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Wax Resist

In this activity, children create wax resist artwork using waxy crayons or pastels and watercolour paints.

Water clings to paper and makes the paper wet. It does not cling to wax or oil. In waxed paper, the wax protects the paper and keeps it dry.

Wet and Dry printable guide.

These activities are part of Science World's Big Science For Little Hands program. They were developed and tested with preschool and kindergarten educators.


  • Understand how wax repels water to create wax resist artwork.


  • Per Child:
    crayons or oil pastels (but not washable crayons!)
    watercolour paint or ink (we like Sargent Art Watercolor Magic™, available online or at a craft/hobby store)
    paint brushes, sponges, or dabber bottles (available online or at a craft/hobby store))

    Tip: the most dramatic effects come from using pale-coloured crayons and dark-coloured ink

Key Questions

  • Does the paper get wet? How can you tell?
  • Do the crayon/pastel marks get wet? How can you tell?
  • How does your crayon/pastel drawing look different when it's covered with the paint?

What To Do

  1. Draw on the paper with crayons and/or oil pastels. Press hard!
  2. When your drawing is done, lightly brush or sponge the paint/ink all over the paper. If you use too much, you can use cotton balls or paper towels to mop up the extra paint (and create interesting effects).


  • Try using different kinds of paper. What happens?
  • Try using only white crayons/pastels, then make the 'invisible' drawing appear!
  • Try different kinds of drawing tools, like coloured pencils or markers. What happens when these get wet?
  • Try painting on waxed paper or plastic wrap. Do these surfaces get wet?