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.

DIY Scratch Art for Kids

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.

DIY Scratch Art for Kids

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.

DIY Scratch Art for Kids

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.

More Painting Projects for Kids

See All Photos

Shop This Look

Next Up

Kid-Friendly Craft Project: How to Make Bubble Art

Bubble art is a great craft project for kids of all ages, but it's especially ideal for the 3- to 6-year-old crowd who just can’t get enough of that bubble solution. "More bubbles," they demand! This simple backyard activity will keep them busy for awhile.

How to Paint Pour – With Kids

Undoubtedly one of the messiest of painting trends, paint pouring is nothing short of good, sloppy, creative fun. We’re not tackling this with messy epoxies, though; we’re keeping it kid-friendly by using washable paints. Be prepared to enjoy this art project as much as the next gen.

Kid-Friendly Craft Project: Salad Spinner Art

Get crafty with paint and a salad spinner and make colorful works of art with your little ones. Spin art is perhaps the most fun, well-contained type of mess that you can make — even toddlers can easily participate. Consider this activity on a rainy day or during arts and crafts at an outdoor summer camp.

How to Make Little Explorer Binoculars

These colorful, easy-to-make binoculars will have kids on the lookout for backyard adventure all year long.

How To Make a Kid's Hammock Swing and Mini Circus Tent

Come one, come all to the backyard event of the year. Kids will have a blast with their own, personal mini circus.

How to Make Paper Pinwheels

Use old book pages, flash cards, scrapbook paper or even sheet music to make these sweet pinwheels that can bring a festive, playful touch to parties and holidays. They're a snap to make so you can whip up an entire bouquet of them to display in flowerpots, baskets, buckets or pitchers.  

Kid-Friendly Art Project: Raised Salt Painting

The reaction of water and salt is a visible phenomenon if you use watercolor paints, which is why this simple, kid-friendly art project might be the perfect creative experiment for you and your family. Design creative patterns, explore blending colors with ease and create artwork that you won’t be shy to show off on the fridge.

Turn Pool Noodles Into a Backyard Bowling Alley for Kids

Use a yoga mat, pool noodles and chip cans to create a fun and colorful backyard bowling alley.

How to Make Shell Tiaras for a Mermaid

Every mermaid deserves a crown. Learn how to craft this inexpensive headpiece for an underwater-themed party or for an accompaniment to a Halloween costume.

Break a Leg! DIY Doorway Puppet Theater

Give your kids a taste of the spotlight without leaving home.

Go Shopping

Refresh your home with stylish products handpicked by HGTV editors.

Watch Live TV

Don't miss your favorite shows. Live stream HGTV now.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.