Crayon scratch art is a traditional kids art project because it is easy, fun and has surprising colorful artwork results. This scratch art works great for kids of all ages, even younger children like preschoolers. You will only need a few supplies and this simple art project is fun to do at home or in the classroom.

Scratch Art with Crayons Feature - Kids Activities Blog - three pictures: crayons laying on a table, colorful blocks of wax crayon color and child hand scratching black background with stylus
Let’s make scratch art with crayons!

Easy Scratch Art for Kids

Crayon art is a childhood favorite for most kids.  Here is a great craft for kids that uses wax crayons and poster paint. Kids will have fun learning how to make scratch art and making some unique colorful creations.

Related: Try making rainbow scratch art

One of my favorite childhood art activities was crayon art, particularly crayon scratch art. I loved creating these beautiful pictures with their bright rainbow colors. The bright colors just seem to pop so brilliantly against the dark black background.

I just knew this would be a hit with my son so we gave it a try.

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Wax Crayon Scratch Art

Supplies Needed for Scratch art - paper, crayons pictured with a child starting the scratch art project by covering paper with colorful crayon scribbles
We will start with making a colorful foundation on paper…

Supplies Needed to Make Scratch Art with Crayons

How to Make Scratch Art with Wax Crayons

Short Video on How to Make Scratch Art with Kids

Suggested Area Preparation

Because this artwork is done all the way to the edge of the paper, it is a good idea to prepare the surface under the art by covering with wax paper, parchment paper or craft paper to allow the mess to go off the page without harming the table.

Step 1 - How to Scratch Art with Wax Crayons  - Crayon art - bright colorful blocks of color shown on a white paper
Let’s make colorful blocks of color on a piece of paper!

Step 1 – Cover Paper with Bright Color Blocks

Begin by coloring a blank paper, card stock or light colored construction paper with crayons. Cover the entire page and don’t leave any white paper showing:

  • Bright colors work best – you want colors that will stand out against the black paint that will be applied in the next step.
  • Blocks of color will create an even more beautiful effect for the final picture. We love to use many different colors.

Note: My son is four and he scribbled bright colors across the page and that worked just fine. Older children however, will be able to create blocks of color such as in the photo above.

Step 2 - Crayon Art: Kids can learn how to scratch art with wax crayons and poster paint
Time to add a black layer of paint or crayons…

Step 2 – Cover Colorful Blocks with Black Paint or Crayon

Next, use a large brush to paint black poster over the entire picture. We added a little paint into a small bowl to make it easier to paint.

Alternate Method: When I used to do this as a child, I would cover the entire picture with black crayon and that worked great too.

Note: If your kids have never done this before, they might find it pretty funny to be painting over their artwork like this, but they’ll be delighted at the next step.

Step 3 - after paint is dried - Easy Crayon Art: How to Scratch Art
After the paint is dry, we will scratch a beautiful rainbow picture!

Step 3 – Scratch the Black Canvas to Reveal the Colorful Foundation

When the black paint has dried completely, start scratching!

We used a bamboo skewer. A popsicle stick, chopstick or empty ball point pen would also work. The trick is to find something sharp enough to scratch away the paint, but safe enough for kids to use.

So many fun effects can be created, and the rainbow that is revealed as the paint is scratched away is just so beautiful.

Crayon Art - How to Scratch Art with Wax Crayons - image shows finished scratch artwork with black background and rainbow fish and seaweed
Let’s make scratch art!

I think what makes this activity so much fun is the element of surprise. You just never know quite how the picture will turn out until you start scratching away and reveal the surprise underneath!

Yield: 1

Scratch Art for Kids

Crayon scratch activity

This super easy scratch art project is perfect for kids of any age, even younger kids like preschool and Kindergarten. You may remember this traditional scratch art idea from your childhood. Start with a layer of brightly colored blocks, add a layer of black and once it is dried scratch a picture that is wonderfully colored. We are using wax crayons.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $0


  • Piece of white paper, card stock or light colored construction paper
  • Wax crayons
  • Black poster paint (or black crayon)


  • Large paint brush
  • Wooden stylus, craft stick, bamboo skewer or other scratching tool
  • (Optional) Table covering like wax paper, parchment paper or craft paper


  1. Using a wax crayon, color bright blocks of color over the entire piece of paper.
  2. Using a paint brush, cover the colorful blocks of crayon you just made with black paint entirely.
  3. Let the paint dry.
  4. Using a wooden stylus, scratch a piece of art into the black background and see the colorful results.

More Easy Art Projects from Kids Activities Blog

Did you make crayon scratch art as a child? How did your kids like this scratch art project?

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  1. The first time I did this, I used whatever crayon and painted over it with Sargent Art Time washable tempera paint (found at Walmart). Half the crayon resisted the paint, which is a cool art project on its own, but it’s not what we want to happen. The second time, I used washable crayons and the paint covered the crayon as hoped. What brand of paint did you use when you posted?

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    1. I think she meant to say black poster paint in the instructions. I haven’t tried this kind, but washable paint doesn’t work so well, because the picture shows. Even so, the process of putting paint on a drawing is fun and teaches about impermancy.

  3. I remember doing this project many years ago when I was in elementary school. Very interesting technique. I tried it once not long ago with young preschool students but it took too long for their attention spans to handle. I should try it again with a much smaller “canvas.” Thank you for the thought.