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Painting with Watercolors, Glue and Salt

Ever since our adventure with “secret message watercolor painting” the munchkin has been enamored with his watercolors. So this week we decided to mix things up a bit by painting with watercolors, clear Elmer’s glue and salt.

Isn’t the final result neat?

The idea for using glue and salt with watercolors came from Pinterest. I kept seeing pins with notes about sprinkling salt on wet watercolors or using glue to create designs on top of the paint. Finally I saw this post about combining the two techniques and I was like, that’s it, we’re doing this.

As you can see in the photo above, the munchkin was super into this activity. Totally focused.

We used canvases for our paintings because I had some around, but watercolor paper would work equally well. Other materials included: Crayola watercolor paints, water, paint brushes, kosher salt and clear Elmer’s glue.

After setting everything up the process was simple and fun! The munchkin covered each canvas with as much color as he possibly could, then I showed him how to drizzle glue onto the painting. This was probably his favorite part. As he squeezed glue onto the colors he’d say things like “Look mommy! An excavator!” or “I’m making a biiig, biiig giraffe!”

So, kinda like cloud watching, the munchkin was all about seeing shapes in the blobs of glue. It’s amazing what an imagination he’s getting.

After adding the glue the final step was sprinkling salt around on the painting. The salt creates a pretty starburst effect by soaking up paint pigments as the painting dries. And as an extra bonus: the salt sparkles!

I put the finished paintings on the counter to dry, which took a few hours. Now only one question remains: which one does my husband get to take to work and which one can I hang up at home? The munchkin tells me he “needs to think about it.” (Apparently I don’t get to decide these things anymore.)

Frequently Asked Questions

I seem to get a lot of questions about this post so I thought it would be helpful to share some of the most common ones here. Keep in mind, this is just a simple activity the munchkin and I enjoy doing together! I’m not a professional artist and can’t give you advice on how to modify the activity or substitute materials.

My watercolor pigments don’t show up on the canvas.

We used a lot of water color paint on our canvases. As in, we would put paint on our brushes and go over an area several times until the color was as vibrant as we wanted.

The salt doesn’t have any effect on my watercolors.

You have to put a lot of watercolor paint on your canvas in order for there to be something for the salt to soak up. Our canvases had so much watercolor on them that if you moved the canvas around the colors would slide from one side to the other. You basically want a puddle of color before putting your salt on the paint.

Can I do this on _________ instead of canvas?

We have only done this on canvas and watercolor paper. I prefer the canvas because you can put more paint on the surface without worrying about the ripping paper. If you have another material you’d like to try, go for it! But I wouldn’t be able to give you advice on what results you may encounter.

Can I add _______ to this activity along with the salt?

I have no idea! (A few folks have asked about adding modge podge to the paint – this doesn’t strike me as a good idea since it will affect the consistency of the paint and hence the ability of your salt to soak up pigments.)

Can I use white glue instead of clear glue?

Yes.

What kind of salt did you use?

We used kosher salt, but regular table salt works too.

Can I do this on a wall?

No, because the paints would slide down the wall. Same with the salt. :/

What materials did you use?

We used Crayola watercolor paints and these canvases. :)

About the Author
I'm a work-at-home mom and entertainment director for my son, a.k.a. The Munchkin. When we aren't doing art, singing songs or making something tasty in the kitchen we enjoy listening to podcasts and exploring the outdoors. I'm also slightly obsessed with coffee and love to knit. :)
  1. Samantha

    I have to try this with my kids, it looks amazing.

    • Ari

      You should! Easy, fun, pretty – what more could you ask for in a kid activity?

      • Zoe

        I want to try with my Grand Daughters..looks so fun! And they both love their art!

      • Sharon

        I just love what you have done here. As a retired teacher, I am so happy to see parents doing things with their children. It is so important to their self-worth, knowing their parents has time for them. Also, we see so many children, who come to school not knowing how to use sissors, how to color, how to even do anything on their own. Keep up the good work!
        I still do many projects with children from church, school and the neighborhood, so if it is okay, I would love to borrow your idea.
        Thanks again.

        • Ari

          Thank you for leaving such a kind comment Sharon! And you are more than welcome to recreate our ideas with the kids at church, school etc. That’s why we share our projects. So other folks can have fun with them too. :)

  2. Sarah Browning

    I too have seen this on pinterest a lot in fact in a class over a hundred years ago in high school I was taught to use salt for an effect. I have to say I have never thought nor seen glue used, let alone them together! These are absolutely fabulous I cant describe how much I love the effect in the finished product. I have just made it a point to purchase some fancy schmancy watercolors for myself and I may even share with my daughter after seeing this. :) thanks for sharing!

