Make: Easy DIY Rainbow Unicorn Scratch Art

Everything’s coming up unicorns and rainbows! Have you ever tried scratch art? It’s SO colorful and one of my favorite projects to do with kids, who always seem to love scratch-off anything. I was able to repurpose an existing printable (love it when that happens!) to make this unicorn scratch art something that’s as easy as it is fun.

I have daydreams about packaging up unicorn templates and homemade scratch paper sets to use for art parties or take-home party favors because scratch art is one of those art activities kids just dive into.

Two DIY unicorn scratch art pieces sitting with a cardboard rainbow on a light pink background

For more bright and cheery kids’ art ideas, visit our rainbow road abstract art project!

To make your own unicorn scratch art you’ll need:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains Woodpeckers Crafts and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*


  • Watercolor paper or heavy cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Oil pastels
  • Dish soap
  • Black acrylic paint
  • A pair of kid-safe scissors, plastic fork, pen cap or something with a dull point to use as your scratching tool


Make these along with us, or skip down to the written directions!

DIY Unicorn Scratch Art Instructions:

  1. Print and cut out our horse template

    Print out our free printable unicorn art template on any kind of paper and out a unicorn body.
    Unicorn Scratch art template

  2. Color a half-sheet of watercolor paper or cardstock with oil pastels

    Cut a piece of watercolor paper or heavy cardstock in half and color it completely with oil pastels in any colors you want! The more colors you use, the more colorful your scratch art will be. Cover the page completely, then place it to the side.
    Easy DIY unicorn scratch - a super fun kids craft and simple art project! | via barley & birch

  3. Mix black paint with a couple of dots of dish soap and paint over the oil pastels

    Mix about 2 Tbsps of black acrylic paint with a dot or two of dish soap (Dawn works well). This will help the black paint stick to the oil pastels. Once mixed, paint over your oil pastel-covered page completely. Set aside until fully dry (you can speed drying along by hitting it with a hairdryer for 2-3 minutes).
    Easy DIY unicorn scratch - a super fun kids craft and simple art project! | via barley & birch

  4. Color a horse template with oil pastels

    While your background is drying, grab your cutout unicorn body template and color it with oil pastels – any way you choose!
    Easy DIY unicorn scratch - a super fun kids craft and simple art project! | via barley & birch

  5. Glue the horse to the center of your dry black background

    Using a glue stick, glue the unicorn body to the middle of your black background.
    Easy DIY unicorn scratch - a super fun kids craft and simple art project! | via barley & birch

  6. Use a fork (or similar tool) to scratch in the details

    Start scratching! You can add legs, a tail, a mane, and a horn following our example. Using different scratching tools will give you different results, so play around with how you scratch! Once you’ve finished scratching out the details of your unicorn, you can scratch different patterns, shapes, or objects into the background – we went with classic stars. 🙂
    Easy DIY unicorn scratch - a super fun kids craft and simple art project! | via barley & birch

These are so much fun to experiment with – the color combinations are endless, and it’s kind of magical watching your unicorn appear as you scratch away simple lines.

Two DIY unicorn scratch art pieces sitting with cardboard rainbows on a light purple background

So, there are lots of ways to make scratch art paper, and I LOVE that this process uses just a couple of supplies we already had at home, but if you don’t happen to have dish soap, here’s a rainbow scratch paper paint recipe from PBS Kids that uses liquid laundry detergent.

So proud of your rainbow-licious unicorns you just HAVE to hang them up? You can create a fun hanging display by punching a couple of holes in your scratch art pieces, tying the pieces together with yarn or ribbon, and tying them onto a dowel rod or stick. We added one of our rainbows from our Frank Stella deconstructed rainbow art project to add to the cuteness!

Two DIY unicorn scratch art pieces sitting on a light pink background

One of the highlights of this kids’ scratch art project is experimenting with new processes. For other sure-fire kid-pleasing process-based crafts, try creating a colorful rainbow softie from chalk pastels (magically smudge-free!). Make a kaleidoscope of beautiful butterflies or easy DIY process art with melted crayons! Pro-tip: these projects are the perfect additions to an art-themed kids’ party.

A DIY unicorn scratch art piece made into a wall hanging with a cardboard rainbow

*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

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Amanda E.

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.


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