Splat painting so easy and so much fun for kids! This simple action art activity involves hitting paint-soaked cotton balls with a small mallet or spoon.
Updated July 2023
Splat painting is fun, fun, fun.
And it’s so simple!
- Dip cotton balls in paint.
- Place paint-soaked cotton ball on paper.
- Hit it with a small wooden mallet or spoon.
Then watch as paint splats and splatters out of the cotton ball.
Your kids will want to do it over and over again!
Here’s a brief video showing splat painting in action. And then keep scrolling for a quick tutorial.
Splat Painting for Kids
- Cotton balls
- Small cups (we actually used jelly jars)
- Liquid watercolor paint (or food coloring)
- Watercolor paper or card stock
- Small wooden mallet*
- Set up for splat painting
As you can imagine, splat painting is a tad messy and is a great outdoor art activity. A hard surface works best, as you’ll be pounding with a mallet. We set up a small kids’ table on the back deck, but you could also do this on a sidewalk or driveway.
To set up, we put liquid watercolor paint in small cups and watered it down. You could also use food coloring or even watered-down tempera paint.
You can also tape down the corners of watercolor paper to hold it in place as the kids pound and the paint splats.
- Dip cotton balls in paint
You can do them one at a time, as you’re going to use the cotton ball. Or you put a cotton ball into each paint cup to soak at the same time.
- Place paint-soaked cotton ball on paper
You can transfer the cotton balls from paint cups to paper with a spoon, tongs, or fingers.
- Hit it!
And watch as paint splats and splatters out of the cotton ball.
Kids get such a thrill out of watching the trajectory of the paint splatters. Plus, of course, they love pounding the cotton balls with their little mallets or spoons.
Remove the cotton ball with a spoon, fingers, or tongs and repeat with more colors and more balls as desired.
If your kids are looking for more opportunities to get messy, try these splat painting ideas, too!
- Drop paint-covered cotton balls onto paper from a distance (standing up, on a chair, or from a porch)
- Fill water balloons with DIY chalk paint and drop onto the sidewalk (on Growing a Jeweled Rose)
- Splat painting with paint dots and cotton rounds (on A Crafty Morning)
People Also Ask
- How do you splatter paint with a straw? You can achieve splat-like results by dripping paint onto paper and then blowing the wet paint with a straw! Blow painting is one of our favorite art activities!
- How do you splat paint? It’s easy! Simply dip cotton balls in paint, then place paint-soaked cotton ball on paper. Next, hit it with a small wooden mallet or spoon and watch as paint splats and splatters out of the cotton ball!
- What paint do you use for splatter painting? You can use liquid watercolors, food coloring, or watered down tempera paint.
More Messy Art Ideas for Kids
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- How to Do Spin Art with a Salad Spinner
- Marble Painting for Kids
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