    • Ari

      You’re welcome! I hope you try it. :)

  3. Seanna Lea

    I think it is extra smart to use canvas. The enthusiasm shown by many youthful artists (toddlers and adults both) tends to make the watercolor paper curl. No such problems with the canvas!

    • Ari

      Canvas does have the advantage of being resistant to extra enthusiastic painting! It’s also more expensive though so I guess it just depends on what kind of painter your little one is. :)

      • fancyscrapper

        And just look at the texture provided by the fabric of the canvas along the edges once it’s dried. Love that! Super cool!

    • Paul Cowsill

      Do you know how to press paper flat after it dries?

  4. Jessica@LovesAvocado

    I have been following you for some time and I just wanted to commend you on how creative you are with all your activities! What a lucky son you have :)

    • Ari

      What a nice thing to say, thank you!

  5. Julie-Ann

    Absolutely stunning, will definately give this a go.

    • Ari

      Let me know how it turns out. :) I feel like we should have a showcase for all the pretty work that folks are doing!

  6. Jeane M.

    Brilliant! Im pretty sure my niece would be ecstatic making this one. Love it.

    • Ari

      I think this one is pretty much a sure-fire hit! Hard to resist all the colors and squeezing and sprinkling.

  7. Liz

    I noticed you used gel glue – I wonder if white glue would work as well?

    • Ari

      I think it would, the glue would just dry white instead of clear. :)

      • S.Doud

        I work with kids daily, I think white glue-most of them dry clear…coloring the glue with food coloing could add more to the creation also. the salt is fun to add to paintings like this!

      • Cari

        Actually, white glue dries clear, too!

        • Ari

          Nice!

  8. Erin

    Those are insanely gorgeous!

    • Ari

      Thank you! (Not that I can take credit, the munchkin did it!) I was really happy with how the paintings turned out.

  9. Jen

    Idea: while the little one is creating his/ her masterpiece, sit and record what he is saying, probe him as in ask what he is creating, and jot it down. Tape paper to back of painting, record age, date and time..

    • Ari

      I LOVE that idea Jen! We’re planning to do this activity again next week and I am so doing that! :)

  10. Jenny

    Love love loved the project. What was the brand for the watercolors? Beautiful choices to use and not the typical kid trays I’ve seen.

    • Ari

      We used the 24 count Crayola washable watercolors.You can find them for $3.97 on Amazon. :)

  11. June

    Hi, I loved the idea so I tried with my preschoolers, but really didn’t work on the watercolor paper, especially the salt (I tried both Kosher and regular).. wonder why??

    • Ari

      Hmm. Did you let the salt dry all the way? When you first sprinkle it on there nothing will happen. (You’ll just see salt on the paper.) But if you lay the paintings flat and allow them to dry with the salt, then over time the salt absorbs the pigments. It took a few hours for me to see results on our paintings.

  12. Patt Butti

    A few pointers from a water color artist. We wet our paper and either staple it down on a piece of cardboard or thick ceiling tile. You can also use masking tape. When it dried, it will remain flat. Also, when you are using salt, you can use any kind, but the trick is to do it when you are using a lot of pigment and it is still wet. Once it starts to dry, the salt doesn’t work as well.

    • Ari

      Thank you for the tops Patt! Here’s a question I’ve been wondering about: How to professional watercolor artists preserve their paintings? (I know some acrylic artists use car wax, what works on watercolors?)

  13. Michele

    Just seen this as a pin on pinterest… My boys can’t wait to try this!!! We do ‘artwork’ every year as gifts for grandparents, from the boys. Thanks so much!!!

    • Ari

      Have fun! For sure these will be spectacular holiday gifts. :)

  14. Patt Butti

    As far as I know, watercolors are kept under glass…and out of the light as they tend to fade after years.

    • Kathy

      You can also use a clear acrylic UV protectant spray, or a workable fixative spray. Both will seal the watercolors, and the UV resistant spray has the bonus of protecting the work from fading. You can get either of them at Michael’s or Dick Blick. Use them all the time!

      • Ari

        I have to try all these preserving techniques folks are suggesting! Thank you for sharing. If I can find a way to preserve the munchkin’s paintings I’ll be so happy.

