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Kids Arts and Crafts Activities Painting

How to do Splatter Painting with Kids


Splatter painting is a favorite action art activity for kids of all ages! Here are tips and tricks plus ideas for what to do with the finished artworks.

pink and yellow splatter painting
Photo by Rachel Withers

Updated May 2021

Have you done splatter painting with kids? If so, you know how fun this action art activity can be.

There’s splatter painting and then there’s splatter painting.

One thing is for sure:

Splatter painting is a big-time favorite with all the kids I’ve known.

I’ve done art with many kids over the years – in weekly art groups, art classes, with my own kids, and with their friends – and everyone loves this action art activity.

Heck, I love it, too!

How To Do Splatter Painting with Kids 

Okay, that’s enough gushing! I’m going to share the best instructions for trying splatter painting with kids (don’t worry, it’s easy!) as well as some tips and tricks I’ve learned from the countless times I’ve done this.

pink, purple and blue splatter painting
Photo by Rachel Withers

The best thing about splatter painting is it’s versatile! You can do it:

  • Small or big
  • On paper, canvas, or cardboard
  • With watercolors, tempera, or acrylics
  • With toddlers, preschoolers, big kids, and even adults

Plus I’ll share some ideas for what to do with your finished splatter art.

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  • Runny paint in cups*
  • Paper (or cardboard, poster board, or a bed sheet)
  • Spoon or brush

*A somewhat liquid or runny paint is best. (All the better for splattering with, my dear) We’ve used all different kinds, including liquid watercolors, watered-down tempera paint, and watered down craft acrylics.


  1. Set up for the mess

    If you’re doing your painting OUTSIDE, simply lay your paper on the ground and go at it. (We used cardboard as a sturdy surface, but it isn’t necessary.)

    If you’re brave enough to do splatter painting INSIDE, I recommend covering your work surface with a drop cloth and doing it on a smaller scale (think wrist flicks instead of whole arm flicks).

    jar of yellow paint and splatter painting

  2. Start splatter painting!

    Dip your paint brush or spoon into the paint then flick your wrist to splatter the paint across the paper.

    kids doing splatter painting outside

  3. Repeat!

    Continue splattering with one or more colors until you’re happy with your painting.
    Then, let dry.

Encourage your child to experiment with a range of splatter motion: try brief wrist flicks or expansive wrist flicks. Splatter with your whole arm, upper body, or entire body. See what happens when you splatter close to the surface or far away. Try circular motions or up and down motions.

orange red and blue painting

What to Do with Your Splatter Art

Now that you’ve had fun painting, what will you do with your splatter art? Here are some ideas…

More Action Art Activities for Kids

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How to do Splatter Painting with Kids


  • Reply
    August 3, 2017 at 7:57 am

    I’m thinking of doing this with T-shirts instead of regular paper/canvas. What type of ink would you recommend?

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      August 9, 2017 at 7:09 am

      Watered-down acrylic paints (or the liquid kind of craft acrylic paints) would be best on fabric as they are permanent. Have fun!

    • Reply
      October 16, 2017 at 9:22 pm

      dont do it at all

    • Reply
      Josh Mason
      May 31, 2018 at 4:29 pm

      That T-shirt idea could end up spawning a photoshoot as well by simply wearing the white shirts and splatter-painting each other while wearing them.

  • Reply
    January 8, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    What is the fun in that? The messier the better, and wow whata memory to share!

  • Reply
    Franklin White
    March 19, 2020 at 3:37 pm

    I like the advice you gave to layout paper on the ground and have cardboard beneath it so it acts a sturdy surface. My youngest son is turning five next week and I think he would love this! I’ll find a company that can come and provide the paint for us so we don’t have to worry about buying paint that won’t potentially harm our son and his friends.

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