How to Paint With Epsom Salt

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Epsom salt paint dries in crystalline form.
Image Credit: CaryllN/iStock/Getty Images

Epsom salt "paint" creates an almost magical painting experience -- the liquid dries into crystals that look like snow or frost. The wow-worthy process happens when water evaporates out of the Epsom salt -- magnesium sulfate -- solution, leaving behind nothing but magnesium sulfate crystals. Mix your own versions for glass or paper painting, or create a special coating to decorate the outside of candleholders.


Frosted Glass Paint

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A super-saturated Epsom salt solution turns into a homemade frost paint to cover entire window panes with a crystalline film that looks like ice or frost. Mix 1/2 cup warm water with 1/3 cup Epsom salt, stirring until the salt dissolves completely. Stir in a drop or two of liquid dish soap. Dip a soft cloth into the salty solution; then wipe down a clean window pane. As the water evaporates, it leaves behind magnesium sulfate -- or Epsom salt -- crystals. Painting shapes such as snowflakes or snowmen on a window may prove difficult since the solution will run and drip. If you wish to create specific designs, tape a stencil onto the glass or make one from masking tape, cutting away the areas you wish to paint. Peel the tape or stencil away once the crystals form.

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Paint for Paper

Pour 1/2 cup Epsom salt into a glass container such as a measuring cup that holds more than 1 cup of liquid. Boil water; then pour 1/2 cup of the hot water into the Epsom salt, stirring to blend the materials completely. Brush the paint onto thick dark paper such as indigo or black construction paper while the liquid is fairly warm, creating straight lines, words or designs. Allow the painted liquid to evaporate without going back over the same lines again; otherwise, the crystals may not form properly.


Wild Watercolors

Create your own crystal-forming watercolor paints using Epsom salt, table salt, food coloring and water. Pour 1 tablespoon each of Epsom salt and water into a shallow container, adding a few pinches of table salt and a drop or two of your favorite liquid food coloring. Swirl the container around to mix the materials, then paint with it on thick watercolor paper. Once the moisture evaporates completely -- which may take an entire day -- it leaves behind colored crystals atop the painted paper, adding an extra dimension to your creative work.


Crystallized Candleholders

Turn plain glass jars or candleholders into frosty translucent wonders by coating them with Epsom salt. Create stripes, chevrons or shapes with strips of masking tape; then paint between the paint strips with decoupage medium or a watered-down school glue. Roll the glass vessel through a shallow tray of Epsom salt to give the glass a crystalline coating. Allow the glass to dry completely before removing the tape. A candle or tealight candle within the glass illuminates the frosted areas for a soft, ambient effect.


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