  15. dulz

    This is amazing. I jus got canvases. Thank u for sharing!

  16. Cynthia

    Thanks for the fun idea! I think yours turned out better than ours, but we still enjoyed both the process and the results: http://flotsamofthemind.blogspot.com/2012/09/salt-and-glue.html

    • Ari

      Glad you tried it! I just left a comment on your post (thanks for sharing the url.) You do have to use a lot of paint and really get some intense color to see the effects of the glue/salt, but I still think your painting was lovely! And it’s all about the kiddos enjoying themselves anyways, so if they have a good time then that’s a huge success for mom. :)

    • nancy

      I just checked out your images & the reason they are not as bright is because of the watercolors you are using….Trust me, as an artist & art teacher I have tried it all! Prang non washable watercolors are my fave for kids, but another idea for brighter colors is to use food coloring (comes in regular & neon-both turn out bright). Just be careful- a little goes a long way & they DO stain, so be careful!
      :)Nancy

      • Ari

        Not sure what you mean? The colors on our canvases were (and still are) very bright and beautiful. In fact we’ve been so happy with our results using basic kid watercolors that we do this activity at least once a week. :) There might be different/more intense results with other watercolors but as a preschool art project you can’t beat the affordability and washability of simple kids paints.

      • Ari

        Couldn’t see via the dashboard that your comment was a reply to Cynthia! But still, we’ve had very beautiful results with basic Crayola watercolors. You do have to really soak the canvas or paper with pigment though. Perhaps that would not be the case with watercolors intended for adult use.

        • nancy

          yes-sorry if it came across in ANY negative way…I was trying to help her since she was not as pleased with her colors…yours are definitely awesome! I Love your idea, as it involves a different approach to methods I have used in the past…you have a ROCKIN blog!
          :)Nancy

          • Ari

            You know, it was total misinterpretation on my part. In context your comment was very thoughtful and helpful! I originally thought you were commenting on the colors in our canvases, which is why I didn’t know what you were talking about. :) Thank you for reading my little blog and for sharing your knowledge!

      • Jeannie

        Do you have instructions on using food color as water colors? Sounds brilliant. for what it’s worth

    • sue

      Another reason why they might not have turned out so bright is because of the canvas itself. I think some canvases are primed more/differently than others. We have used water colors (or food coloring and water) and had them turn out dark and vibrant and then done the same project on a different canvas and had the colors be almost non-existent/not adhere to the canvas at all.

  17. laura

    hello,

    i was wondering what’s the sequense? first the paint, then the salt and at the end the glue?

    • Ari

      You have to do the paint first – other than that, any order you want. :)

  18. Shelly

    I work in the childcare room at the local YMCA and on certain days have only three toddlers at a time. This is the perfect craft for the 2 and 3 year olds! (They are advanced enough to follow directions.) Thanks for the tip! I think we’ll use orange, purple and black on Tuesday. Closer to Christmas we’ll try red and green backgrounds.

    • Ari

      Sounds like some lucky kids are going to have a lot of fun!

  19. Kel Ward

    Wondering about the glue. Does it leave a raised blob or shiney spot?

    • Ari

      It probably depends on how much glue you put in one spot. :) The munchkin kept moving his glue around so it dried shiny and flat. But if he has kept it in one place it might have been a shiny raised blob. Either way, fun!

  20. Wendy

    Can you do this on glass and if so can you tell me how?

  21. fancyscrapper

    I got an e-mail from Pinterest sharing pins I might like. . . .YOURS was there, and I love what you’ve done here! Did your son pick out the colors he used? They are so lovely together!

    • Ari

      That’s so cool! Yes, the munchkin picked out the colors. I just gave him the watercolors and let him go at it. :)

  22. fancyscrapper

    I love that! He has a great eye for compatible colors. My 4 girls are almost grown (the youngest turns 13 in a few days), and I LOVED the pre-school/early-school years. It’s so fun to see blogs with other moms enjoying the creative abandon of their children. Kudos to you! (I didn’t blog when my kiddos were teeny, but I wish I had known how to do that then!)

  23. Shana

    I was wondering how the paint stayed wet long enough for the effects of the glue and salt to still work? I love to use water colors in my classroom but find it dries very fast (not a bad thing since fast is good in school). This would be a neat project for Mother or Father’s Day.

    • Ari

      We put a ton of paint on there so the canvas stayed wet for a good while. Once we were done with the activity it took a few hours for them to dry completely.

