Exploring Oil Pastels

Exploring Oil Pastels

Scratching a design into the layered colors

We were so excited to include these awesome Cray-pas Junior Artist Oil Pastels in our March “Wind Power” Box! We picked them because they’re perfect for decorating our Wind Sock project, but there’s lots more you can do with them. They create bright, vibrant colors, and unlike regular markers, you can blend the colors right on the paper.

Here’s a fun way to explore more with oil pastels. You’ll need:

  • Paper – preferably something heavier than printer paper, which tends to tear if you have an enthusiastic artist.
  • Paper clip or toothpick – for scratching designs in the pastels. This is especially fun if you layer multiple colors of pastels, so scratching off the top layer reveals the color beneath. Fingernails work, too!
  • Protected workspace – if you’re inside, work on a dropcloth or newspaper and save yourself some cleanup. Or just work outside and skip cleaning up entirely!
Exploring Oil Pastels

Creating a volcanic island erupting into the sea

To encourage kids to explore the materials, it can really help to suggest some ideas for them to try. Here’s what I did with my little artists.

  1. First I demonstrated how you can blend two colors together by drawing concentric circles and mixing the colors. As the kids started on their own drawings, I suggested that they try layering and mixing the colors on top of each other.
  2. When everyone had lots of color on their drawings, I used a stick to scratch circles and lines into my drawing. As the kids tried it, I pointed out where they could see the colors they’d layered peeking out.
  3. Finally, I suggested they try using the white pastel on top of their colors. This creates a nice blendy effect, and also looks really cool with scratches on top of it.

A bunny underneath the stars

I love that the artwork we created was as individual as the artists! Here’s a few more fun variations for kindergarten oil pastel art projects.

  • Try using textured paper – the pastels will pick up the texture for an interesting effect.
  • Try using black cardstock. The colors look really vibrant on the dark background, and using the white pastel creates really nice highlights. The end result can be very dramatic!
  • Try using the scratching technique to write a word or create a line drawing within your picture.
  • Try doing a multi-layer effect by coloring, then scratching a design, then blending another color over the scratches. What kind of texture can you create?

Rainbow and Stars

If you try this project, please leave a comment and let us know how it went!

Ribbon Jellyfish in Kiwi Crate Labs!


Two long kid-sized tables are covered in ribbon, but not just one kind of ribbon. There’s at least 10 different colors and textures of ribbon to choose from, plus markers, crayons, and googly eyes. Little hands are grabbing, coloring, gluing, cutting, and taping. Concentration fills the room (at least for the first 15 minutes!). Welcome to a kid-testing session at Kiwi Crate labs!

The pint-sized test crew comes in every week to experiment with materials and try out ideas for crate projects. They descend upon a table of supplies and get busy, with the minimum amount of instruction necessary to get them started.

This time they’re making jelly fish by attaching ribbon to paper bowls (or coffee filters) they’ve decorated with crayons, markers and googly eyes. We, the adults, let the kids lead. We don’t show examples of what the crafts are supposed to look like, and we step in only when our assistance is requested.

The kids’ final creations are as varied as their personalities, and that’s just perfect. And some always find new ways to engage the materials, and their friends.

The January Kiwi Crates are shipping soon! We can’t wait to hear how your kids enjoy experimenting with the materials and ideas in your new crates!