Things to Make - Salty Watercolors & Water Painting


Sorry for all the watercolor posts lately - once I buy something I have to use it (click here for past watercolor posts). I learned about salty watercolors from this post in the Artful Parent's archives (wow, there's a wealth of information over there) and i have to say this was one of my favorite kid projects EVER. First of all, the mess factor isn't too bad. Second of all, set up is relatively easy. And, finally, the project occupied the girls for long periods of time with very little parental involvement (YAY!!). If I had a ratings system, I'd give it the highest rating. Here's the scoop:

Materials - Liquid watercolors (or food coloring), Elmers glue (or an equivalent), table salt, a pan or platter (to pour the salt over), and thick paper or cardboard (ordinary paper will buckle from the salt).

1. First the girls drew pictures with glue on watercolor paper.

2. Then we poured salt over the still-wet glue. We used the pan to shake off the salt that didn't stick.

3. Finally the girls touched watercolor-dipped paintbrushes onto the still-wet glue/salt designs. The color slowly traveled through their designs, which was really fun to watch.


If you've ever wondered what the toddler does during craft-time usually he sleeps. But sometimes he doesn't. I probably should let him paint with real paint but it's just so messy, so for now I've tricked him into painting with water. And that works for awhile (until he realizes that his pictures don't look like the girls' pictures).



  1. So funny, I was going to ask what T. does during this. I was wondering how Soren would do... This might be an outdoor project for us when the weather gets nicer.

  2. looking at these photos is like seeing almost a mirror of our home! The glue/salt/watercolour set up is great, isn't it. I don't remember doing it as a kid myself, but when we did it here with the girls i was amazed by the results. We also just like sprinkling large salt flakes on watercolours and letting it dry - it looks like frost pictures.

  3. Sarah - It's actually not as messy as you would think. Much less messy than normal painting (because the kids are so intent on watching the watercolors follow the designs).

    Playing by the Book - I love the idea of salt on watercolors, we'll have to try it.



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