  24. WannaBeCrafty

    I have a question. What kind of salt did you use, small grain salt like regular table salt or larger grain like sea salt? I am going to get the stuff for this today I hope so he can do it tonight for craft night. :) By the way, your munchkin’s paintings are gorgeous, I love the colors he used!! This is a great idea.

    • Ari

      Thank you! I really like his paintings too, but as his mama I’m totally biased. :)

      We used kosher salt just because that’s what I had in the pantry, but you could use other kinds of salt too. The difference will mainly be how much paint is soaked up, which will vary according to the size of the salt granules.

      Sorry for not getting back to you sooner! We just moved and I only got Internet access back today!

  25. Jenn

    Did you do any prep on the canvas? And does anyone have tips on how to preserve this? Does the salt fall off? I would love to do some artwork like this myself for my office, but need some tips. :)

    • Ari

      We didn’t do any prep – my son paints all the time and I just give him the canvases/paper and let him go at it. :) As for the salt, if you pile it up then yes, some of it will fall off. But the paintings in this post still have 90% of their salt on them.

  26. cari

    can you do this on a canvas?!?

    • Ari

      Yup! The paintings in this post were done on canvas.

  27. Regina @ Chalk In My Pocket

    It’s so funny how this one little project I did with my daughter has exploded all over Pinterest! And to think it was actually a mishap!
    I’m so glad you enjoyed recreating with your little one and the canvas idea is GENIUS! We added the glue first in our version and then let it dry before painting, did your glue areas stay raised up or just recede into the canvas? I’ll have to try this again with white glue, we used the blue gel stuff. Love your blog and can’t wait to explore more!

    • Priscilla

      Regina, you may have discovered this through a mishap but salt painting has been around for a very long time. So many people post the same ideas on Pinterest it is hard to lay claim to being the first.

  28. Brittany

    I am going to do this for paintimgs for her room!!!!!! I love it

  29. Nicole

    Great masterpiece! I want to say that I’ve used white vinegar lightly dripped or sprayed onto the watercolor (once painted on the canvas) and it created almost a beautiful big bubble effect. You should try it! Super fun. :)

  30. Sebnem Ucer

    I loved it… Thank you for sharing… I will definitely try it this weekend with my 5 yr old monster.

  31. Kim

    Thanks so much for this idea! School was closed due to the hurricane (upstate NY) so I’m gathering as many ideas as possible from Pinterest to keep my 5- and 3-year old boys busy today. We didn’t have clear glue, but thankfully white glue looks pretty awesome too. Thank you!!!

    • Ari

      I hope you and your boys had fun with this activity and that Sandy didn’t hit you too hard. Many of our friends in CT/NY/NJ only just got power back (or still don’t have it back). Hope you and your family are safe!

  32. Shira

    What a fantastic idea! We will try this. Thanks!

  33. Needful Things

    Love this! Wanted to ask if you have any tips on how to preserve the painting? I was first thinking modpodge but applying that would make the salt fall off…. any ideas? Would love to do this with the kids very soon.

    • Ari

      I wish I did! I actually asked another commenter on this post who said she was a watercolor artist. If I discover a way to preserve these I’ll definitely share because I have a bunch of watercolor paintings I want to keep for years to come. :)

      • Jeka

        You can try spraying the canvas with hairspray, but be sure to test it first. I’ve done hairspray with pastels on paper, and it works just fine, but I’ve never sprayed a canvas, so I don’t know how it’ll dry (it’s not sticky on paper, but not sure if it will be on canvas. I think it’ll depend on how your canvas was treated—if it was still raw it should just absorb and evaporate, but if it had been covered in gesso before you used it, it may leave a residue).The hairspray should be dry enough not to damage the watercolors, and it won’t rub off the salt. It should also allow you to do minor, very gentle, water-only clean ups if your little artist goes after it with a crayon or something. It won’t protect from sun damage, though, and that’s the big killer. They tend to fade as the heat and light from the sun causes more of the pigments to evaporate out of the canvas. I recommend putting it somewhere where you can still see it, but it won’t ever be in direct sunlight.

        As an additional note, whenever I’ve done salt paintings in the past, I’ve rubbed off the extra salt after it has had PLENTY of time to dry. It leaves a cool looking white spot instead of a raised colored one, though it doesn’t sparkle. It looks a bit like the bottom of a swimming pool on a sunny day. I like the effect, and you don’t have to worry about all that colored salt falling off and getting all over your house.

