Make A Thing: Crayon Tracings

Welcome to the millionth billionth installment of Make A Thing where we make handmade gifts for people. Or ourselves. Or our cats. Who doesn’t need something special in their life? Join in on the DIY fun and avoid the unnecessary consumerism of the world (and save a few dollars while you’re at it).

Header by Rory Midhani

Remember last week when I made kid’s crafts because I was feeling nostalgic? Well, I never stopped feeling nostalgic, and while planning Make A Thing projects for A-Camp (!!!), I started to think about the crayon tracings I used to make all of the time. You see, I’m a terrible artist, and when I get the chance to just trace something and then say, “I made this!” it’s a success for me. My girlfriend keeps mentioning that we don’t have any good pictures of our cat around, so I decided to remedy that. Enter: the Bridgit portrait. Not to be one of those people who talks about her cat all of the time, but seriously, I love our cat. I also made a portrait of my other kitty, Milo! Just another Crazy Cat Lady Tuesday at the Hansen household.

Crayon Tracings

Supplies Needed:
+ Picture of whatever you’d like to use (you can use a magazine clipping, photo you’ve found on Google or my personal favorite, a picture of your cat)
+ Printer
+ Crayons
+ Paper you’d like to trace onto (I used thick bristol board, but even printer paper would work fine)
+ Pen

Level of Difficulty: In Kindergarten, we had to draw self-portraits and write our names on them to hang on the wall, but I wasn’t paying attention during the directions, so I just copied the girl next to me and wrote “Elizabeth” under my portrait and the teacher thought I couldn’t understand that my name wasn’t “Elizabeth” and called my mom. Long story short, this is easier than paying attention to directions when you’re five.

Alright, you ready for this collage business? Okay, go.


1. Make your pictures black & white in Word so you don’t waste all of your color ink. This is the easiest way to do it, but you can also tempt fate and change the settings to “Black & White” on the Print Preview. I just don’t trust Print Preview to pop up all the time. I have trust issues with Office, okay?

2. Because I matted mine, I traced around where the mat border was. This also helps because when you’re coloring on the back; it gives you an outline of the space you need to color in. If you’re not framing your art (well, you should, because you’re an amazing crayon tracing artist) then you can skip this step.

3. Coloring time! Flip over your picture and start coloring on the back. If you’re using a magazine clipping, use an extra piece of paper to color on for this step because the crayon won’t adhere to the magazine paper. Make sure you get a thick coating of crayon wax on the back of your paper. I chose to do a patchwork of colors, but you can do one or a rainbow or ombre or whatever you’d like.

4. Line it up with the paper you’d like to trace onto, and use a ballpoint pen to outline your portrait. You have to press pretty hard. Don’t be afraid.

5. This is the tracing in action. You can check your skills and adjust your etching as you please.

6. Yay! Almost finished. Just brush off the extra crayon wax.

7. And then frame it! No one has to know you just traced it.

While we’re still in the nostalgic mood, what other crafts do you remember from summer camp?

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Hansen is the former DIY & Food Editor of and likes to spend most days making and cooking and writing. She teaches creative writing at Colorado State University and is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in her free time.

Hansen has written 189 articles for us.


    • Seconded. Anything that helps me execute awesome things without actually having to have any skills is genius in my books.

  1. Am I the only one who had to read it about 4 times before finally understanding it? Haha oh boy…

  2. Yay! Everyone I know is getting amazing technicolored pictures of my bunnies for their birthday this year!

Comments are closed.