How To Paint A Rainbow Unicorn
Are you ready to channel your inner Lisa Frank with this Rainbow Haired Unicorn!?
In this tutorial you will learn how to draw and paint a unicorn head with acrylic paints on canvas! This was done on an 11″ x 14″ canvas. You can do this on any size canvas, canvas paper, water color paper, etc.
I decided to bring out my craft paints for this! I wanted to use all the colors in the rainbow and didn’t feel like mixing all my colors. Actually, I recently redid this painting with the Liquitex BASICS acrylic paints and it turned out very similar, if not more vibrant than the Apple Barrel! I always recommend using whatever paints you have on hand and to just try to match the colors the best you can.
This painting would make an excellent DIY unicorn paint party activity! I’ve had many users tell me they had birthday parties and various other co-worker team building events using this painting. If you are doing it with a group, I recommend transferring the unicorn to all the canvases before the event to make things easier.
As always, don’t forget to share your painting on Pinterst or Facebook! I love to hear about your fun parties.
Enjoy and happy painting artists!
Tips if you’re doing this his with kids:
Wouldn’t this be a darling birthday party activity!?
Kids LOVE unicorns! You can try to have your child draw the unicorn using the step by step drawing directions below. Or you can transfer the unicorn onto the canvas using graphite transfer paper and the printable. Transferring the unicorn onto the canvas is recommended if you are doing this as a birthday party activity because all they’ll have to do is paint it in.
Click here to go to my PDF library or here to learn how to enlarge the traceable.
Duration/ Skill Level:
1-2 Hours, Level Easy
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- Canvas (I used a 11″ x 14″ canvas) This design works on any canvas size but you may have to enlarge the traceable to the size canvas you are using.
- Acrylic Paint (I used this 18 piece set of Apple Barrel brand of craft paint! Any regular soft body paint like Liquitex Basics will be fine. I redid the painting in August 2018 with Liquitex and the colors turned out very similar. Listed below are both brands and the colors I used)
- Cadmium Red Light OR Jack O Lantern
- Primary Yellow OR Flame Yellow
- Bright Yellow Green OR Shamrock
- Bright Aqua Green OR Bimini Blue
- Light Blue Permanent OR Parrot Blue
- Titanium White OR White
- Mars Black OR Black
- Gold (I used Liquitex Gold Paint for the horn. You can paint the horn any color if you don’t have gold.)
- Medium Magenta OR Fuchsia
- Bright Purple OR Purple Iris
- Paint Brushes (3/4″ flat, small round and medium round)
- Optional Gold Sharpie or Gold Glitter
- Graphite Paper if your tracing the unicorn
Go to PDF Library for Download.
Need to enlarge the template?
If you are doing this on a larger than 8 x 10 canvas, you will need to enlarge the unicorn by a certain percentage in Adobe Acrobat Reader (free download). Click the link below to find out how to do this:
Detailed Step By Step Pictures (scroll down to see video)
1. Draw Or Transfer Your Unicorn Head
Draw/ sketch out the unicorn lightly with pencil (see steps above). It is only optional to outline it with sharpie. I did it for demo purposes only. Also, you might want to practice drawing on a separate sheet of paper if you’re struggling with the drawing. If you’re transferring, just print out the unicorn PDF and use graphite paper!
Note: I ended up changing the design of the snout at the end of the process pictures. The drawing looks slightly different in the following pictures but the instructions are exactly the same.
2. Paint The Background
Paint the background with a small flat brush. I used bimini blue (bright aqua green) and white. I dipped my brush in both colors to get an inconsistent color.
3. Paint The Unicorn’s Head White with some blue shading
Paint the unicorn white. I used a 3/4″ flat for this as well as the blue shading. When you shade with the blue, blend it in with the white by applying both white and blue to the canvas.
Add some shadow areas with white mixed with parrot blue (light blue permanent). Blend it in white the white. Be careful not to add too much blue, just a little!
4. Paint The Hair One Color Strand At A Time
With a small round brush, paint each stroke of hair separately, following the lines of the curves you drew. I went in this order: fuchsia, orange, yellow, green, bimini blue, purple iris. Slightly overlap colors to allow them to blend together. You can go back and blend the colors some more by using a smaller round brush and really blend the colors to get a rainbow ombre effect in the hair!
5. Outline Some Areas With Black
Use a small round brush and black to outline some areas of the unicorn to make them stand out. Don’t outline everything, just a little here and there.
6. Paint The Horn
Paint the horn gold or use a gold sharpie to color it in. If you want to get extra crafty here, add some gold glitter!
Outline ovals on the horn black (optional). Add some white splatter paint over areas of the hair and horn with a toothbrush. This actually makes it looks like glitter but it’s paint! Also notice that I added more hair! Just over lap some of the strands to achieve this effect. Use a small round brush to get into really find details with the hair!
7. Some Final Touches
As you can see, I fixed the unicorn’s snout by painting over some blue in that area! I mentioned earlier that I changed the design of the head in the end and this is where the change took place! If you are using my traceable, then you don’t have to worry about this step.