Kid’s Art – Raised Salt Painting

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 Who knew painting could be so exciting! I mean, jump out of your chair and squeal exciting! Well, that’s exactly the reaction R (3) had when we tried raised salt painting for the first time.

For this activity we used:

  • table salt
  • white glue
  • liquid water colour paints (you could also use water with food colouring added)
  • paper of various colours (black works really well against vibrant colours)
  • paintbrushes or pipettes
  • A tray

Lay your paper on the tray (we used a baking tray) and pour white glue onto your page. You could draw a picture or simply make patterns and shapes like we did. Go wild and cover as much of the page as possible for maximum effect.


STEP 2: 
Pour table salt over the glue. Be generous. You don’t want to skimp on the salt here. Once you’ve covered all the glue with salt, lift up the page and shake off the excess salt. Shake it into the tray so that you can recycle the salt for your next picture.

Now the REALLY fun part! Dip your paintbrush into the liquid watercolour paints and drop some colour onto the salt. You only need to drop a little colour in one spot. You are not actually brushing the colour over the page with the brush. Then sit back and watch the magic! The colour will spread and run along the lines of salt. R was entranced! (TIP: instead of liquid watercolours, use some water that has been coloured with food colouring. An eye dropper could be substituted for the paintbrush.)

This project was definitely all about the process, not the product (although the end product was pretty spectacular too!) R was mesmerised as he watched the paint travel along the lines of salt and glue. He would make a guess as to how far the colour would travel before stopping and whether one colour would reach all the way to “meet” another colour and when the colours did meet he literally leapt out of his chair yelling “It made it!”

That smile says it all! R kept at this activity for almost an hour – a very long time for him with painting. Painting is one of his favourite things to do but he usually only spends 10 to 15 minutes at a time on it. With salt painting, he just wanted to create more and more pictures. They turned out so beautifully too. The salt crystalises and sparkles - it’s pretty special. Here’s a close up.

This photo was taken while the painting was still wet. The colours faded a little as the painting dried. Something else to keep in mind – these pictures are not built to last. The salt will crumble and fall off the page as it dries. So, if you really love the masterpieces that your little ones create, take lots of photos!

Here’s a few of R’s paintings. They looked fantastic and I don’t think he’s ever had more fun producing a painting before!

Here’s one that we created together. I applied the glue and R applied the salt and the colour.

What’s your favourite non-traditional painting material?

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  1. whimsicalkidscanvas

    Love the texture it makes! Very cool… and colorful.

  2. We have done this before, and it really is so fun! Looks like R had a blast!

  3. What a great art project. I’m also looking for great ways to engage my toddler who can sometimes be a reluctant artist.

  4. This is awesome, I cant wait to try it. Visiting from the weekly kids coop.
    Thanks for the inspiration

  5. This is fabulous!

  6. How fun! I can’t wait to give it a try!!!

  7. This looks fantastic and like so much fun! The colors are so vibrant. I don’t know what kid could resist this activity. Another one for the to-do list!

  8. How awesome is this! This is like magic with painting!

  9. We have never tried salt painting. It looks good and messy! We are totally going to give it a try. :)

  10. This is just so beautiful!! I just had to pin it!!

  11. This is such a great idea! The end result looks so cool. I can see why it kept your son busy for so long.

  12. This is one of our favorite activities. I LOVE the use of black paper. Wow it really makes the colors POP! We’ll definitely use black next time.

  13. .

    the end results look fab – these would be great to do as firework pictures (using black paper)

  14. serena

    I did this MANY years ago when I worked with a summer program for the YMCA. The kids loved it!!! I made one too! Now after all these YEARS, I still have it, but the salt has fallen off. However, the glue had soaked in the colors, so it still looks pretty cool.

  15. Dude, this is awesome! I want to try it–and I do mean ME! This is still a little advanced for my little one, but I am putting it in a file for later!

    I’d love it if you’d link up at my Teaching Time for Toddlers Tuesday party.

  16. Nice! We love painting projects that involve a series of do it yourself steps. This one is a keeper! Thanks for sharing :)

  17. That looks really neat! My kids would definitely love doing this. Thanks for posting!

  18. How amazing! Will definitely use this with students next fall! Thx, Karen

  19. Carla

    So glad I found you. What a neat idea! I can’t wait to try it out – thank you for sharing!

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting Carla! This was great fun, I hope you enjoy it too. I’m thinking of doing it as an activity with my son’s pre-school class in a couple of weeks. I think they’ll love it.

  20. wohoo! what a fantastic idea! loved R reactions…in half cut photos!

    • Hi Vandana! lol! Yes, I purposely cut the photos that way. It’s just what I choose to do for this blog. :)

  21. Kelly

    This did not work for us. But we used the idea listed in your blog to use water and food coloring instead of water colors. The color just did not “travel” at all. We tried it again with loads of salt but it didn’t work. SO USE WATER COLORS not food coloring.

    Instead I let her shake sprinkles (used for baking) of all colors onto the glue. She still loved it.

    • Thanks for the feedback Kelly, that’s good to know and I’m happy to hear that you were able to adapt the activity with the sprinkles so that it was still fun.

  22. Tamara Gieszen

    Love this! Tried it before getting on it with my doughter, i used light coloured fingerpaint as a backround, so you can use stamp, works great also! Think she will love it.

    • Hi Tamara. What a great idea to use the finger paint background. I hope your daughter had fun with it.

  23. Bonnie

    Just wondering if this can be done over a few settings? I teach “Messy Monday’s” for our lower elementary and we only have 25 minutes to do a project. So, I thought I would break it down into three parts if possible. Draw the picture – week 1; add the glue and salt – week 2; then add the water colors – week 3. Do you think this would work?
    Thanks in advance. Bonnie

    • Hi Bonnie. I think that could work. My only concern would be whether the salt would start to crumble away from the glue before the third session. Ours only lasted a couple of days before the salt started to crumble away. It’s a fairly quick project, despite all the steps and materials so if you had everything out and ready to go at the start of the class, you might be able to complete the glue, salt and paint within one 25 minute session. (So you could break it up over 2 weeks – week 1 do the drawing, week 2 – glue, salt, paint.) Good luck and I hope your students have fun!

      • Lori

        I’m going to give this a try because I’m curious as to why the salt “crumbles and falls off the paper”. Why wouldn’t it adhere to the glue as it dries and, therefore, adhere to the paper?

  24. Karen G

    I have been doing this activity for years. Once the children have experienced it, they keep asking for more!

  25. Louise

    We loved this craft so much – we used stencils to make some cool glue designs :).
    Thank you for a great blog post – we will ‘link back’ to you on our blog post tonight.
    Louise x
    Paging Fun Mums

  26. Tania

    Could you not spray hair spray to keep hold of salt like a laqaur (sorry if spelt wrong lol)?

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  28. That was so much fun! Sweety had a blast dripping color onto the salty lines. Her patience was a bit thin to wait for the colors to meet, though. But her fun was great nonetheless!

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