“Let’s go surfin’ now, everybody’s learnin’ how, come on and safari with me…”
It’s an endless summer with this fun scrape painting project you can make and stand to create your own gnarly 3-D mini surf gallery! Fire up one of your favorite Beach Boys tunes, grab some scrap craft supplies, and get ready for some design fun in the sun.
Using a paint scrape method that feels like it was tailor-made for surf art, this simple little paper & paint project combines color, composition, and process for hip (and surprisingly sophisticated!) results.
Our free printable surfboard templates make project prep a breeze. Just add paper scraps, tape, or stickers, for easy embellishments kids can use to make their own mini boards. Once they’re done, you can take this 2D project into the third dimension by gluing a fin to the back for little surfboards that stand just like the real things!
Looking for a variation that’s a little simpler or less messy? Instead of scrape painting, you can print the templates and let kids color, or use for designing their own dream surfboards with hand-drawn details.
Have a little one in the house? Make a few of these, laminate and glue a piece of sponge or scrap foam to the back. Pop them into a tray of water and watch them bob alongside our floating egg carton cup whale (TOO cute!) for an ocean-themed sensory bin.
Once you’ve enjoyed your tabletop surf art, recycle your artwork into beachy summer bookmarks, use for summer birthday gift hang-tags, or make into a 2-D art keepsake by gluing to a beach-themed torn paper landscape (…need a beach-specific example? It’s the same process we used to make the backgrounds for these pictures!).
To make your own paint scrape surfboards you’ll need:
- Heavy cardstock or watercolor paper
- Acrylic or tempera paints in a variety of colors
- A piece of cardboard, an old rewards card or something similar with a straight-edge to use for scraping
DIY Scrape Paint Surfboard Art Instructions:
- Print or draw simple surfboard shapes
You can use our free printable Surf’s Up Template Set to print or trace all different kinds of boards directly onto cardstock or watercolor paper, or freehand draw your own.
- Make dots of different colored paint drops at the top of your paper
Carefully squeeze a few dots of paint in different colors at the top of your paper. You don’t need much paint at all – about a dime-sized drop of each (maybe even less!)
Place a straight-edged piece of cardboard, cereal box, or old rewards card at the top of your page. Using just a little pressure, pull it across the surface – scraping the paint from top to bottom.
If your paint hasn’t covered all of your surfboards, you can scrape it again and again until you’re happy with the way it looks!
- Try different color combinations and sizes of surfboards
Our templates have lots of different styles of surfboards you can try. Experiment with different color combinations to see how the colors mix.
We found that using a piece of cardboard as a scraper, with yellows and peaches for paint colors, made scrape-painted surfboards that look like they have a cool wood texture.
- Cut out the surfboards
Use scissors to cut out your surfboards. When the paint is scraped, it leaves thin, bright streaks of color that are semi-transparent, so you should be able to see the outlines of your surfboards easily.
- Use scrap paper or other decorative craft supplies to add details.
Once you’ve finished cutting out your surfboards, you can either stop right there (they look so cool!) or you can add some small details with scrap paper, tape, stamps or stickers!
You may want to use some photos of surfboards as a reference.
- Glue a fin to the back and stand
If you’d like your surfboards to stand up, finish the project by cutting out a fin (included in our template). Fold along the dotted lines, apply glue along the middle strip, then attach to the back of your surfboard – toward the bottom, centered in the middle.
These bright and colorful surfboards look SO amazingly summery, you’ll be ready to pack up the woody and hit the waves!
For a full day of surf-themed fun, you can pair this activity with these ideas:
- Use ribbons and recycled items to create gorgeous 3-D jellyfish from ART CAMP
- Beach-y art prompts from Make It Your Own offer a unique way for kids to write their own summer story
- This little lighthouse (that doubles as a marble run!) from Handmade Charlotte is a fun STEAM seaside build for kids.
- Recycle some paper tubes to make an adorable Hula girl or mermaid from Molly Moo Crafts or this shark from hello, Wonderful
- Make mermaid charm necklaces or use real beach finds for clay shell pendants from Oh Creative Day
- Create your own playdough sea turtles
- Put together a mini sandcastle kit like this cute travel-sized version from Play Trains
For more beach projects, visit our simple DIY crab softie, try making a beachy cardboard love shack, or help kids practice their surf skills from the living room with an actual, life-sized DIY balance board!