My friend, Ilys, came over the other day and we played around with a big box of crayons - the one with 64 different colours and even a sharpener - the box of Crayolas I lusted after as a kid! Using the window as a substitute for a light table, we used a pencil to trace out our designs onto tea towel fabric. Then the fun began!
Start by finding your canvas. I used a 100% cotton tea towel with a smooth surface and washed it to remove the sizing. I ironed it and then ironed a piece of freezer paper to the back to give it some stability for colouring on and to keep the surface smooth.
I chose a pansy pattern and had a lot of fun colouring and shading. It was an experiment in techniques so I ended up with one pansy I like more than the other. We found out that if the shading is too subtle it gets lost in the end. Not many rules - mainly the ones you remember from being a kid: try to stay in the lines and go all in the same direction. It is better to go over it again lightly several times than to try to do it darkly in the beginning.
When your design is completed, remove the freezer paper and iron the fabric, putting a plain piece of paper above and below the design and using a fairly high setting. The paper absorbs most of the wax and you are left with your coloured design. It will look exactly the same - the stroke marks show. etc. After that it was just a matter of using 2 strands of DMC to stem stitch the outline. Then I washed it to take out the pencil marks. I was pleased to see that washing doesn't affect the intensity of the colour of the crayon design.
This is just a fun relaxing technique and I can see it lending itself to several different applications besides tea towels. For a start I have a couple of packages of quilt blocks preprinted for embroidery, one set of roses and one of butterflies. I had completely lost interest in doing them as they were intended but I imagine they may be the next place I play with my Crayolas. So, get out the crayons and have fun!