Fine print, Living with credit, New products

Plastic to Picasso: Painting with a credit card is new artistic trend

Anna Bleker

Painters have started using credit cards instead of brushes.

Well, actually, that’s an old-school impressionist technique (my 60-something high school art teacher used to endearingly whisper this trick to me like it was her impasto secret recipe.) Recently, though, the blogosphere has exploded with scans and photos of painters’ thick-stroked, globtastic credit card creations.

I decided I had to try it. Here’s the result:


It was pretty sweet. My old debit card worked better than a palette knife or brush because:

  • It forces you to make consistently thick, chunky strokes.
  • Rectangular cards are more predictably shaped than the freaky, irregular palette knife.
  • My shaky hand was closer to the paint marks I was making (like grasping a pen really close to the ink-end), so I had perfect leverage. If you have arthritis, or just want more precise control, you should definitely try this.
  • Straight edges were super-easy to make.
  • I had forgotten to cut up my old debit anyways. Dangerous.

Conversely, it kind of sucked because:

  • My hand got awkward and uncomfortable after a while. Credit cards aren’t engineered to be held by the corner for hours. My thumb went a little numb.
  • Acrylics smeared all over my fingers.
  • The angled card corner would scratch into the canvas instead of layering fluffy coats via a horizontal knife surface or flexible brush bristles.

Overall, it was a cool experience, and you should check it out if you’re into painting or need something to do with your expired plastic.

For a little creative inspiration, check out a stamp designer’s vibrant abstracts and lifelong artist Jan Tyson’s Van-Gogh-esque landscape, both painted using credit cards.

Oil and acrylic is hard to peel off, though, so just use outdated and junk-mail cards — not the plastic you need for tomorrow’s Macy’s spree.

Anna Bleker, multimedia intern, is also an avid painter.

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  • Wow – cool! I wish I were talented enough to paint even the “regular” way, never mind with an old credit card.

  • Charlene Miles

    It is beautiful! I can’t think of any better way to use a credit card when you are not debiting a credit card…. Your painting looks better than any credit card bill!