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Art + Science = Salt Glue Watercolour Experiment

Nov 12, 2014

Hey, CBC Parents! I have an easy and amazing art-science activity to share with you today.

We’re exploring colours and “absorption” with 3 common house-hold supplies: salt, glue and watercolours. Not only is this a fun and fabulous experiment, it’s a great fine-motor activity as well! This project is really easy to set up and execute, and kids of all ages will enjoy it. I’ve done this experiment with 2 and 3 year olds, and most recently with some 14 year olds. Honestly, the teenagers found the process just as fascinating as the toddlers did.

Ok! Let’s get started!

For our salt, glue and watercolour experiment, you’ll need:

  • a bottle of white glue
  • table salt
  • liquid watercolours or food colouring mixed with a few drops of water
  • cardstock or construction paper or cardboard
  • Pipettes/droppers
  • paint pallet or ice cube tray
  • baking dish/shallow pan/box (large enough to hold your piece of paper)


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Let the fun begin!

Have your child begin by making designs on the cardstock with the glue. This in itself is a fun, creative process, and a great way for little ones to strengthen hand and finger muscles. Don’t skimp here! You want to apply a generous amount of glue in thick, fluid lines. Squiggles, dots and spirals are fun. Letters and names are great too. Next, place the paper in the baking pan or box, and have your kids sprinkle salt over their drawings. Cover the glue well, and then as an added measure, give the pan a good shake to make sure every last bit of glue is coated with salt.

Remove the paper from the pan, and shake off any excess salt before returning the paper to your work surface. It looks beautiful already, doesn’t it?

Now, let’s add some colour! Using a pipette, have your child drip the watercolours on to their designs, one drop at a time. This part of the process is really thrilling. It’s amazing to see how far the watercolours spread as they’re absorbed by the grains of salt. Drop by drop, your kids will transform their white, salt drawings into vibrant, colourful designs.

Note that these works of art are not long-lasting as the salt will crumble and comes away from the glue, even when dry.

While it’s not a “forever” project, it’s definitely a keeper of an idea for fun and creative learning.

Article Author Jackie Currie
Jackie Currie

Jackie Currie is a mother, daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind the blog Happy Hooligans. A self-proclaimed glitterphobe, she specializes in easy, affordable arts & crafts and good, old-fashioned play.

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