Jackson Pollock Splatter Paint DIY

by Andrew Connor, Contributing Writer

The fall semester is finally here. I’m willing to bet you’re all struggling with two things: the frustration of rigorous studies, and the boring white walls in your new apartment.  I’m here to help you kill both birds with one stone, with a little help from Jackson Pollock. For starters, Jackson Pollock was an American artist who lived during the first half of the 20th century.  His drip and spatter paintings helped create the abstract expressionist movement in modern art, and they are truly something to behold.


Now, you won’t be on your way to becoming the next great American abstract artist. By studying Pollock’s style, though, you can paint one or more of your walls in a way that is both an homage to one of America’s greatest artists and a means of releasing any frustrations that may have already built up from any ensuing schoolwork. This DIY is more on the expensive side; it cost me about sixty dollars, but consider that you could spend the same amount of money trying to cover the wall in posters and framed photos.  Besides, your personal space will be looking pretty unique once you are done.


The first and most important thing you need to do when considering the idea of throwing paint at your walls is to check with the landlord to make sure you are allowed to paint said walls. Most landlords will be willing to let you paint walls, as long as you paint them back to their original color before moving out.  My leasing company, JSM, even gave me the specific shade for repainting my walls come moving time.  If you are not allowed to paint your walls under any circumstances, find some sort of canvas that can be mounted on the wall.

Once you have gotten the go ahead, it’s time to get some supplies.  I got all of my supplies at Home Depot, but any hardware store will have what you need.  As for paint, I suggest something with a flat (matte) finish and a latex base.  A flat finish will look more true to Pollock’s style, and a latex base will be easy to clean with simple soap and water if you get it on any unwanted surfaces.  I used Glidden matte finished latex paint for these reasons, but also because a quart costs about seven dollars.  I bought five quarts and still have about half of each can leftover in case I decide to paint another wall.


As for actual color choice, that is up to you.  I used more muted colors because they are true to Pollock’s style. It’s your project, so feel free to be creative.  Be sure that whatever colors you choose look good together. The one thing that will ruin the way your wall looks is mismatched colors. If you decide to go with muted colors, I suggest that you use a small amount of black on top as an accent.


Another important item to purchase is a drop cloth (or maybe three). As well plenty of blue painter’s tape will be necessary.  Both these items are relatively cheap, so don’t be afraid to splurge. When you’re actually painting, stray drops will land in a ton of places all over your room, so it’s important to cover as much of your floor and trim as possible.  As for paintbrushes, I just went with a couple of the cheapest ones I could find.  Brush quality is not a factor here- be creative with your “paint delivery system.”  Even use a spoon to fling paint on the walls if it gives your wall an interesting effect. Don’t be afraid to experiment.


For setting up the room, you’ll want to remove just about any important items, such as a TV, bed, and any chairs or drawers.  If there is something you don’t want to get paint on, get it out of there.  Use the blue painter’s tape to fully cover any outlets or trim pieces, and place the drop cloths over your floor if you value your security deposit.  You don’t need to cover your entire floor, just most of it. I chose to focus on one wall. If you’re feeling ambitious, go ahead and paint as many walls as you want.  Try to tape over any walls you do not want to paint.  Also, wear clothing that are okay to get paint splattered on.

Now that you have fully prepared, it’s time to have fun.  Apply one color at a time and keep switching back and forth between colors so that each color is well represented.  There really is no right or wrong way to actually paint the walls, so experiment with different motions.  Harder, more sweeping movements will get you long, drawn out spatters of paint.  Lighter flicks of the wrist will get you more drops.  Short, hard flicks will get you bigger splats of paint.  Above all else, release any frustration you have and just go with it.


Allow the paint to dry overnight, and consider sleeping on the sofa.  The fumes can be too much. Make sure to air out the room with a fan, as well.  Once the paint is dry, remove any painter’s tape and behold your masterpiece.

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