Forensic Science Painting Project • A Forensics Vocabulary Art Project!

Make a messy masterpiece by creating a forensic science painting!

We love making messes at Orlando Science Center — especially in the name of science! Join us by creating a forensic science painting and learning some vocabulary along the way. We’ll be making some common spatter patterns using bright, beautiful colors to create a forensic puzzle work of art.  


For more forensic science fun, see if you can crack the case of The Incredible Cookie Caper


  • A canvas, piece of cardboard, or paper (butcher paper, paper bags, or anything you have on hand would work fine!) 
  • Tubes of paint
  • Paint brushes 
  • Your hands 
  • Clothes you don’t mind getting messy!  


Passive stains made by dripping paint on canvas

Create some passive stains.

Open your paint tube and hold it upside down. Allow it to drip onto your canvas. Try dripping from higher or lower to see some different stains.  

Transfer stains made by smearing paint on canvas

Create some transfer stains. 

Got some paint on your hand? Wipe it onto your canvas! Notice the pattern that you leave behind – not a smooth line or shape but evidence of your fingerprints! 

Projected stains made by flicking paintbrush onto canvas

Create some projected (or impact) stains. 

Dip your brush into your paint and fling it onto your canvas! What do you see? How do the shapes look different than the passive stains?

What other patterns or stains can be made on your forensic science painting? 

  • Void patterns occur when stains are made with an object in the way – kind of like a stencil. 
  • Spines are what forensic analysts would call the spikes coming out of your passive paint stains.  
  • Satellite stains occur when stains jump off of other stains. If you dripped paint on top of a paint puddle, the splashes the impact would make would be satellites.  
  • Flow patterns occur when gravity impacts the stain – this is how acrylic pour painting works.

Don't forget to hang, frame, or gift your finished forensic science painting! 


We'd love to see what you created, even if you made a few mess-takes! Submit your progress or final shots to our OSC Science Showcase or tag Orlando Science Center on social media and use hashtag #OSCatHome to share your creations! 

Final product from forensic science painting held in front of wall

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!


Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!


Facebook Logo Instagram Logo YouTube Logo Twitter Logo

Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!