Watercolor and Salt Painting :: Revisiting an Old Favorite

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Salty Watercolors Art Activity for Kids

Watercolor and salt painting is one of our oldest favorite art activities and one of the very first art activities that I posted about when I started this blog.

Now that Maia is 7 and Daphne is just a tad older than Maia was that first time, it’s interesting to see the changes that age and development make.

Whereas in the past, Maia made abstract designs with the glue, this time she mostly created more deliberate designs, words, and illustrations of real things such as faces and a tree.

Daphne, of course, made abstract artwork after abstract artwork.

Watercolor and Salt Painting

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Daphne has a lot more staying power than Maia did at 2 1/2. Instead of working on a couple pieces of art and moving on as Maia would have, she matched her big sister for time, quantity, and enthusiasm.

I wonder how much of it has to do with her personality and how much has to do with having the example and companionship of her older sister… (I think about this a lot, by the way—not just how it relates to art, but to everything.) I find it interesting how different two siblings experiences can be within the same home with the same parents.

Anyway, I digress…

Here are some pics and step by step instructions for the watercolor and salt painting.

Because if you haven’t tried it yet, you’ll want to.

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1. First, use a glue bottle to squeeze out your design, word, or picture onto sturdy paper (try watercolor paper, poster board cut down to smaller pieces, or tagboard.)

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2. Sprinkle salt generously over the surface of the glue design so that the glue is completely covered with salt. Tip the paper and shake off the excess salt. We do this step over a bin filled with a container or two of cheap table salt.

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3. Next, dip a brush in liquid watercolors and touch it gently to the salt covered glue lines. Watch the paint travel along the salt and glue.

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Younger kids often paint and “scrub” with their paint brush (or in this case with two at once) rather than delicately touching the painty brush to the glue lines. That’s okay, too.

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4. Let dry for a couple of days. Here you can see Daphne’s salt painting artworks on the left and Maia’s on the right.

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Admire the sparkly, glittery salt paintings with their relief designs!

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Both the more realistic images of the older kids…

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…and the more spread out watercolor and salt painting abstractions of the little ones.

If you haven’t tried this yet, please tell me you’ll give it a go soon (feel free to share pics on my facebook wall!). It’s a big-time favorite in our house, both with our kids and with many others who’ve been here for art groups and playdates.

Pin It for Later ::

Salty Watercolors - A Fun Kids Art Project


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  1. ania says

    I wonder what my older girl is learning form younger sibling (boy)……sometimes feels like he is holding her back!

  2. Lee says

    I just started following your blog a few weeks ago. We have already tried the crayon and watercoler, and the shaving cream marbled with food coloring, and we tried this one today. I appreciate the ideas since I am not necessarily artsy, but my daughter definitely is. We did this one with regular watercolors and it still worked. I found with my two (ages 5 and 3) a smaller paper worked better, because they didn’t really have the attention span to stick with it longer than about 30 minutes. Also a slightly wider brush worked better for us to cover more area. My 5 year old did some actual pictures, while my 3 year old tends to just dumpt and play with the textures (which is still OK).

  3. says

    I love the simplicity in your projects. Salt and water drawings was a personal childhood favorite of mine, when I was growing up in India. We would add salt to collages, and 3d models to add textures as well.
    I am trying to bring drawing in our everyday life. I am trying to make adults, who refuse to draw, draw. The trick is to find the joy, that children find when they make art.
    Hope it catches on soon.

  4. says

    What a great idea! I’ve always used salt for texture in watercolor -but never though to use the salt as texture with glue and color it with watercolor. We must try it. Looks like so much fun. I love the one with her name!