Mar 2, 2016

Toddler Art Class: Starry Salt Paintings

Shake up your art with a little salt!

Art Project: Starry Salt Paintings
--salt (I used table salt, but you could probably try a variety of different salts to test the different effects if you wanted to....)
--liquid watercolors (I diluted them considerably with water)
--watercolor paper (best) or lightweight cardboard sheets
--small containers to hold individual portions of paint

cover art Stars / Ray, Mary Lyn
note: while I LOVE this book and it is a great match to the project, it was not a great match for this age group for a large group of kids.  I shared this with my son at this age, but as a bedtime story and one-on-one and it was lovely, but it's a little too poetic and long for this particular purpose.  I'm sure you can find another book about stars to use.  If you find one that you love, leave it in the comments section!

Where I got the inspiration for this project: The Artful Parent: Sticker Resist Starry Night Cards

 What Kids Do: goal #1 -- get some stickers on your paper.  Great fine motor skill work!  For very little kids, this works best if adults can peel the stickers off their backing and hand the stickers to the kids so that they can position them on the page.  Older kids can peel them off by themselves.

goal #2 -- get some paint on the paper.  You can brush it on.
 Or splat it on:
This enthusiastic "splat" went all the way to the drop cloth!  (the artist was quite excited by that result!)
 You can use a gentle touch:
 Or really mash it in, but sometimes it helps to have a grown-up hold your cup of paint.

 But don't be shy-- you really need to cover your page with lots of paint.
 Just pour it on if you need to.
 Or play connect the dots!

 goal #3 -- sprinkle on some salt and watch what happens!

 see how it draws the paint in?  So cool to watch!
but the best part?  shake it, baby!
 that is a nice pile of salt right there.
 here's what happens if you add more paint after you've piled up some salt:
 And here's what your brush looks like:
 You gotta talk about texture with this project!

Other fun: painting on your hand:
and trying out mono-printing:

Hindsight Tip: for my first class, I used the cardboard sheets we often use with paint, but for the second class, I decided to try the watercolor paper the instructions actually call for. If you can afford it, I recommend the watercolor paint.  While the cardboard sheets work well with tempera paints, watercolor just sort of rolls around on the surface and you really want it to grip the page better for this project.  Also, if you have more than about 30 kids, three salt shakers might not be enough.

 Variations to try: 
dripping watercolor paint onto salt

Adult Challenge:  Try not to tell your child their artwork is pretty.  Instead, talk about the experience they're having while making the art!


  1. About how long did this program last? I love it!

  2. All of the Toddler Art Classes are about 30-45 minutes from start to finish, depending on how involved the kids get in the projects.


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