Help Fund Free Art for Kids

How to Create Salt Paintings and Sculpt Playdough

How to Make Salt Paintings and Sculpting Playdough Art Lesson
Texture – adding a tactile element to a project – is a meaningful way to enhance art. Fundamentally, kids need art to experience firsthand the different shapes, forms, depths and dimensions that are present in subjects throughout the curriculum. And through sculpture and painting, children can take a hands-on approach to developing an understanding of these concepts.

In these two hands-on art lessons, Barbara Mason and her grandsons create salt paintings and sculpt homemade playdough at the Golden Arts studio. Some initial help is needed to create the medium before the children take over to experiment with patterns and shapes.

Materials Required for Salt Painting and Sculpting Playdough

The materials needed for salt painting include a poster board, watercolors, school glue, salt, water and paintbrushes. To create the playdough for the sculpting project, you will need flour, salt and water.

Learn About Creating Salt Paintings and Sculpting Playdough Video

Join Barbara as she creates salt paintings to demonstrate the artistic concept of texture, along with a fun lesson on homemade playdough.

Salt Paintings Lesson Plan

Making Salt Paintings and Sculpting Playdough

Follow along with the video transcription as Barbara and her grandsons use salt in their paintings, before creating playdough to begin learning about sculpture.

Northwest artists are passionate about art, and Golden Road Arts extends their passion through education. In association with working artists, we are on an arts mission supporting students, parents and teachers with online live and recorded examples. Introducing children to art. The Golden Road Arts nonprofit and Northwest Artists inspire students to learn art because there is a need for each child to create. Golden Road Arts – encouraging and supporting the arts and arts education now and for the future.

Good morning. Hi, I am Barbara Mason at Golden Road Arts and I’m here with a couple of fine young men who are gonna help me do a little art demonstration today. So Atticus and Westin. They’re gonna help me do this. How old are you, Atticus? 8. Westin, How old are you? I am two years older, 10. Ok.

OK, so what we’re gonna do is we’re going to do a really fun project today. We’re going to use school glue, but you could actually use regular glue, doesn’t have to be school glue, but this is what we have and we’re going to draw with it. Then we’re going to cover it with salt. What happens is the salt is going to stick to the glue, and then once it sticks to the glue, we’re going to use a little water-soluble paint on it. We’re just going to use watercolors and it’s going to make a beautiful design. We tried this yesterday. Didn’t we, boys? We tried it yesterday and it worked pretty well, but yesterday we just used a piece of heavy paper, and it was a little floppy. So today we’re going to use a piece of cardboard, which is going to work a little better.

OK, put that down, all right here you go. OK, so who is going to be first? Me. We’re just going to make a design on here. There you go. Anyway you want. That looks pretty cool. So you can make something that’s real, or you can just scribble. Atticus is doing a really nice scribble here. Yesterday, I made a flower that was a very pretty flower. I like that flower. We will show those pictures we did yesterday too, so when we get done we will have not only what we did today, but also what we did yesterday too.

Oh Westin, you’re making your name. How clever is that! Pretty cool. Nope. That’s why I saved room for it. A name and name in two parts. Pretty good, Westin. OK.  So now, once we get the glue part done, we are going to get the salt part.

We found out yesterday that we used way too much salt. We used a lot of salt. We had salt everywhere, so we saved it. We are just going to put it all over. This is what was left from yesterday, but I think we still are going to need some more. Fortunately, we have more. So this is plain salt from Safeway. Cost a dollar for this container of salt(99 cents, yeah, 99 cents). You could get the more expensive salt that has added iodine in it, but this is just regular salt. We are going to shake this around a little bit. We are going to dump it on, Westin, so we don’t waste any salt. (Westin – My name is going to be pretty). I think we are going to have salt everywhere when we are done. We want to make sure to get it all over the glue. Ok, so what we are going to do now is we are going to dump it off. Ok so, we are going to save the salt because we are going to use it later for another project.

