Remember how good it felt as a kid to dip your fingers in paint and smear a rainbow of pigment across the page? Or how freeing it was to let your arm run wild without any care for staying inside the lines? Paint splatter projects allow you to harness that same sort of unrestrained spirit and let your creativity fly.
All you have to do is reach for a brush (or you can use your fingers or another tool), dip it in paint, and flick it with conviction at your desired canvas. The result? A momentum-based display of haphazardly placed color that’s worthy of being framed and hung.
If you’re ready to get a little messy (literally!), we’re throwing you a handful of paint splatter projects you can try out yourself. These projects range from small-scale traditional plant splatter to digitally created plant splatter vector. (If you’re new to using paint this way, it might be helpful to check out our beginner’s article on paint splatter tips and tricks before you begin.)
Monogrammed Paint Splatter Cards
If you’re on the prowl for a small, simple, and utilitarian paint splatter art project, this one is a great place to start. Not only does this project make a nice intro to paint splatter, but it’ll also yield you some beautiful monogrammed cards that you can use throughout the coming months. The recipients will be super grateful, too.
What You’ll Need:
Blank, folded cards
Small to medium paint brushes
Several of your favorite paint colors (or you can keep it chic with silver or gold paint, which is more affordable on these small-scale projects) Any type of paint works, but we recommend acrylic, watercolor, or gouache.
Monogram stamp, which you can find on Etsy (alternatively, you can use monogram stickers or try out some free-hand brush lettering)
To create these monogrammed paint splatter cards, start by dispensing your preferred paint colors into small containers or onto a palette. Next, carefully tape the card together via a tape loop that’s placed gently between the layers. (Opt for low-cost tape, which tends to be less sticky.) Finally, place the card on top of a craft table that’s been covered in newspaper. This is going to get messy!
Once you are set up, you can go wild with your paint splatter. Feel free to switch between colors or keep it monochromatic. Keep in mind that you can employ a couple different tricks for different effects, including a wrist flicking motion, using your fingers to pull brush bristles back and letting the colors fly, or holding a drenched brush directly above the card and letting gravity work its magic. For more inspiration and nuanced guidance click here.
Once you’ve finished, allow the paint to dry completely, remove the tape, and carefully place your monogram over the splatter. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even create matching envelopes!
Paint Splatter Mural or Accent Wall
We argue that one of today’s most fun interior design trends is the accent wall, and one ingenious, low-budget way to add character to your home is to go all-in on paint splattering one. This project is similar to a small-scale project (like the monogrammed cards above), only you’re working on a much larger “canvas” and house paint to make sure you achieve a professional-looking effect. If you’re feeling a little hesitant about painting your actual walls, consider working on a large tapestry that you can hang up instead.
What You’ll Need:
Large brushes and other items you can use to get your splatter on (balloons and round sponges you can throw are just a couple suggestions)
Plastic or drop cloth to cover surfaces/furniture
Before you begin this project, make sure your walls are cleaned and primed. You’ll also want to paint them a uniform base color (if necessary) to make sure your splatter project “pops.” We recommend removing furniture from the space, and/or covering items with plastic or a drop cloth to prevent any unfortunate messes. The floor and other walls will need to be covered, as well, and you’ll want to use painter’s tape on smaller areas where you don’t want paint.
It’s a lot of prep, but once it’s all taken care of, the fun beginsJust be sure to keep a few things in mind. First, the larger the object that you’re using the splatter paint, the larger the splatter will be (and vice versa). Second, note that excess paint placed on the wall will create some dripping since you’re working on a vertical surface. For these reasons, we recommend using small amounts of paint versus generous glops -- at least until you get the hang of it.
Once the paint splatter on your wall has dried, it’s important to apply a sealant. This helps prevent chipping and cracking, creates a nice sheen, and make for easier cleanup down the road.
Negative Space Framed Painting
This plant splatter project is perfect for those who don’t want to commit to a full-blown mural or tapestry, but still want to create something you can hang on your wall. It utilizes the same paint throwing techniques mentioned above, only it adds the twist of negative space for some visual oomph.
What You’ll Need:
A canvas or quality painter’s paper (you choose the size)
Small to medium paint brushes
Several of your favorite paint colors
Flat objects that you can place onto the canvas before painting, such as leaves or paper cutouts
Start by gently taping the object onto your canvas using looped tape. It’s important that the edges are all securely taped down so that the outline of the object will be crisp and clear. Next dispense your preferred paint choices into small containers or onto a palette, then place the canvas on top of a craft table covered in newspaper. (If the canvas is too big, head outdoors and use the ground instead. Place newspaper, plastic, or a drop cloth underneath for easier cleanup).
Once prepped, you can begin paint splattering. Really focus your efforts around the taped object, ensuring that it’s completely surrounded by paint so that the “imprint” shows up well. You can even gently dab around it with a sponge. Allow the paint to dry completely and then remove the taped object (note that removing it to soon can smear the edges and muss up your work). Frame your artwork and hang it proudly wherever it fits in best.
Paint Splatter Drawing
If the idea of flinging your arm wildly isn’t really your cup of tea, perhaps the soothing process of sitting down to carefully draw paint splatter may appeal more to your senses. This technique requires patience and lots of practice, but we argue that it’s not nearly as complicated as, say, drawing a person or a landscape. In fact, it’s a great place to start drawing since paint splatter (by its very nature) is imperfect.
The process is as straightforward as putting your pen to paper and creating the outline of a blob, then created tinier blobs all around it. Some ways you can perfect this technique is to study the shape of an existing paint splatter, or to trace around dried (or printed) paint splatter. You can outline with a pencil at first, then go back in with a colored pencil, marker, or pen.
These hand-drawn paint splats can be incorporated into your other drawings, your bullet journal, and really any other project you want to tackle (including the three we outlined above).
Paint Splatter Vector (or Digital Paint Splatter)
As an alternative to learning how to draw paint splatter, you can also opt to dabble in creating digital paint splatters -- vector images that are created on your computer or smart device.
Digitally created paint splatter is quite precise, so it’s a different spin on the traditional free-for-all. Still, you can create that unrestrained look with Photoshop, Illustrator, Procreate, or similar digital art applications. Procreate makes it especially easy to create your own paint splatter brushes, which you can then export into other programs.
Once you get the hang of digitally creating paint splatter, you can incorporate the technique into various projects ranging from business logos to digital paintings to web design and beyond. Before you know it, you’ll be a bona fide paint splatter artist.
Paint splatter offers incredible freedom and flexibility (even when it’s being created via a drawing or digital application) both in the sense that there’s no rhyme, reason, or sense in it. So embrace that inner elementary school student — the one who didn’t care if the lines were crossed or their hands got messy — and let your creativity fly. Literally!
Ready to get your hands dirty? Skillshare’s got thousands of classes on splatter paint, digital drawing and hundreds of other topics that will help you reconnect with your creative spirit.