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Scratch Art Activity for Kids - Fun with Oil Pastels and Craypas

Updated on November 21, 2013
lady rain profile image

Lady Rain works as a daytime stock trader and writes about crafts and hobbies. She likes to travel when she gets the time off.

oil pastels
oil pastels | Source
colouring in
colouring in | Source
beautiful colours
beautiful colours | Source

Creating scratch art was one of my favourite past times when I was little. In those days, artwork meant using coloured pencils, oil pastels, watercolours, and not Photoshop. As a child, scratch art to me was like some kind of magic I could do with colours. For a young child who has not done this activity before, it is a magical experience.

There are days when I have to babysit a few children who want to get their hands dirty with craft activities and creative artwork. This fun activity keeps me and the children busy for an hour or two, and there is less fighting over toys, less noise and total concentration on their precious masterpieces.

The materials I need are several sheets of sketch paper, different colours of oil pastels or craypas, stencils and some bamboo skewers or toothpicks. Instead of throwing out those old boxes of oil pastel colours that are left over from previous years' art classes, I always keep them with my other art and craft supplies. These oil pastels together with other old crayons, coloured pencils and texta pens always come in handy when I have children over.

Let the artwork begin...

On a sheet of sketch paper, simply colour in a fairly heavy coat of oil pastels with lots of colours. The kids can randomly apply the colours or they can create a coloured pattern. Toddlers are encouraged to participate in this fun activity, too, but make sure they don't try to eat the colourful pastels when you are not looking. Kids at that age love colours and mess. Just let them choose their favourite colours and fill up the entire surface of the sketch paper with their own abstract artwork.

Try to cover all the white areas on the paper, show the kids how to use their fingers to rub the colours onto the white surface or blend different colours together. Hey, they might even discover yellow and blue makes green colour, and get carried away with creating their own new colours.


oh no, is this what you called having fun?
oh no, is this what you called having fun? | Source
where's my drawing gone?
where's my drawing gone? | Source
Spirelli String Art Designs
Spirelli String Art Designs | Source

Now comes the SCARY part...

Cover the entire surface of the paper with black oil pastel until all the other colours are gone. The layer of colours will stay underneath the black colour. By now, it is not a very impressive piece of artwork, I should say. Some children might be overwhelmed when they see their beautiful artwork disappear or get vandalised by a horrible black colour. Anyway, that won't be my problem if you have to spend another hour consoling a group of heartbroken kids.

When all is well again and everyone is paying attention, lay a stencil over the black colour. Use a skewer or toothpick to trace the outline of the stencil. Scratch away some of the black oil pastel in the openings of the stencil and the amazing colours will appear again. It's like MAGIC! Scratch away more of the black colour and you will get more of the other colours. Instead of using the stencils, the kids can also use the toothpicks to do their own freehand drawing on the black colour.

To prevent the oil pastels from rubbing off the final artwork, apply a film of hairspray or fixative over it and leave it overnight to dry thoroughly.

More activities for kids to do:

And some craft ideas for the adults, too:

Arts and crafts for kids from eBay


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    • lady rain profile image

      lady rain 4 years ago from Australia

      moonlake, thank you for the lovely comment. I still love this activity and getting my fingers dirty!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Very nice hub. I remember doing this myself and with my kids. Enjoyed your hub and voted up.

    • lady rain profile image

      lady rain 5 years ago from Australia

      Radcliff, I still love doing this artwork and I'm sure you are going to enjoy your project too! Have fun!

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      I loved doing this when I was a kid! I just found a pad of bristol paper from an art class I took years ago that I think should work well for this project.

    • lady rain profile image

      lady rain 5 years ago from Australia

      Tony, thanks for the suggestion, I have lots of craft magnets with me, will use them soon. Thank you for stopping by here to leave comment. Cheers.

    • tonymead60 profile image

      Tony Mead 5 years ago from Yorkshire


      good project, not expensive to do which is important, but most of will give great fun results. Just have lots of fridge magnets handy for the artwork. I think it is really important to involve kids in art from an early age.

      with respect, Tony

    • lady rain profile image

      lady rain 5 years ago from Australia

      kumar, thank you for your lovely comment!

    • profile image

      kumar24894 5 years ago from Fuck of HUBPAGES

      Nice and beautiful hub.