Oil and Water Can Mix- At Least When It Comes to Painting (With a Dash of Salt)

My kids have been painting since before they could walk (I have the photos to prove it.)  So when I say “let’s paint,” the expressions on their faces can read not again!!

Sometimes I run across a new technique that changes their minds.  This week I read a post for oil and watercolor paintings.


Kellen will engage in any activity that I call “an experiment.”  Rather than telling him we were going to paint (again), I advised that we were going to do an experiment.  I set up a  few small containers of color, vegetable oil, and rock salt, and gave him an eye dropper, so it certainly looked a bit more scientific than our standard paint sessions.


I ended up doing this activity twice- once with each child.  For the session with my younger son, I mixed food coloring with water to create paint.  For my older son, I gave liquid watercolors a try.  From what I could tell, the food coloring worked as well as the liquid watercolors, but the liquid watercolors do not stain your skin.

I placed a sheet of watercolor paper into a plastic container.  The boys used the eye dropper to squirt paint on the paper, and then oil on top of the paint.  The oil allowed some of the color to move, other colors to stayed put.  Some colors diluted, others remained bright.

We used the rock salt as a second form of resist.  The rock salt soaked up some of the paint, creating spots on the paper.  It also dissolved a little in the paint, giving our creations a shimmery look.


The finished projects turned out so beautiful!  My older son, Liam, was thrilled because the rock salt was dyed by the paint.  When we shook it off the pages, the salt transformed into magical crystals.


This project really captured their attention, kept them entertained for an extended period, cleaned up well, and left a great finished project- that’s a clear winner in my book!


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