Salt Paintings

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012

By: Cori of Peace, Baby! Batiks

Winter hasn’t snowed us in yet in Maryland (we’re still waiting!), but we have had several windy, chilly days that have kept my son and I inside and looking for things to do. A couple of days ago, I found directions for salt painting in a science activity book I bought my son (he’s 4) for Christmas.

Man, did they come out cool!

Here’s what you need:

Paint (I used poster paint)
Heavy paper (I used cardstock)
Large-grain salt (I used Kosher salt)

First, pick a couple of paint colors. We used purple, yellow, green, and glittery red, but I’d recommend darker colors so the effect of the salt shows up well. (It got lost a little on the yellow.) Then, water down the paint so it’s fairly thin.

The instructions I had showed dragons, so my son decided he wanted to make dinosaurs. We drew our dinosaurs in pencil on the cardstock and painted over them. We didn’t worry about staying inside the lines; I cut them out after they were dry. Put a lot of paint on your drawing. You want lots of liquid for the salt to soak up.

While the paint is still wet, sprinkle lots of salt all over your artwork. Set aside to dry.

When the paint is dry, brush off the salt grains, and you’ll see that wherever there was a salt grain, you’ll see a darker patch of paint. If you’d like, add detail to your drawing with a marker. We cut our drawings out and mounted them on black construction paper.

Here’s the science bit: The salt crystals absorb the water from the paint around it, leaving dark spots where the crystals were because there was more paint there and elsewhere on the paper. Try larger-grain salt for bigger dark spots!

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