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Abstract Scatch Art

This project was inspired by Swiss artist Paul Klee. Paul Klee (1879-1940) was an abstract artist known for his highly individual style, which was influenced by many different art movements, including Expressionism, Cubism and Surrealism. Random colors in the background appear as your design is scratched out, offering a fun surprise whether you create a partial or total abstraction with your drawing!


  • White construction paper (can be very small – my example here is 4 1/2” x 6”)
  • Blue painter’s tape or drafting tape
  • Oil pastels
  • Nail for scratching
  • Baby wipes for clean-up


  1. Tape the edges of your paper using a low-tack tape that won’t tear your paper when you remove it. This will give a crisp, white border around your finished work.
  2. Cover your paper with bright colors (no black), pressing hard and not leaving any white paper showing (no need to layer colors as only the color touching the paper will show).
  3. Cover this with a thick layer of solid black.
  4. Scratch out your design using a nail. Use as many different types of lines as you can think of.
  5. Wash your hands before removing the tape for a nice, clean edge!
Here’s an alternate to this project done with “total abstraction”…. not unlike your basic “doodle”, but using as many different types of lines as you can think of!
“Fish Magic” by Paul Klee

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  1. I remember doing something like this when I was in elementary school!! I will definitely be trying this with my students!