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How to Make DIY Scratch Art

by Jean Van't Hul
June 2, 2022
DIY scratch painting

DIY scratch art is easier to make than you might think. Kids can make this beautiful scratch art paper with oil pastels, black paint, and toothpicks.

Updated July 2022

Before we tried this DIY scratch art, we thought it would be too much work and kept buying premade scratch art paper.

But we finally did it ourselves and it was so easy! And fun.

Here’s a video showing DIY Scratch Art in action! And don’t forget to scroll down to get the step-by-step instructions.

scratch art pin graphic
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul
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How to Make DIY Scratch Art



  1. Add color

    First, cover the paper with oil pastel drawings until the entire sheet is full of color.

    Making our own scratch art paper with oil pastels and paint

  2. Cover with black paint

    Then paint over the oil pastel with a layer of black paint.

    Making our own scratch art paper with oil pastels and paint

  3. Draw in designs

    Finally, scratch your pictures and designs through the surface of the wet paint with toothpicks and Q-tips.

    Making and Using Our Own Scratch Art Paper

We use oil pastels rather than crayons and scratch the design through the wet paint which is both easier and quicker than if you wait for the paint to dry.

Here are some more tips and notes we’ve discovered that make the process even easier.

DIY Scratch Art Paper
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul
  • Paper size: Smaller sheets of paper are quicker to fill with color. You can cut your paper in half, or go even smaller.
  • Age: It’s important to fill the entire sheet with color, so this project works better with preschoolers or older, who can/will do that. For toddlers, you can make the scratch art paper for them and let them do the final step of scratching designs in the paper.
  • Wet vs dry: We usually make our scratch art pictures and designs while the paint is still wet and it works great. We’ve tried letting some dry first and found that the paint flakes off more unevenly.
  • Paint type: The BioColor paint we use needed two layers to coat the oil pastel layer perfectly. We don’t usually do two layers though, and like it fine with a bit of color peeking through. You can add a couple drops of liquid dish soap to make it coat the oil pastels more evenly. We’ve also tried acrylics, which coat better than the BioColor, and tempera paint.
diy_scratch_art (1)
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

We highly recommend giving this DIY scratch art activity a try with your kids!

More Scratch Art Activities for Kids

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How to Make DIY Scratch Art

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