Head in the Clouds: Abstract Color Cloud Art in Under an Hour

By Brittni • Updated on 02/14/2024

DIY Color Cloud Art in Under an Hour

Remember the old rubbing alcohol and permanent marker trick from when you were a kid? The one where you could create (semi) psychedelic patterns that kind of looked like rainbow clouds that Lisa Frank would have totally been into?

Well, today, I have to admit, there’s a part of me that still thinks that Lisa Frank knows where’s it at. Like, 100%. Because I made this DIY color cloud art (for lack of a better term?) and put together a quick tutorial, in case you want to make your own.

This art DIY is insanely easy, foolproof even. And (bonus) you can scale the project to any size you’d like. So, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option for a large scale piece of artwork, this could be it.

How to make color cloud art in under an hour with rubbing alcohol and markers


– picture frame with glass (any size)
– permanent markers (mine are from Amazon)
– rubbing alcohol
– paint brush
– spray sealant (optional)


1. Start by dissembling the picture frame and carefully removing the glass. Set the frame aside for now.

2. Next, select the color scheme you want to work with and start coloring large sections with permanent markers. There’s no rhyme or reason to this one, so feel free to make the color blocked areas as large or as small as you want. And any shape as well.

DIY Color Cloud Art in Under an Hour with Rubbing Alcohol and Markers

3. Once the entire piece of glass has been covered, dip your brush into the rubbing alcohol and gently use it to start pushing the color around the glass. You can also drip alcohol right onto the glass for a more bubbled / cloud-like design. I did a combo of both.

4. Continue this process until the entire piece of glass is complete. You can continue going back over any problem areas, so this really is foolproof. Next, add a light coat of spray sealant to the glass, while it’s laying down flat, and allow the sealant to dry completely before continuing onto the next step. This part is optional because you can actually just turn the painted side inward when you add the glass back to the frame to protect the paint from being removed. But it doesn’t hurt to add the sealant, so why not.

DIY Color Cloud Art in Under an Hour with Rubbing Alcohol and Markers

5. Pop the glass into the frame, add a solid sheet of paper behind it, and secure the frame backing. I used white paper as my background, but you can use any color…It really just depends on how you want your finished piece to look. Then it’s ready to hang.

Watercolor vibe

Quick Note: The rubbing alcohol will change color the more you dip your brush in (like above). So it’s probably easiest to pour a small amount into a bowl and then replenish as needed when the alcohol begins to fill with color.

DIY // Abstract Color Cloud Art in Under an Hour

Styling Brittni Mehlhoff

DIY // Abstract Color Cloud Art in Under an Hour

Photography and styling by Brittni Mehlhoff
Assisted by Linda Jednaszewski

P.S. If you’re looking for a small scale version of a project like this one, try my DIY geometric bookmarks using this same technique with takeout containers.

What were some of your favorite childhood craft techniques from back in the day? I’m always in the market for a new / old technique to try.

9 comments | Click here to reply

So pretty and creative. Thanks for sharing



Thanks Kel. Lisa Frank 4ever obviously. 🙂


WHAT! This is SUCH a cool idea, B! I definitely did not know about this as a kid (!?) and I’m gonna need to change that now. Also, I will always and forever love Lisa Frank.

Kelly @ Studio DIY

Thanks Jaimee. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work with metallic permanent markers. That’s a great idea.


LOVE THIS. What a fun project to do with kids! I wonder if it would work with metallic markers?!


Thanks Lynn.


Nothing like some good old Isopropyl to spice up a DIY creation. Love it!



Thanks Patricia.


sooo beautiful!!

a very nice facility.
easy and with great color accents!
sweet pictures, that made it so lovley!

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