With the Kids

Giving Your Watercolor Paintings a Little Sprinkle of Salt

We got out the watercolor paints today. But to give them a little something extra, we sprinkled them with salt before they dried. It makes the picture a fun bumpy texture, giving new life to our art.

When it comes to messy projects, I like to be prepared. I lined my table with a cheap plastic tablecloth, the kind from the party section. It’s easy to wipe off or discard if it gets too messy. And I put my kids in some of my old t-shirts. All set and ready to paint. Each child was armed with a paint brush, watercolors, and a piece of white cardstock paper. I also give them each their own cup filled with a little water to wash out paint. Then I let them go to town with color.

Sometimes I draw an image on pencil for my kids to watercolor the inside. This way, they can focus on the design of the image and not worry about where or what to paint.

Once each picture was complete, we took a clear wet paint brush and got the whole picture wet again, as some parts had dried. Then I gave them our salt shaker to sprinkle a little, or a lot, of salt to their paper.

We let the pictures sit for a few hours, making sure the paint and salt were dry. When they’re dry, shake off the excess salt that may come off as it dries.

The pictures turned out so fun! It was great for the kids to see what the salt on the colored water could do, soaking up and expanding some of the color. You’ll have to try this to see. Let me know how your pictures turn out!


  1. Kathy – Ooo, I’ll have to try coarse salt next! And I’ve never heard of using rubbing alcohol. I’ll be trying it!

    Rosanna – Another great tip – cling wrap! That’s sure to make a really fun texture to it!

  2. Drawing an outline of an object on the picture is a great idea for the younger kids. Thanks for the tip! Salt effect is cool. I’m going to try it.

  3. Another fun thing to do when the colour is really wet is crinkle some cling wrap and press it down onto the paint. Keep it there until it is totally dry then remove. The texture is so interesting. You can play around with stretching the cling wrap and placing on top to get different effects or use bubble wrap the same way. Have fun!

  4. This is a great fun technique! Also, if you use a larger grain of salt- coarse, kosher or rock, you will get a different type of pattern to the paint. Another super cool thing to do is put some rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. When you have a good amount of watercolor paint on your page, spray a good amount on the painting. The alcohol will cause the watercolors to puddle and makes a really neat pattern as well!

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