Water Color Paint and Salt

The beautiful visual effect when salt hits wet paint has some science behind it, too! Whether your child is old enough to understand the STEAM concept of this project, or young enough just to enjoy the art and sensory play, this is an easy and fun craft to do together.

To start, I set out watercolors and a cup of water for Veronika, and invited her to make big stripes of wet color on thick paper. As soon as I began narrating, “Now some blue, now some green,” she dove right in. “I’ll do blue! I’ll do green!” she said, painting over my lines.

The wetter the better, and once we had several thick streaks of color, I invited her to sprinkle salt on top. Of course for a toddler this was great sensory fun.

But the real wow is watching the salt absorb the water right away. If you then shake off the excess, it leaves a neat bubbled look in the colors.

For an alternative, we painted a second set of thick stripes, then pressed plastic wrap on top. Leave until the color dries, then lift up. The paint itself looks full of bumpy, crinkled texture.

Veronika was eager to return to the salt, and soon had dumped a whole pile of salt on the paper and painted it directly with drops of watercolor!

Then she wanted to stir the salt around with her brush, add more water, stir the salt some more, etc., all of which kept her quite busy for a while.


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