Salt and the wetness of the paper

Have you ever tried creating Texture in Watercolor using salt? If you answer no then stop reading, run to kitchen to find salt and start painting because it is super fun!


Salt creates a beautiful pattern that can look anything from small Stars to big fluffy Clouds depending on the wetness of the paint it's applied to. It can be a bit tricky but I'll try to take bit of the mystery out in this blogpost.


How the salt works

When the salt is dropped into the paint it instantly starts acting like a small sponge. It just soaks up everything moist around it and only stops when it's all dried up. It sounds simple right? The effect the salt creates is now a white spot where the moisture used to be.


Let's take a look at 3 examples her:


Very wet wash

In a very wet wash the salt will have a long time to interact with the moisture on the page. That will create big patches of white and will almost look like fluffy clouds. You can see that technique in action in my new youtube video here:







Wash with a shine

Now try leaving your wash to dry for a second so the water can soak into the paper and just leave a shining surface. This is the perfect time to add the salt if you want those characteristic star patterns everybody is talking about.







Almost dry wash


If you wait too long for the paper to dry the salt will have very little time to work. That will create a micro spotted pattern where the salt has almost just soaked up the paint in the very spot they were placed. This can be cool but mostly you dont want to wait for that long.




Class on salt in watercolor

If you are interested in diving deep into this technique I have a class on this that is perfect for you and also shows you how different papers are affected and even how diferent salt will work out.


Create Texture with salt