The salt acts a resist of sorts. The area where the salt touches the paper will be lighter in color. The salt will push the watercolor pigment away and thus the lighter spot will be surrounded by a darker shade. All of this happens in a few minutes and looks so natural and beautiful!
In this make-and-take activity, students use the absorbency of salt to make textured watercolour paintings. Salt is a desiccant - that means it loves to absorb or "soak up" water. This is why salty foods make you thirsty; they absorb water out of the tissues in your body and leave you thirsty for more water.
These means that when you clear the salt after it has dried you will have a lighter effect with more of the surface of the paper showing than with cold press watercolor paper. “You get a darker, juicier effect on cold press and more of a sparkly starry effect with lighter areas on a hot press paper,” explains Morris.
To vary the effect, you can use different size salt crystals as well as try it with more or less watercolor paint (ie more or less wet). We mostly used table salt this time, with a little bit of sea salt, but have used the coarser kosher salt as well in the past.
Instructions & Tips for Using Salt with Watercolor
1) Paint underlying watercolor colors. 2) I allowed the page to dry until the moisture sheen on the surface of the paper was just beginning to disappear, but you can vary this to get different effects. (More on this below.) 3) Sprinkle salt in desired areas.
A simple way to add texture to a watercolour piece is by adding paper layers. Prep the areas that you would like to add texture to by applying gesso or thinned acrylic matte medium onto your paper. Gesso has a thick chalky consistency while acrylic matte medium dries clear and is much thinner.
Salt adds such a fun texture and shine and is easy to paint on!
Mix Your Paint
Begin by mixing eight ounces of flat paint in your desired base color, one tablespoon kosher salt and three tablespoons plaster of Paris. The end result should be a thick but workable consistency. Once mixed, use water to thin as needed.
She loved the way the paint spread out quickly as it touched the salt. Today, we switched the salt for sugar. The technique and results were equally cool. The color also spread out in interesting patterns when it touched the sugar and it left a gorgeous glossy finish.
While there are actually many techniques, three are considered the building blocks and are what most watercolour artists use consistently and frequently. These include 'wet on dry', 'wet on wet', and watercolour washes.
Says adding a spoonful of sugar to the painting water will extend the drying time and prevents hard edges and irregularities in un-derpaintings, flat washes, and gradations.
To make your own salt wash, pour 2 cups of paint into a container and add about 1/4 cup of salt. It's best to gradually add your salt until you get pancake batter consistency. If you add too much, your paint will become a big blob and you will have to throw it out and start over.
Saltwash® is a base coat powder paint additive that creates a unique weathered look on any surface. Saltwash® was invented to recreate the authentic time worn painted look, which the owners of Saltwash®, commonly had seen on the seaside cottage porches and furniture growing up along the coast.
Spice painting is a creative and zero-waste way to use expired spices and seasoning as a crafting project for the whole family. This low-cost DIY craft requires few materials and is a great option for sensory play.
Make your salt puffy paint
Whisk together equal parts flour, salt, and water. Then mix in color. That's all! For the color, I use food coloring sometimes and a tablespoon or two of tempera paint for the color other times.