splash painted shirt

DIY Splatter Paint: Add Color to Your Wardrobe

Artful splatter paint is everywhere. You’ll see men and women dressing like painters with paint splatter on their shirts, denim jeans, dress shirts, hoodie and shoes ー every piece of clothing actually.

Social media is filled with your favorite celebrities wearing splatter paint shirts, bandanas, jackets, shorts, pants and even jewelry. But it doesn’t stop at clothing and accessories, you’ll see the splatter paint trend at home as well: on blankets, bedsheets, home furnishings and kitchenware.

It has become increasingly popular again and people can pay up to hundreds of dollars for this design.

So what is splatter paint? Why has it become all the rage and how can you recreate it at home?

What is splatter paint?

Splatter paint art or paint splatter art is a method that artists use that involves using brushes dipped in paint and then flicking, throwing, or letting the paint drip onto a canvas, rather than the more traditional painting method.

The splatter paint art method is considered to be part of the Abstract Expressionist movement meant to allow emotion to flow freely through art. It starts with a blank canvas without much planning to begin with. The mood then dictates the direction of the picture and as the image begins to build, the artist will then work with that concept until the finishing touches.

Who started the splatter paint trend?

The trend started in the 1940s with Jackson Pollock leading the abstract movement. At the time of war, artists were restricted and censorship was prevalent. Splatter Painting then grew popular as it conveys feelings and messages in a safe and more secretive manner.

Jackson Pollock became popular with his drip and splash techniques which became an inspiration for many artists. Pollock was nicknamed “Jack the Dripper” with his paintings valued anywhere between $12 million to $140 million.

Just like how Van Gogh influenced the impressionist era, Jackson Pollock had a huge impact on the Abstract Expressionist movement. He created a new concept and relationships among pigment, space, drawing, displacing hierarchies with intricate self-generating structures.

DIY Splatter Paint

A splatter paint shirt can cost from $15 to $26, jeans and other fabric can cost more. The good news is that you can create the splatter paint design on your own. This way, it will cost less and you can create the design that you want.

There’s no right or wrong way to splatter paint, that’s what makes it more fun. Aside from the history behind it, releasing your inner self and letting the paint do its thing makes it more fascinating and special.

As Jackson Pollock once said, “Painting is self-discovery, every good artist paints what he is.” So as you take on this project, be free, have fun and let your emotions and energy dictate the flow of your art.

painted shirts rack
Photo by Nafinia Putra on Unsplash

How to do ‘80s splatter paint on a shirt

  1. Shirt or any piece of clothing you want
  2. Acrylic paint (or any fabric paint)
  3. Drop cloth, newspaper, or tarpaulin
  4. Paintbrushes
  5. Tape (to cover part of the shirt that you don’t want to have paint on)


  1. Put the drop cloth or tarpaulin on the floor to protect the surface you don’t wish to have paint on.
  2. Get your shirt and flatten it on the surface. Take your tape and cover any area of the shirt that you want to keep safe from the paint.
  3. Choose the colors you wish to make splatters with. Put a teaspoon of each into small containers.
  4. Add water to each container and stir until you have the consistency that you want. It should have the consistency of syrup.
  5. Dress in clothes that can get ruined or messy. For added protection, wear glasses or goggles. Paint still contains chemicals and accidental splashes could irritate your eye.
  6. Now, make your art. Splatter paint all over the shirt however you want. Flick a paint to get smaller splatters or scoop dollops and carelessly drop it or fling it to have bigger splatters.
  7. Once you’re happy with your masterpiece, let it dry.

There is a range of things you decorate with splatter paint. You can do it on your mug or plates, beddings, or even curtains. Just make sure that you’re using compatible paint so that the paint doesn’t wash off.

What kinds and sizes of brushes work well with splatter paint art?

There are absolutely no rules when it comes to brushes. You could try experimenting as different brushes produce different splatter effects.

Small brushes will produce smaller splatters. Stiffer brushes will offer more control. You can also use other items that can be found in your own home like brushes for scrubbing, toothbrushes, and even hair brushes you don’t use anymore. You can even try using non-brush materials like spray paint, spoons, or sticks.

Let artful paint splatter express your creativity. And bring a bit of vibrant color to your wardrobe without spending a whole lot.

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