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?
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?