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Art Projects for Kids to Try At Home: Salt Watercolors

Using salt to a partially dry watercolor painting can achieve all sorts of great and unpredictable results. Almost every time you do it, it is an experiment of sorts and so you can spend lots of time playing around. And isn’t playing around half the fun of an art project?

Basic technique

The basic technique is simple: 

  • Paint the composition
  • Let it partially dry
  • Sprinkle salt
  • Let fully dry
  • Brush/wipe off the salt 

You will see that there are dapples and dots where the salt has lain and it can also do things to the washes you put on the paper.


The salt reacts with the water and the pigments, so you can play with a range of variables to achieve very different results, such as:

  • Sprinkling the salt at the different stages of drying. It will react more when wet than when dry. 
  • Try different salts, like a standard table salt with very small grains and sea salt from a grinder with uneven, larger grains. These will result in bigger or smaller textures.
  • After removing the excess salt, you can add more paint to the composition. This practice will allow you to do different things to the detail that the salt has left. One idea might be petals to flowers where the heads are left by the salt grains.

Messing around with paints!

At the end of the day, you could just be making a mess and having fun doing it! With older kids you might be helping them refine their techniques, but all the time you’re pushing the boundaries and adding to their exploration and creativity.

Have a look at Color Swell’s range of watercolors to use with the salt technique!