scratch art - hand made!

Well, I saw this in one of my "art projects" books and decided it was time to try it. I had all the materials needed, so what the heck. Fifth grade was a good fit for this project.
I instructed the students to make some curvy lines going from one side of the paper to the other and then make that line thick by adding another line next to it. See my example below...

Using oil pastels, I encouraged the use of many bright colors to fill up the spaces in between the lines. I also mentioned that this project won't have that magical effect if they didn't push firmly and get a thick coating of oil pastels on their paper.

Notice that the curvy lines are not colored in as they will be black when the project is finished.

Once the students have completed coloring with the oil pastels, they bring their paper back to the inking station (just a few thick pieces of paper layed on the counter with a paint brush and some India ink in a cup - oooh, fancy!).
Using the paint brush, I figured out that the ink should be dabbed on, not brushed across the paper. I found that if you brush the ink across the paper, some of the oil pastel particles come off the paper, plus you want a thick coating of ink over the pastels.

Using some sort of stylus or clay tool or a found plastic stick thing like we did, you begin to scrape away the black ink revealing the color underneath. Each of my tables had a variety of patterns and shapes to look at to use on their projects. They needed to use a different pattern in each shape. Let me say this, some of the ink didn't scrape off and I have no idea why. Maybe the oil pastel wasn't thick enough or the ink was laid on too thick. For what ever reason the end result was beautiful and individually unique!



  • Katie Morris | March 23, 2010 at 10:23 PM

    Cool! I remember making scratch art in 2nd grade. We just used crayons and I think black tempera paint with a little dish soap added to it? Something like that.

  • Jess | June 12, 2010 at 4:33 PM

    This is a great way to get kids to experiment with Line.

    I have a similar lesson on my blog teaching Line in Kindergarten, but I think both mine and yours could be adaptable for many grade levels.


  • Kelly G. | July 22, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    I really like this lesson! I first saw this lesson in Usborne's Art Ideas book but I had heard that crayon and tempera scratch art did not work too well. How could the students tell which areas to scratch in?

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