess. If you want some simple tips to contain the mess that comes with painting with young children you can read more about it on my blog post 11 Tips for managing messy PAINT experiences with toddlers and children.

Adult Enjoyment

High, this technique is relaxing and engaging for both adult and child. It can also be nice to create a joint painting together. Maybe you can draw together and then let the child apply the watercolour paint? Collaborating together on the artwork can help encourage bonding and connection with your child.

4 Simple Steps to Crayon Resist Art

1. Tape it Down

Tape the paper down onto a piece of cardboard or work surface. I used the lid of a plastic container, it helps to contain the paint and mess as it has a small lip.

Taping down the paper to the surface of a table or plastic lid keeps the paper from buckling when the water is applied and creates a nice crisp border around the artwork, remove the tape once the paint has dried.

drawing with pastel
Tape it down onto the work surface

2. Draw

Take your oil pastel or crayon and draw, scribble circles, draw lines and let out some energy onto the paper. I like to have some music going, beware this may lead to spontaneous dancing.

You can try just using a white pastel or crayon only to create the image.

You can experiment with using lots of different coloured pastels.

Boy drawing
drawing with pastel
Quick Tip

Daw a secret image on the paper in white pastel for the child to discover. The image will appear as if by magic once watercolour paint is applied.

3. Paint

Paint over the oil pastel with the watercolour paint. I used a combination of the watercolour cake paints in a plastic palette and watered-down watercolour paint from a tube, both will work well.

Let the child lead, there is much about painting that is intuitive and comes naturally to children.

  • Experiment with applying one or more colours.
  • Try dabbing up and down with the brush or making long brush strokes.
  • Spray the paper with a mist of water before you apply the paint.
  • Apply the paint and then spray a mist of water with a spray bottle, the colours will run into each other.
Apply watercolour paint
Spray down drawing with water bottle
Spray the paint with a spray bottle and watch the colours blend

4. Dry

Leave the images to dry fully before removing the tape, this will prevent the paint from seeping under, and will leave a nice crisp edge.

resist art
Leave the images to dry

5. Admire and talk about your creations

Explore each image and talk about what you can see. Can you find any shapes or images, funny faces or objects? Explore the colours together, what you liked about the process, perhaps what you would do differently next time. I like to place the paintings on the floor and admire from a different angle. It’s great to get a bird’s eye view.

My son found the image of a snail. I drew the face and body in a black texta to bring it to life.

resist art
resist art

Playing around:

Using your Resist Art paintings

Your paintings are wonderful just as they are. You can hang them up to display and enjoy them and you can do some other things with them too. Some ideas:

  • Make a drawing on top of the resist art, just as I did with the snail. You will be amazed at how many different things you will find if you just look hard enough. Turn the paper around and look at it from different angles, this helps to find those hidden images.
  • Turn one of them into a postcard, write on the back and post it to someone.
  • Tear up the image into little pieces and collage it back together with glue or sticky tape.

I hope you had as much fun as we did. This really is a great activity if you want to start creating with your little art maker and want to experiment with something simple, fun and easy to set up.

Want to give more resist art a try? check out my other post on how to create a tape resist canvas with paint.

Let me know if you tried this art invitation out, what did you think?


About Emma - Founder of Art Play Heart and passionate advocate of getting as many children as possible to enjoy art making in their lives! There is nothing more magnificent than watching a child or anyone for that matter flourish and discover themselves and the world around them through being creative and making art in all its glorious forms.

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