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How do you make paint look splatter?

Making paint look like it has been splattered can be a fun and creative way to add interest to a variety of DIY projects. Whether you want to make a paint-splattered accent wall, give furniture a distressed look, or create abstract art, there are several techniques you can use to achieve a splatter effect with paint.

Materials Needed

Here are the basic materials you’ll need:

  • Paint – Latex paint works best for splatter techniques. Have a few colors on hand to create a varied look.
  • Brush – A brush with stiff bristles works best.
  • Toothbrush – For finer splatter.
  • Stencil – Use cardboard, poster board, or plastic to cut out custom splatter shapes.
  • Drop cloth – Protect your floors and furniture.
  • Gloves and rags – For protecting hands and cleaning up.
  • Sponges – For dabbing and making splats.
  • Plastic spoons – For flicking paint.
  • Skewers – For dripping paint.
  • Straws – For blowing paint.

Splatter Paint Techniques

Here are some techniques for making paint look splattered:


Flicking paint off a brush bristle or plastic spoon creates small dots of splatter. Dip the brush or spoon in paint, then run your finger across the bristles or edge to flick paint onto the surface. Adjust the force to control the size of the dots.


Load a stiff brush or toothbrush with paint, then gently tap the bristles with your finger to make the paint spray out. Holding the brush closer to the surface will make a finer dot pattern.


For thin drips, load paint onto a skewer and let it drip onto the surface. You can also pour paint from a spoon or cup. Tilt or tap the container to control the drip size.


Dip a straw into paint and blow through it to make splatters. Cut the straw at an angle for more control over the direction. Blowing forcefully creates larger splats.


Use a natural-bristle brush, sponge, or rag to dab paint directly onto the surface. Dab repeatedly to build up layers of splats and splotches.

Using a Stencil

Cut custom splatter shapes from cardboard, plastic, or thick paper. Hold the stencil against the surface and splatter paint over it using any of the techniques. Lift the stencil away to reveal the pattern.

Achieving a Splatter Look

Here are some tips for getting the perfect splattered effect:

  • Use layers – Build up colors and textures by splattering paint in multiple rounds.
  • Overlap dots – Allow drips and splats to overlap for a natural look.
  • Use random motions – Flick, splatter, and blow in different directions.
  • Vary force – Use light and heavy flicks/blows to get large and small dots.
  • Work quickly – Some techniques are best for wet paint before it starts drying.
  • Let layers dry – Allow paint to dry between coats to prevent muddying.
  • Don’t overblend – The beauty is in the randomness!

Splatter Paint Project Ideas

Here are some fun DIY projects you can make using splatter paint techniques:

Splatter Paint Accent Wall

Transform a boring wall into an artistic focal point by splattering on bright acrylic paint. Try using painters tape to create sharp edges.

Distressed Furniture

Give thrift store finds new life with a distressed paint job. Chip paint away, then splatter on new layers for a timeworn look.

Abstract Canvas Art

Create modern art by splattering paint onto canvas. Experiment with color combinations and layering.

Faux Stain Glass

Make faux stained glass by taping off shapes on windows, then filling them in with splattered paint. The effect is especially striking with backlighting.

Splatter Ceramic Vases

Upgrade plain terra cotta pots by splattering them with paint. Use tape to create patterns and designs.

Graffiti-Style Signs

Personalize a wooden sign, canvas banner, or other surface by splattering it with spray paint for a street art vibe.

Ombre Textile Art

Soak fabric in water, then lay it flat and splatter different colored paint from light to dark to achieve an ombre tie-dye effect.

Safety Tips

Use these precautions when working with splatter paint techniques:

  • Work in a well-ventilated area – fumes can build up.
  • Wear gloves and eye protection.
  • Cover surfaces completely with drop cloth.
  • Use painter’s tape on areas you don’t want paint on.
  • Clean up paint spills immediately.
  • Store paint properly when finished.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after handling paint.


With some simple tools and techniques, you can easily learn how to make paint look artfully splattered. Flicking, blowing, dripping, and splatting paint allows you to create gorgeous abstract effects. Use these splatter paint techniques to customize walls, furniture, canvas art, and more. Just be sure to work safely and let those creative juices flow!