Donna’s Day: Sandpaper crayon art for your children to try


By Donna Erickson, Signal Contributing Writer

I have a variety of bright, chubby crayons my toddler-age granddaughter loves to grab tightly in her fist and press on paper, or to be honest, anything in reach. I’ve also observed older school-age kids who enjoy pressing crayons firmly on paper to express themselves with designs and images.

This activity using sandpaper for the “paper” is an interesting twist for engaging those impulses to create with verve, while enhancing a child’s natural creativity and love of art. It’s an easy technique to offer a new expression using everyday crayons in bright colors and sandpaper out of the toolbox. 

The texture of sandpaper will create a beautiful picture composed of tiny dots that might resemble pointillism, a painting technique used by postimpressionist painter Georges Seurat. He used thousands of dots of color that you can see up close but that blend into an image when you step back, away from the painting.

Try these steps to create a clever piece of pointillist-like art in seconds. What is the magic ingredient? A dot, your kids might say. Uh-uh. It’s an iron!

Here’s the stuff and the fun:

Pick out an array of bright crayons. Vibrant blues, greens, purples and reds are ideal.

Create a drawing on a sheet of medium-grain sandpaper, pressing very hard as you color. Designs that use blocks of color rather than thick lines work best here. 

When the drawing is done, turn the sandpaper over on top of a plain, white piece of drawing or construction paper. An adult should heat an iron on a low temp, and iron the backside of the sandpaper as if ironing a hanky. Pass it over the back evenly and slowly, counting to 20 seconds with your kids before picking up the sandpaper to reveal the picture on the paper in dot form.

There it is. Sandpaper pointillism. Never mind French postimpressionists for the moment. You’ll have your own very “impressive” artist in residence.

Encourage your child to look closely to see the dots, then step away and discover how they blend together. Note how crayon melted on the sandpaper, too, providing a “two for one” art project. 

Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit and link to the NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.”

© 2020 Donna Erickson

Distributed by King Features Synd.

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