Learn how to splatter paint with kids, a great messy painting activity you can do outdoors! It’s forgiving, fun, and perfect to use up leftover paints.
How to splatter paint with kids & create rainbow art
This is something I have been wanting to do with R since we finished up her rainbow-striped mural wall…I had just enough paint left over of each color to use for a project, and I had an old canvas just begging to be painted!
So one Saturday morning when we had nothing else going on, I decided I’d let her splatter paint it. Wondering how to splatter paint with kids? Well, splatter painting is easy, but it is messy! Messy with adults, definitely messy with kids.
I had to make sure I was in just the right mood to be patient with this project! But she had a blast, and it looks lovely hanging in her rainbow-themed room (more on the artistic “treasure hunt map” she added at the end of the tutorial).
Here’s what we used:
And here’s how to splatter paint!
Step 1: Prep your area
I recommend doing this only outside or in an area that you do not care about getting very messy. We used a drop cloth for easy cleanup but got a bunch of paint splatters on the patio, too. I probably could have kept it to the drop cloth, but R definitely couldn’t!
I didn’t mind getting paint on the patio, though. This patio is about to be demo’ed and removed, so it’s no biggie for us. I put the canvas on the drop cloth and centered it.
Also—for our canvas, we just used an old canvas and rolled some plain white paint over it. It’s great if you can find any old canvas from Goodwill! As long as it’s in decent shape and smooth, you can paint over almost anything.
Step 2: Mix paints
I recommend using a water-soluble acrylic paint for this project. It will look the best on canvas. Add a tablespoon or two into a cup with paint and stir well. Remember that it’s easier to add more water if the paint is too thick.
When using acrylic paints…just remember that kids are not very careful, so it’s a bit harder to wash off. Put them in clothes you don’t care about, including socks!
We went barefoot and R’s feet ended up covered in paint splatters. It would have been so easy to just chuck socks that were already on their last leg! And of course my feet were covered, too. But I did far less tracking into the house 🙂
If you are doing splatter painting with very little kids, I recommend using only kid-friendly paints that wash off with ease. Then you’d have to worry less about the paint getting on stuff.
Step 3: Start splattering!
And then it’s time to start paint splattering! I just used an assortment of regular paintbrushes for this project. I simply dipped a brush in to get plenty of paint on it, and then I flicked it toward the canvas.
The more paint you load the brush with and the harder you flick it with your wrist, the more lines and less splatters you’ll get. I think it looks really cool with a mixture of both.
I initially started washing our the brushes between each color, but when things started getting really messy, I just used a paper towel to wipe the excess off. That worked fine.
Step 4: Let it dry
And here’s where working with a four-year-old artist reared its creative head. I stepped inside to grab some more paper towels, and she took a brush and made a “treasure map” on the canvas while I was inside.
Did I originally have a moment of panic? Yes, I’m a control freak and I had a vision for this piece 🙂 But is she 4 and was she having a blast? And is this going in HER rainbow room? Yes. And man if she wasn’t SO proud of the treasure map she made.
We now call this piece “treasure splatter,” and it’s hanging up in her room. Since the paint was a bit thick in some spots, I gave this piece about 24 hours to dry in our cool basement (it was SUPER humid at the time) before hanging it.