So boys, do you remember what we did yesterday with the paint? What was the first thing we did with the paint? We got a little bit of water in each one so they were soft. Because watercolor is hard when you open them up, they are kind of solid. So this is one for each of you. These are brushes for each one of you. And here is our water. Let’s put that in the middle. We put a little water in each one. When you put the paint on the salt, what we found worked really well is you just barely touch the salt, and the salt is so porous that it just immediately sucks up the paint. Let’s get a little closer to you so you are not reaching clear across the table to do it. These turned out so pretty, it was just really impressive how nice they looked. And we put them out in the sun. It’s such a nice hot day today. It was really easy to put them out in the sun. You want to make sure you got water in your paint. One thing about using watercolor is it is really easy to clean up, but it doesn’t mean that if you get it on your clothes, it’ll wash out though because it’s still pigment. So you want to be sure to wear an apron, or wear old clothes. I guess that would be good too. But I guess if it was summer, you could just take your shirt off, right? You guys are doing a good job! That looks really good. So what grades are you boys going to be in this fall? – Fifth and third.

So the boys are going to do a kind of an unusual thing this fall because we’re in the middle of the pandemic. The boys are going to go to school in their basement, right? We’re gonna get a bunch of friends and they’re going to have a teacher come to their house, and they are going to have school in their basement. That is pretty interesting, isn’t it? Is it about 8 kids or 10? You are going to get 4 friends? I think we are going to get five friends. Five friends each. That is going to be 10 children or 12 children? 10 children. That will be interesting.

It will be fun but it probably won’t be quite as much fun as actually going to school. But at least you’ll be able to have recess. This looks pretty good. I like the way you’re doing this. You’re being really careful. You’re just being careful. You’re not slopping it everywhere. It looks good. Yeah well, it just would not be as pretty to get it all over the paper, but it still looks pretty good. The more color you use the prettier it is going to be. What happens if you mix red and yellow? What did you get? Brown and orange. You know red and yellow are both warm colors. Cool colors are the blues. When blue and yellow play together, what color do they get? Green. Exactly. What happens if red and blue play together? What color do they get? Pink. Maybe, more likely they get purple. And if red and yellow play together, they are going to get what color? Brown, well that is green and orange that makes brown. I think they’re going to get orange.  Oh, Westin, that looks pretty good. That is really nice. So now I think what we are going to do is we are going to set this aside so they can dry as soon as Atticus is done with his. It is beautiful!

We will take pictures not only of these, but with pictures of the ones that we did yesterday, so that will have some samples to show you how to do this. It does take a while for them to dry, and then once they’re dry, sometimes salt comes off. So you have to be a little careful moving them around. They are very very pretty and very fun to do and very easy to do. The salt is just like a sponge, it just soaks up the water. You did a really nice job of that, Wes. I think that was really good. Good job, Atticus. So we have finished our beautiful salt paintings.

Yesterday, when we decided to do these paintings with the salt, the boys wanted to make clay, but we were missing a critical ingredient. We didn’t have any flour because we’re at the studio. We’re going to put these aside. We’re going to let them dry.

And today we’re going to go ahead and make the dough. We’re going to show you how to do that. The first ingredient we need is salt. We need salt. It is our salt day. We get our flour here. We need exactly two cups of flour. Exactly. So that means we got to make sure. Smooth in the top and see how it’s doing. Pretty good. Want to make sure we get the exact. Here is one cup. You wanna do the next, Wes? That’s pretty good. OK, Dumping it in. OK, now we’re going to get salt. We need this for the salt. So we have two cups of flour. And we are going to have one cup of salt. Wait a second. Let’s use the salt we had from this morning. Start with that. Why don’t you sit it down here while we put the salt in? Oh well, that’s alright, I just don’t want it to be too heavy. OK, here we go. So we’re going to fill this one cup salt, one whole cup of salt. OK, so dump it in. I will put this down here. What we want to do is stir this up. We’re going to mix the salt and the flour together with warm water, yeah. After you mix this up, you’re supposed to let it sit for an hour before you use it. OK, so you’re supposed to put this in just a little bit at a time.

Are you going to let Wes do it? Is your arm getting tired? OK, there’s all our water. That was one cup of water. So it’s two cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, and one cup of water. I got some wax paper right here. Let’s put some wax paper out to use. Once you get it to this point where it’s mixed up, then you have to knead it with your hands.  Is that the fun part? Make sure it’s all together. Let’s see if we can mix this a little bit more. Let me help you a little bit here, Honey. This is kind of hard to do. So now this is what I made earlier. This is what we’re actually going to make our stuff of.

