Kitchen Watercolor Techniques with Salt, Straws and Plastic Wrap

It’s so fun to experiment with art materials! Last month I shared a video from the Intermediate Program that demonstrates some traditional watercolor techniques and I am back now with some painting ideas that really capture the unpredictability of watercolor- a quality that makes it really exciting for kids and adults alike.

 Artists often experiment with their art medium by adding solvents to change the consistency and they use unconventional tools to manipulate the results simply for the enjoyment of watching the process. The three techniques below do just that- using salt, straws and plastic wrap (and your watercolor supplies), you can have an afternoon of creative exploration with your kids- all with things you likely have right in your kitchen!

Watercolor paint
Bowl of water
Watercolor paper
Extras: Salt, Straw, Plastic Wrap

Adding salt to a wet watercolor painting creates a starburst effect as the salt absorbs the paint. The interesting texture it creates is beautiful on its own or can be used to create a night sky or wintry scene.



1.  Have your supplies ready- watercolor supplies and salt

2.  Load a large watercolor brush with water and paint and brush it onto your paper. Work quickly so your paint stays wet until you are ready to add the salt. Using a Wet on Wet technique works well for this. Have a look at this watercolor video for a demo of the Wet on Wet technique.

3.  While your paper is still wet, sprinkle salt anywhere you’d like and watch the salt crystals absorb the paint. Leave it to dry completely for the full effect, then brush the salt into the garbage and you’ll have a new masterpiece!

Blowing watercolor paint around your paper with a straw is really fun. The paint bursts out into different directions to create exciting unexpected results. Ask your child what it reminds them of and when the paint is dry, they can leave it or draw over it- adding eyes, background, turn it into fireworks or tree branches- whatever they imagine it to be.


1.   Have your supplies ready- watercolor supplies and a few straws

2.  Dip a brush into water and paint and put a small puddle onto your paper. Or drip paint randomly all over the paper, making sure the paint is really runny for this to work.

3.  While puddles are wet, aim the straw where you want the puddle of paint to move and blow. Experiment blowing different directions and mixing colors.

Tip: If you are doing this with little ones, they may have a little trouble blowing hard enough to make the paint move. Cutting the straw in half will help, and you can work as a team and take turns blowing- making a collaborative piece of art!


This neat texture technique is great to use as an interesting background for a drawing or on its own. The effects are quite surprising and beautiful!

1.  Wet your paper by brushing clear water across it, then paint a wash of one or more colors, covering the entire paper.

2.  While your paint is still very wet, add wrinkled plastic wrap to the top. Gently press it down and then let it dry completely without moving the plastic.

3. When paint is dry, pull off the plastic and reveal the cool texture.


With all of these techniques, experiment with different colors and concentration of pigments to see the different kind of effects you can create.

For inspiring watercolor and oil pastel lessons for kids age 6-12, have a look at the Intermediate Program!

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