I’m not an artist – so trust me – if I can make this painting, it has to be pretty easy! I HAD to try this art project just because it’s fun. And cool. And sciency. (My browser is telling me that’s not a real word… haha) This salt and watercolor snowflake art project actually teaches you something, and I LOVE that!
I’ll be the first person to raise my hand and admit, “I can’t draw or paint”. And trying to make me do either of those two things will make me want to hide my head in embarrassment. (I’m shaking my head just thinking about how awkward I always felt in grade school art class!)
But I can get on board with process art, where the overall journey of creating the art is more important than the final product. And come on, check out the AWESOME way the salt makes the paintings look frosty!? And the way the snowflakes magically appear when you add the paint!? That’s just plain cool!
Do you remember painting over top of crayon drawings when you were a kid? Remember how magical it seemed?! I realized when I started this project that none of my kids had actually tried it before, so it was fun to watch the excitement through their eyes!
Magic Salt and Watercolor Snowflake Art
This art project is so perfect for a cold winter day! Here’s a list of affiliate links similar to the supplies I used:
I cut each of my sheets of watercolor paper into 6 pieces. My watercolor paper is 9 x 12 inches (I linked to the exact paper I used in the list above), so each piece was cut to 3 inches x 4.5 inches.
You can definitely make bigger paintings if you want to! But I wanted to create a bunch of paintings, and I don’t have THAT much watercolor paper, so I was trying to conserve.
Now for the fun part. Use a white crayon to draw snowflakes on the watercolor paper. It’s reeeeally hard to photograph white crayon on white paper!? But if you tilt the screen away from you, you should be able to see the snowflakes in the image below.
I used our red, purple and blue liquid watercolor paint. (Any type of watercolor paint should work.)
Mine says you can use 1 part liquid watercolor to 4 parts water, so I measured each one into a little salad dressing container. In case you’re wondering I measured 1/2 teaspoon of liquid watercolor and 2 teaspoons water for each of the three colours.
When you brush the watercolor paint over the paper, your snowflakes will magically appear! This step is pretty fun!
Cover the entire sheet of watercolor paper with paint. If you use small sheets of watercolor paper like we did, your paper will probably curl upwards a little bit. Don’t worry, it will flatten back out as the paint dries.
While the paint is still wet, pinch a little bit of table salt onto your painting. Just regular old kitchen salt. Pour a small amount into your hand and pinch a few grains at a time onto your painting.
LESS IS MORE. Trust me. For my first few attempts I shook the salt shaker over the painting, but it was so much salt that you couldn’t make out the little frosty looking circles. So don’t go too crazy with the salt.
If the salt doesn’t stick to the painting, the paint is too dry. You’ll need to wet it with a little bit more paint, otherwise you won’t get the frost effect.
Basically, the grains of salt act like little sponges. They soak up the paint that’s surrounding them so you end up with neat little frosty looking circles on your painting!
After the paint is completely dry, brush away the grains of salt and you’re done!
My 6 and 8 year olds were able to do this entire art project by themselves. My 4 year old made me draw the snowflakes, but he did the rest himself. It’s a great project for kids of all ages!
I definitely recommend creating your paintings on a baking sheet. It really helps keep the mess contained and gives the paintings a nice safe place to dry.
You can see in the photo above that my daughter’s little painting was curling up as she painted it. But her sister’s painting (top right in the photo above) had already flattened out by the time she got to this point – so it doesn’t stay curled for long.
How to Flatten Your Watercolor Paintings
I found that some of our paintings weren’t exactly flat when we were done. So to fix that, I rubbed a damp cloth on the BACK SIDE of each painting to make it just slightly wet (after the paint was completely dry). Then I ironed it on very low heat between two sheets of parchment paper with the paint facing down. Easy peasy!
Aren’t they pretty when you put them all together?!
This is such a fun winter art project! It’s super easy to set up and the kids LOVE watching the magic that happens both with the salt and with the snowflakes appearing!
It’s easy enough that it would also make a great art project for teachers to make with the whole class at school.
At school or at home you can discuss: Why doesn’t the paint stick to the crayon snowflakes? And why does the salt create “frost” on the paintings?
This magic salt and watercolor snowflake art project for kids is so much fun! The snowflakes magically appear when you add the paint and the salt makes the painting look “frosty”. This is such a cool process art idea for kids that’s fantastic in the classroom at school or on a snowy day at home this winter!
If you’re looking for more fun ideas using watercolor and crayon, check out our kids winter hat art project! Grab the free printable and have a fun afternoon of crafting at home or in the classroom!
If you’re looking for more winter art project ideas, check out our tutorial for making coffee filter snowflakes. These are so easy to make and they end up looking so beautiful!
For more fun craft ideas, check out our new book Low-Mess Crafts for Kids for 72 fun and simple craft ideas for kids! The projects are fun, easy and most importantly low-mess, so the clean up is simple!
Where to buy:
You can purchase Low-Mess Crafts for Kids from Amazon, or wherever books are sold: