How to Make Your Own Scratch Art

Scratch art is guaranteed to entertain the kids for hours at summer camp or during a lazy crafternoon. See how easy it is to make DIY scratch art paper at home with basic supplies. Then, let your little ones etch colorful masterpieces using wooden chopsticks.

What You'll Need

  • heavy cardstock
  • crayons
  • mixing bowl
  • black acrylic paint
  • dish soap
  • foam paint brush
  • wooden chopstick

Pick Your Paper and Palette

Be choosy about the type of paper you select for this art project. Corrugated cardboard is too soft, and regular printer paper is too flimsy, but I found that heavier mat board or cardstock worked really well, holding up both to the weight of the paint and to the subsequent artistic scratching. Choose a wide assortment of good crayons, too.

Learn how to make your own rainbow-revealing scratch art.

DIY Scratch Art for Kids

Learn how to make your own rainbow-revealing scratch art.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Color the Underlying Pattern

This isn’t a time to be gentle with your crayons. Press firmly and be sure that the crayon wax completely covers the cardstock. Any areas that aren’t colored will collect the paint and be un-scratchable, so be thorough with the design you apply. Remember that the design you create doesn’t matter so much in the end, but the variety and randomness of colors makes a big difference.

Learn how to make your own rainbow-revealing scratch art.

DIY Scratch Art for Kids

Learn how to make your own rainbow-revealing scratch art.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Mix Your Paint

In a bowl, combine equal parts acrylic paint with dish soap (Image 1). Stir the two together gently with the foam brush to avoid creating suds in the mixture (Image 2). While we used black paint, keep in mind that you can use any color acrylic for the top layer to further customize the look of your DIY scratch art.

DIY Scratch Art for Kids
Emily Fazio
DIY Scratch Art for Kids

DIY Scratch Art for Kids

Learn how to make your own rainbow-revealing scratch art.

DIY Scratch Art for Kids

Learn how to make your own rainbow-revealing scratch art.

Apply the Paint

Use the foam brush to apply the paint-soap mixture to the crayoned paper in long, thick strokes. Acrylic paint has good coverage, so it may only take a few swipes of the brush to completely coat the surface of the cardstock.

DIY Scratch Art for Kids
Emily Fazio
DIY Scratch Art for Kids

DIY Scratch Art for Kids

Learn how to make your own rainbow-revealing scratch art.

DIY Scratch Art for Kids

Learn how to make your own rainbow-revealing scratch art.

Allow the Paint to Dry

Give the paint a few hours to cure before you let the kids dig into the surface.

Learn how to make your own rainbow-revealing scratch art.

DIY Scratch Art for Kids

Learn how to make your own rainbow-revealing scratch art.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Create Masterpieces

Give each artist a wooden chopstick to use to scratch off the top layer of paint, and watch as they reveal the rainbow of colors hidden beneath. As you might expect, the paint layer will flake off and create a small mess, but it cleans easily from table surfaces without water.

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