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How to Do Watercolor Painting with Salt

by Jean Van't Hul
March 8, 2024
watercolors and salt

Get a starry night sky effect by painting with watercolors and salt. This easy watercolor technique produces a beautiful star-studded sky.

Updated April 2024

We love painting with watercolors, and of all the different watercolor techniques, painting with watercolors and salt is the one we return to the most.

Why? It’s simple. Sprinkling salt over your painting is a fun extra step for kids. And the results can be dramatic.

Plus, it’s just perfect for creating a starry night sky! It’s one of our favorite space art activities for that very reason.

Here’s a quick video showing how to paint a night sky with the watercolors and salt. And keep scrolling for step-by-step instructions!

Watercolor Painting with Salt


*We like to use liquid watercolor paint when painting with watercolors and salt, as the technique requires extra water. However, you can use a palette of dried watercolors if you are mindful of using extra water.


  1. (Optional) Draw a crayon picture

    This first step is optional. If you prefer your night sky without a picture drawn in it, go ahead and skip this step. Otherwise, use crayons to draw and color in a picture that would work well with your starry night sky.

  2. Paint the sky

    Now, paint your sky a medium to deep blue, using lots of your watercolor paint.

    painting with watercolors

  3. Add salt

    Sprinkle salt over the wet watercolor paint.

    sprinkling salt on watercolors

    Note: You can paint the sky and add the salt in sections if you’re painting slowly and the watercolor paint is absorbing into the paper too quickly.

  4. Let dry

    Let your artwork dry completely. And once your starry night sky artwork is dry, rub off the extra salt.

    salt on watercolors

Now you can admire and display or gift!

salt on watercolors
Photo by Andrea Martelle

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