  34. carol

    I love this!! ♥ but I want to know how you did it? I want the steps :) please

    • Ari

      All the steps are in the post. :) Have fun!

  35. Kelsey

    I loved this so much that my friend and I tried it earlier today. Unfortunately, the paint just wouldn’t take to our canvas. Is there a specific type of canvas you used? Thanks! :)

    • Ari

      Nope we just use regular canvas pads and watercolor paper from the craft store and Amazon. But in order to achieve the effect in this post you have to use A LOT of pigment. This is not a time for gentle watercolor painting. ;)

  36. Angie

    My watercolors didn’t stick to my canvas, is there a certain kind of brush that I should use or a different paint?

    • Ari

      I couldn’t tell you. We used Crayola watercolors and plain canvas from Amazon. We’ve also used watercolor paper without any problems. But as I’ve mentioned in other comments, you need to use a lot (like, a lot) of paint to achieve this effect. :)

  37. Tara

    A great twist on a classic. In the winter time I have my kids draw pictures of their winter wonderlands on blue paper. Let them color or paint them white. Then we paint over it with an Epsom salt and water mixture (just enough water to dissolve the salt). When it dires it looks like ice crystals all over your winter wonderland. Can even add a little food coloring to the salt mix.
    Lots of fun can’t wait to try this one

    • Ari

      Love that idea Tara, I think we are going to try it this winter!

  38. leahleah

    Your son needs to start up a joint Etsy shop with you! Those are beautiful!

    -L

  39. Annie

    I love this ideas, cant wait to try it with the kids at school just wanted to know what kind of glue you used, i.e. PVA I don’t have the brands you mentioned in the UK

    • Ari

      Not sure what you mean. We just used clear Elmer’s glue but I’m sure any kind of glue that pours easily would work. :)

  40. Rinni

    Ooo I might just do this for my uni project haha :D I love it, kinda like the opposite of Brushos.

  41. Jess

    For those of you using non watercolor canvas… Like oil or acrylic canvas.. Be sure to prep it freest or the water colors will just slide off. Here’s a good site to get the steps for that. http://www.art-is-fun.com/how-to-paint-with-watercolors-on-regular-canvas.html

  42. Jess

    Sorry for the typo above.. *first not freest.

  43. ashley

    I love this is honestly when i first saw it i thought an artist not a child artist did this. It kinda looks like a face in it like someone was trying to posting an alien or fairy person face i love it

    • Ari

      The munchkin makes some pretty cool shapes with glue and paint. Amazing what you can do when you don’t “think” about it. If you ask me, that’s what makes kid art so cool – they just go with the flow and see what happens!

  44. Brenda

    I love this!!! I’m 53 and I think I’ll try it myself. It looks beautiful and fun! :-)

  45. Carole Kancar

    This is a wonderful project. . .I have a 15 month old Grandson, and since we are all artists here, I was contemplating starting him out early. . .this is sooo cool!!

    Thanks for the terrific idea!!

    carole

  46. Carrie C

    I did this project with my 4 year old granddaughter today and we both had a blast! Thanks so much for the idea.

    • Ari

      That’s awesome! Did you post a picture anywhere?

  47. Lily b.

    You are so incredibly patient & consistent with your replies ….some ideas I learned as an art student …
    Re: “fixing” the finished art …hairspray(cheap!) or fixative (artist supply-matte or glossy) more pricey.
    Re: canvas – on wood frame, stretched heavy muslin ( stapled) coated with cheap white house paint
    Re:water color paper taped w/ painters tape, (on all 4 sides) to a board-holds it tight & resists warping & curling of wet paper until dry.
    Great job! …and again very impressed. I will try this w/ kids in my life. Thinking about acrylic painting underneath first, then your process on top- or other way around.
    Keep up the good work w/ your kindness & creativity !

    • Ari

      Haha, thanks Lily B. I try, though I often don’t know the answers to people’s questions because I’m not an artist, just a mama keeping her kiddo busy with some paint. :) Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!

  48. Kelli

    Would you be willing to link to the brand/type of canvas you purchased on Amazon? My family is taking a “technology time-out” for a week at the end of the month (no TV, no movie, no tablets, no computers) and I think this would be so fun to do with my two and four year old boys, then we could save them and send them to the grandma’s for Mother’s Day!

