Use salt to paint a wintry watercolor

Donna’s Day: Creative Family Fun - Use salt to paint a wintry watercolor

By Donna Erickson, Signal Contributing Writer

Let it snow, wherever you live, with this colorful watercolor art project your young kids will enjoy indoors on a wintry day this month. Grains of salt sprinkled over watercolor drawings mimic snowflakes to change your budding artist’s landscape drawing. 

While the watercolor paint is still wet, a sprinkle of salt creates dimension and transforms the look of the painting to a snowy winter scene. When young children explore and create with this salty technique, the activity is bounded only by their imagination.

Here’s the stuff you’ll need:

watercolor or heavy art paper

small brush

water in a small dish

washable watercolor paint cakes in a tin such as Crayola brand, or watercolors that come in tubes that you dilute with water 

inexpensive table salt and/or kosher salt

Here’s the fun:

Paint a picture with the watercolor paints. While the paint is still wet, lightly sprinkle salt here and there or over chosen portions of the painting.

As it absorbs the paint, it creates little crystal-like designs. Let dry completely. Rub or shake off loose salt. 

Encourage your painter to sign the art. Frame and display.

To make a scene of wintry bare trees using masking tape:

First, grab some scissors and masking tape. Cut thin and thick strips from the masking tape for a tree or trees, and adhere to a plain sheet of watercolor paper. Start with a wide strip for the trunk and add thinner strips off the sides for the branches. You might want to cut pieces to make a circle for a sun or full moon to tape near the top of the paper. Cut in a sliver for a half moon. 

Paint over the paper using natural wintry colors. Sprinkle some salt over the paint while still wet. Let dry completely. 

Shake off loose salt and carefully remove the tape to reveal the trees, sun/moon or whatever you created. It’s always a moment of surprise! 

Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit and link to the NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.”

© 2020 Donna Erickson

Distributed by King Features Synd.

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