Make: Surfboard Scrape Painting Art for Kids

It’s an endless summer with this fun scrape painting project you can make and stand to create your own gnarly 3-D mini surfboard gallery! Fire up one of your favorite Beach Boys tunes, grab some scrap painting craft supplies, and get ready for some design fun in the sun.

Using a paint scrape technique 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.

Seven of our DIY painted paper surfboards sitting on a white background with colorful paper scraps

Our printable surfboard templates make project prep a breeze (you can always draw your own surfboard shapes too). 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 them for designing their own dream surfboards with hand-drawn details.

A line of our DIY miniature paper surfboard scrape paintings sitting on a taupe paper beach surface with paper waves in the background.

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!) or scrap supply sailboats for an ocean-themed sensory bin.

Once you’ve enjoyed your handmade tabletop surfboard, recycle your artwork into beachy summer bookmarks, use it for summer birthday gift hang-tags, or make it into a 2-D art keepsake by gluing it to a beach-themed torn paper landscape (…need a beach-specific example? It’s the same process we used to make the backgrounds for the pictures above!).

To make your own scrape painting surfboards you’ll need:


  • Heavy cardstock or watercolor paper
  • Scissors
  • 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:

  1. Print or draw simple surfboard shapes

    You can use our printable surfboard template set to print or trace all different kinds of boards directly onto cardstock or watercolor paper, or freehand draw your own.

  2. 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!)Make a line of paint dots in different colors at the top of your surfboard template

  3. Scrape!

    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.
    Scrape the paint across your surfboards using a straight piece of cardboard or old credit card
    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!

  4. 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. Make lots of different surfboard scrape paintings
    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.

  5. 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.

    Cut out your scrape painted surfboards

  6. 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!
    Decorate your scrape painted surfboards with paper scraps, tape or other craft supplies
    You may want to use some photos of surfboards as a reference.

  7. 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.
    Cut out a fin support and glue to the back of your surfboard scrape painting to stand

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 surfboard scrape painting craft with these summery activity ideas:

Three surfboard scrape painting crafts sitting on a paper beach and ocean wave background.

For more beach projects, visit our simple DIY crab softie, try making a beachy cardboard love shack, create cool scrap supply pool art, or help kids practice their surf skills from the living room with an actual, life-sized DIY balance board!

A line of our DIY miniature surfboards sitting on a taupe paper beach surface with paper waves in the background.
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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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    • You always approach writing prompts in such fresh, fun ways – I just love your idea! (and thank you for the peanut butter jar lantern love – that was an old fifth-grade camp activity. At the time we didn’t have flameless battery-powered lights, so they were really just for show – loved it so much though!) – Xx Amanda