    • Ari

      I’m pretty sure I linked to it in the post, but if not, we use these ones from Amazon. They come in packs of 12 and I usually wash them off a few times between uses if we don’t hang up the painting for keeps. :)

  49. Michele

    If muslin will work in place of canvas, you can get a piece of Styrofoam insulation, cut it to the size that you want and stretch the muslin over it. Staple it to the back and then tape it down with duct tape, just to make sure that it is flat and will hold better. I have done that with black fabric and then used spray adhesive to put a picture on the fabric. It looks like a canvas backing, but WAY cheaper! This should work the same way only the painting will be right on the canvas! I use 3M velcro poster hangers to put it up. There are no holes in the walls and will come down with no marks when you are ready for a change!

  50. Joyce

    You can also try dickblick.com for cheap canvases. Check out the classroom 24 packs in particular. Available in a variety of sizes.

  51. Jammie

    For those of you asking about preserving the paintings, you can use a spray varnish! After it fries you coat it and it will protect from UV rays and water damage. You can get matte, glossy, satin, etc finishes. Here’s a low cost option at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Krylon-Gallery-11-Ounce-Archival-Varnish/dp/B003VWMM5A/ref=pd_sim_sbs_ac_5

    • Ari

      We are going to try that! I’m really interested in finding a way to preserve the munchkin’s paintings. Thanks for sharing.

    • Linda

      I wonder if clear spray paint would work?

  52. Jammie

    I love this project by the way!! I did something similar long ago in high school,haha. I need to do it again, and with the kids! I’ll make sure I have the proper canvas as well, the earlier posters saying they had problems with it not sticking reminded me some made for oil & acrylic will not work well w/watercolor- I forgot all about that! Your son’s turned out fantastic!! Thanks for sharing.

  53. Christina

    That is such a cool idea with the glue!! I never would have thought of that! I’ve used the salt technique before and had neat results, but I have to try this! Another thing you and your munchkin (he’s adorable!!) might enjoy trying is sprinkling drops of water on your wet canvas from varying heights. Or, if you want to let the results be a surprise, put it outside when it’s raining for a few minutes. I’ve seen this done with wet acrylic paint (thickly layered) and it gives it an awesome effect. I’m betting it would be amazing with watercolors as well! I’m getting ready to try it myself. I’m in Virginia, so there’s no shortage of rain here lol
    Hope you guys keep up the awesome work!! ;)
    ~C

    • Ari

      I love that idea Christina, thank you for suggesting it! When it warms up around here and all the snow turns to rain we are going to try it. I’m excited!

  54. Linda

    This is on my to do list with my grandson. I think it will be a great gift for his mom for Valentine’s day.
    Has anyone tried modge podge as a varnish after it all dries to protect the painting?

  55. googlypoo

    This is such a cool idea!! And sorry bout’ last time, it was my friend , Stacy

  56. googlypoo

    And Linda, I will to, with my grandson Marlie and my granddaughter Lilly

  57. Nancy

    Wow! The most AWESOME craft my granddaughters and I have made so far! Followed the directions to the letter, and it turned out beautifully … we HAVE to make more (I’m going to have a hard time giving up this one since it’s a gift). Will DEFINITELY have to make more! Thanks so much :)

  58. Sarah

    So cute!! I’m going to have to try this with my niece.

  59. Ailin Albino

    Beautiful and VERY creative!! Absolutely awesome.

  60. Caron

    Love this idea & the fact that your munchkin loves to do this with you. I have to go in search for some munchkins because my own aren’t interested. Thanks for sharing.

  61. Yvy

    My daughter and I do a lot of painting but we only use tempera paint. would we be able to paint on a canvas with glue & salt and still have the same affect with the tempera paint, as you have with watercolors? also should I specifically only use Elmer glue? I see a lot of projects use elmers… is it better than just a generic brand?

    • Ari

      I have no idea about the tempura paint, sorry! And as for Elmers, we just use that because I can get it at the drugstore. ;)

  62. Mary Ann

    I love your artwork, activities, etc… I don’t have any munchkins at home anymore. The only one left at home is 14. I do have a grandson that will be a year old at the end of June and I love getting ideas for when he comes over. You are a wonderful mommy full of so many ideas! Keep ‘em coming!

