Flick, throw, and dip. While these may not seem like traditional art terms, they’re the exact methods paint splatter artists use to create beautiful, abstract works of art on everything from canvas to clothing to the sides of buildings. 

Paint splatter art has become increasingly popular because, in addition to being incredibly easy, it’s also versatile and fun! Whether you use your own two hands, paintbrushes, or other tools to splash paint on a surface, it’s sure to get you out of your seat and in touch with your creative side. 

If you’re ready to get a little messy (literally!), we’re throwing you a handful of paint splatter projects to try out yourself. (Note: If you’re new to using paint this way, check out our beginner’s article on paint splatter tips and tricks before you begin.)

5 Paint Splatter Projects to Try Yourself

  1. Monogrammed Paint Splatter Cards

If you’re on the prowl for a small, simple, and utilitarian art project, this is a great place to start. Not only is this project a nice introduction to paint splatter, but it’ll also yield beautiful monogrammed cards that you can use year round!

What You’ll Need:

  • Blank, folded cards
  • Tape
  • Small to medium paint brushes
  • Several of your favorite paint colors (or 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, 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’re set up, 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 of 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. 

When 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 could even create matching envelopes!

Stamp a monogram on paint splatter note cards, like these created by    Rebekah J. Murray   .
Stamp a monogram on paint splatter note cards, like these created by Rebekah J. Murray.

2. Paint Splatter Mural or Accent Wall

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 with splash paint. This project is similar to a small-scale project (like the monogrammed cards above), only you’re working on a much larger canvas and using 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:

  • Interior paint
  • Large brushes and other items you can use to get your splatter on (balloons and round sponges are just a couple suggestions)
  • Painter’s tape
  • Plastic or drop cloth to cover surfaces/furniture

Before you begin, 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 begins. Just 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 makes for easier cleanup down the road.

Splatter Paint Wall by George Pagan III
Splatter Paint Wall by George Pagan III

3. Negative Space Framed Painting

This paint splatter project is perfect for those who want to splash paint and create something to hang on your wall without committing to a full-blown mural or tapestry. 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
  • Tape
  • 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, the paint splattering fun begins. 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 too soon can smear the edges and muss up your work). Frame your artwork and hang it proudly wherever it fits in best.

These   "Splattered trees"   by   Lauren Manning   would be perfect for your holiday cards. (Licensed under   CC BY 2.0  .)
These “Splattered trees” by Lauren Manning would be perfect for your holiday cards. (Licensed under CC BY 2.0.)

4. Paint Splatter Jeans

If you’re looking for a fun project that is a bit of a departure from traditional paint splatter art, try painting a pair of jeans or pants. You’ll end up with a trendy, one-of-a-kind piece for your wardrobe and you’ll explore the power of paint splash along the way!

What You’ll Need: 

  • A pair of jeans or pants that will serve as your “canvas”
  • Fabric paint
  • Disposable gloves
  • Cardboard or newspaper to protect your painting surface

Begin by laying your jeans flat on your covered surface and then put on gloves. With your hand flat and upright, pour the first color of paint directly into the center of your gloved palm and make a loose fist to prevent any paint from dripping. Then, hover over your jeans and alternate between a tightly closed fist and an open hand to “splatter” paint onto your jeans. 

Experiment with the pressure of your closed fist and the speed at which you open the same to create different patterns within your splatter, while also creating variation within the thicknesses of the paint. Don’t be afraid to move around your work area and try splattering from different angles and heights.  

You can use as many layers of color as you like, though you’ll want to allow the first color to dry before moving on to another. If you plan to paint both the front and back of your jeans, be sure to let the first side dry completely before you flip them over. By the time you’re finished, you’ll have an exciting new pair of jeans and new depth to your paint splatter skills!

A colorful pair of paint splatter jeans by Painted Peacock Creations, LLC
A colorful pair of paint splatter jeans by Painted Peacock Creations, LLC

5. Paint Splatter Vector (or Digital Paint Splatter)

As an alternative to learning how to draw paint splatter, 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 can be exported into other programs. 

Learn More About Procreate

Procreate Fundamentals: Everything You Didn’t Realize You Wanted to Know

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.

Splatter jellyfish illustration from Skillshare instructor Heidi Cogdill’s course,    Inky Splatter Illustrations using Adobe Fresco Watercolor Brushes and Brush Selection Tool   .
Splatter jellyfish illustration from Skillshare instructor Heidi Cogdill’s course, Inky Splatter Illustrations using Adobe Fresco Watercolor Brushes and Brush Selection Tool.

Paint splatter art offers incredible freedom and flexibility. Whether you’re creating an accent wall in your home or personalized cards to send to your friends and family, paint splatter allows you to be spontaneous, creative, and to create works that you’ll be proud of!

Can’t get enough paint splatter projects? Try these Skillshare courses to expand your splash paint skills to other genres of art: 

Watercolour Basics: How to Add Splatters to Your Work

Digital Marbling: Create Stunning Abstract Art in Procreate