How to Use Salt Technique with Watercolours


The salt technique with watercolors is a technique that creates a marbled, water-stained effect and dappled appearance. It is a simple technique that is basically sprinkling salt on to wet paint, allowing it to dry, and sweeping the salt off. Wherever the salt sat, some of the water and watercolors are absorbed by the salt. Once the paper dries and the salt is swept off, all of the areas previously covered with salt will be lighter. It also has the effect of blending the watercolors together more. The salt technique can be used for many different watercolor art projects using the same process. This article shows how to use the salt technique to create backgrounds on watercolor paper, which can be painted on later or just left that way.

Things You'll Need

  • Watercolor paper
  • Watercolor paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Pan of water
  • Spray bottle filled with water
  • Kosher salt
  • Sheets of newspaper


  • Lay down a few sheets of newspaper on the work area.

  • Place your painting supplies on the newspaper.

  • Wet an entire sheet of your watercolor paper with water from the spray bottle.

  • Spread the water evenly across the paper with a brush.

  • Apply your chosen watercolor paints to the paper.

  • Allow the watercolor paints to run into one another and add water as needed until all of the paper is covered.

  • Allow the paper to dry slightly but not completely.

  • Spray more water on to the paper that will make the watercolor blend more.

  • Sprinkle a handful of salt over the paper while it is still damp. Coat the paper as much as desired but know that wherever the salt is, it will absorb some water and paint and lighten the colors.

  • Allow the paint to dry completely.

  • Brush all of the salt off of the paper.

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