    • Ari

      Thank you for leaving such a sweet comment! I hope you and your grandson have fun with some of the ideas we’ve shared. :)

  63. Xue

    Hi there, love your water painting , I have to try it with my kiddos. I love your table too, sorry for asking what brand is it. Thank you

    • Ari

      The munchkin’s desk is a Step2 art table. :)

  64. Denise

    Just came across this. I can’t wait to try it with our almost 3 year old grand-daughter. Does the glue dry 3 dimensional or does it dispurse into the watercolor? How much salt do you put on also? I can’t wait to go buy a canvas now!!!!

    • Ari

      Depends on how much glue you use. If you only use a bit it flattens out. If you pile it out you’ll have a dried bump on the painting. As for the salt, use as much or as little as you like. Really this project is just about experimenting and having fun. There’s no set formula.

  65. Bonnie

    I painted bathroom walls dark blue. It is wayyyyyy too much. I need to do something to it. I am not crazy about faux finishes. I was looking for something to make it look like watercolor painting. Do you think this would drip? It is absolutely beautiful. Anyone out there have any ideas? I would like to incorporate some turquoise and white in it to making it more calming.

  66. Bonnie

    Maybe a hot glue gun instead of elmers? I can always throw the salt at the walls. I am just worried about the paint dripping.

  67. Marie Rocheleau-Demers

    I had no idea water color paints would work on canvas! Yes … right?? I’m psyched to do this with my HIGH SCHOOL kids!! :)

  68. Ann Byrd

    Absolutely LOVED this idea! Can’t wait to do this with my grands who live next door! They will have a ball! Thanks for all the wonderful ideas offered about this! Your Munchkin is very lucky to have you! What great memories you are creating!

    • Ari

      Thank you! I hope you and your grandkids enjoy this painting project. :)

  69. Gracinha Borges

    Congratulations! I loved your painting! I will try for sure!

    Hugs from Brazil

  70. Kay Broyles

    Have you ever tried to use Epsom Salts?

    • Ari

      I haven’t but why not give it a go? :)

  71. Jamie

    I am thinking of doing this as a project at my daughter’s birthday party. I absolutely LOVE this project! What size canvas did you use? Do you think it is feasible or way too much for 20 kids to do? Awesome, Awesome project!

    • Ari

      I don’t remember the canvas size but there’s a link in the post that points to the canvases we used. And for sure, 20 kids could totally do this.

  72. Erika Edwards

    Thanks for the great idea! I will be posting a link to this on my blog!

  73. Teresa Slusnys

    Ari, love this idea….I am going to get a white painter’s drop cloth from Home Depot and proceed to do this in a large enough size to do a three section screen for a corner on my enclosed porch. It will be a shared effort with my 6 yr old grandson !!!! I can’t wait !!! I’ll let you know how it turns out! He loves drawing and painting and this will be right up his alley!

  74. Derick Riverol

    Love ur idea…. i took the idea and added it to the paint that i used to paint my wall and guess what it made the paint on the wall brilliant… this is an awesome idea Mrs Ari..

    Big thx from Belize Central America

    P.S I will share ur art/idea with my primary school kids.

  75. Sandie

    Did you seal it to keep salt from coming off? If so. How?

    • Ari

      No we did not seal it. We were really just having fun with paint and salts. It was a 2-year-old art project. :)

  76. Kalyn

    My 2.5d and 4 year old just did this and they look awesome!! Thanks for the wonderful idea :)

  77. Kasey

    I saw this and though it was a wonderful idea but I have one question should the pain.t be dry before adding the glue and salt?

  78. patty candela

    just stumbled upon it. Read aquite ll reviews.
    found all of them great, an outstanding project. My grandaughter comes at least once a week her and I do projects. She will love when she comes next week, Nani found her another project. This one is exceptional to try. She loves painting and she likes to color should I say dark. Can’t wait for next week!!!Question do you think watercolor pencil would work blended everwhere wet canvas then do rest of procedure?SweetHappyLife.co

  79. patty candela

    Just stumbled upon your site then the activity. Every week my %yr old grandaughter comes over. Her and Nani always have some kind of project to do. One of the being painting. She colors bold and soft can’t wait till the next time she comes!! Thanks for a great idea. I know this one she’s really gonna like. Di have question??? Do you think if you used used watercolor pencil then got canvass wet it work the same way

  80. TG

    Hi – I love your project! Do you know if I could put vinyl letters on top of it and then mod podge them down and still keep the great paint effect?

    Thanks!

  81. Eva

    Ari, thank you for posting this. I will make this with my kiddos. It will make beautiful decorations for my daughter’s room! :)

  82. Favio

    I like it…but i have one cuestion…do i have to mix glue, water and salt in a bottle…maybe it´s a stupid cuestion… i just want to be sure how to do it before tell my son how to do it…thanks

  83. terisa

    You are supposed to knock off the salt after it dries.

    • Ari

      I don’t think there is any right or wrong way to do art. Sometimes we knock off the salt, sometimes we don’t. It does have a very pretty sparkly effect and since we’re also using glue sometimes it can’t be knocked off. :)

  84. Ana

    I really way to be an at home working mom what do I do how do I get into that?

  85. Priscilla

    Thanks Ari for such good instructions for this craft. I am going to set it up for my granddaughter, but really I can’t wait to do it myself. It looks like fun and will bring out our artistic side. Love your ideas. Good job.

  86. Lani

    Hi. I love your post, and I wanted to try this with my 3 kiddies on this raining afternoon…. however, I had a question. Can I use regular paper? I only have printer paper, and construction paper, and I can’t get to store to buy anything right now. What do you think?

  87. Jeannie

    I have an artist friend that makes his own canvas using painter’s canvas drop cloths and scrap wood for the fram. Heck, you could even use the ever popular pallet wood. for what it’s worth

  88. ann

    Wow, I want to create one of these for my home..lol and to think it’s from the hands of a child.. BONUS!You have a regular little Picasso there :)

  89. Sonia Cross

    Hi I’m based in the UK but found your idea and wanted to try it. I have used canvas and watercolours but can’t seem to get the same effect. The paint seems to dry really quickly on the canvas and then the salt I use ( rock salt) seems to have no effect, even when I tried it on water colour paper. I can’t seem to get elmer glue over here but used standard clear kids glue but it just seems to sink in totally to the canvas/paper! Any suggestions to help me would be greatly appreciated as my daughter is very excited to try this and get it looking good.

  90. Cass

    Heck, why just kids? I love this. Totally making some to hang at home.

  91. Rachel

    I don’t have that kind of salt can I not use it

  92. Kayla

    I tried this at work multiple times and it never turns out. The first few times I tried it with the kids we let the paint ‘dry’ as they were painting (they didn’t go over with water) and added regular table salt and it didn’t turn out. So this last time, when they finished, I took a brush and went over their paper with water before they glued, and the glue stayed the color of the paints on some pictures, while everything else faded. When we added the salt, it didn’t have any effect on the paint what-so-ever. My point is, is there some kind of trick to this activity??

    • Ari

      The only “trick” is using A LOT Of pigment. We really soaked the canvas with a lot of watercolor. Then the glue/salt have to be added before the water color paints dry. Hope this helps!

  93. Lauren Burridge

    Can I use acrylic paint instead of watercolours?

    • Ari

      No, only watercolors would work for this particular project. :)

  94. NanaP

    This might be a good time to use those glitter glues. I plan to try this with my Sr adult art class. I hope they enjoy it.

  95. Patricia A Polmanteer

    This is SOOOOO neat. I am going to TRY this on plain white fabric to see if I can make a great color block for a quilt piece. I THINK I’ll lay the material on wax paper, do “the deed” and let it dry. THEN I will iron it to “set” the colors and then do a cold water rinse to see if the color sets. I think that would be so great. I’ll keep ya posted if you would like.

  96. Sommer

    So you put the salt on before the water colours dried, but what about the glue? Did you wait for the watercolours to dry or just put the glue straight on top?

  97. Michele Dorreman

    We did this project yesterday and it turned out great, the kids had a blast, even the 14 year old joined in and made one! The only thing different we did was we used Elmer clear glitter glue and it have it a little extra sparkle! You can never have too much glitter! Anyway thanks for the pin it was great!!!

  98. otthrive

    I love the strange beauty of this project! Thanks for sharing. I linked to your post in my parenting/occupational therapy blog.

  99. Anna

    Hi there, I live in New Zealand where our early childhood curriculum does not allow us to use food as a play item because it is considered to be disrespectful to the Maori culture here and also to families who cannot afford much food to eat let alone use for art. So things like salt on pictures, rice shakers, salt for drawing alphabet letters or pasta creations are out. It would be great if alternatives were tried and tested and posted! Great ideas, we just have to adapt them if we can!

    • Ari

      I’d love to hear about any alternatives to salt you come up with for your class! This is was just a little project my son and I did for fun, but for sure if we ever come across an alternate option I’ll post about it on the site.