So have you guys given any thought to what you’re going to make? No. Well actually I did. I am going to make a snowman.  Put that back. Put that back  because we gotta let it sit for an hour. So we’re going to set this aside. We are going to work with the staff we mixed up earlier. Are you going to put this in the fridge? No Actually what we are going to do is we’re going to put it out in the sun, and we’re going to let it dry in the sun. You can put it in the oven 180 degrees for an hour or two to dry it. Or you can just let it dry in the air. But it really needs heat to dry. I am going to give you each half, and you can make anything you want. What I have here is, I have a piece of foam core, but a piece of cardboard would work. I am going to put a piece of foil over the foam core. What are you going to make? So after we make this thing, we dry it. Do you think that we could paint it?

Yeah, that’s what my classes did. You did this in school, was it fun?  What did you make in school? We made Christmas ornaments. Oh Christmas ornaments. That’s a good thing. Hold on, can I make something? We could do this. You can make almost anything you wanted out of this. So when you use this clay because it’s got so much salt in it, when you get done, your hands feel really funny. They feel dry, so probably when you’re done, you should go wash your hands, get this salt off. I think I’m gonna just turn this over here. I just made it a big circle thing. Yeah, it does make your hands feel really funny. Doesn’t it? Really dry.

An old woman. You think it’s a cow? Looks like his grandpa’s lost all the teeth. Yeah, he does look kind of toothless. A hat is a good thing. After it’s dried, maybe the boys will come back and paint it, and we can have a painting session. Would that be fun? Yeah, We usually use the water soluble paint at Golden Road, because we want to be able to wash it off ourselves, and hopefully our clothes. Although the boys who were in aprons today. Because it’s water based doesn’t mean it washes away off our clothes. Here’s the head so far. Nose yeah. You can keep this clay in the refrigerator for a few days, then you need to probably use it within a couple days. Make something good and let it dry. And I think you could use cookie cutters. You could make something flat and make lots of marks in it. Well, look at this. Oh, this looks like somebody with three eyes. I’ll finish this one. We’ll get this all mixed up and then you can take this home. You can go out in the yard and do this when you get home. Would be good to do it on the picnic table out in the yard because it’s pretty messy for in the house.

Let this sit for a little while before you use it and you make something. Then you could bring it back once it’s dry, and then we could paint it when we paint this. That would be good. No, I think we’ll use poster paint or acrylic paint, either one. We have both here. You also have Golden Road paint. Well, we’re on the Golden Road. You know why our studio’s called Golden Road Studio? Because it’s on Golden Road. Very good, yeah. I think that is a good-looking snowman. It is really good. My gosh, I forgot Artey’s bowtie. Artey, sorry. You will not have a bowtie. Or maybe there’ll be enough clay left when Wes is done with his arms. Good, very good. We want to get lots of pictures of that amazing snowman. OK, we’re gonna take him outside and let him cook. Thanks for joining us at golden road art. We had a good time today and hopefully we’re going to have a lot more. So come and visit us again and we’ll be doing more projects for you to do. Sometimes stuff in your kitchen and sometimes not.

Northwest artists are passionate about art and Golden Road Arts extends their passion through education. In association with working artists, we are on an arts mission, supporting students, parents and teachers with online live and recorded examples. Introducing children to art. Using simple interactive segments that dovetail with standardized state lesson plans, our programs are easy, fun, and reinforce valuable concepts about color, shape, lines, perspective, texture, and assembly. And use a variety of art materials, tools and media. Lessons are short and fun and use school friendly tools. We inspire students to learn art because there’s a need for each child to create. The Golden Road Arts nonprofit and Northwest artists deliver accessible art projects for a range of ages. Golden Road Arts encourages and supports the arts and arts education now and for the future.

High-Quality Art Lessons From Golden Road Arts

Art is crucial in helping develop a child’s creativity, literacy and self-esteem. At Golden Road Arts, we have created many accessible art tutorials using simple household items. To get started, watch our free art lessons. You can also support us by making a donation.

Artey the Art Bear holding a news for you sign about online art lessons news
Free Summer Art Events for Children

Join Golden Road Arts this summer for free in-person art events and book readings at Hillsboro parks.

Free Art Lessons

Delivered to Your Inbox

Every Child Deserves Access to Art Education

We deliver free art lessons to elementary and middle school children online and at in-person events through partnerships with school districts, libraries and community organizations.

Free Art Lessons

Whether you are a parent, teacher or student our art lessons are free.

Shop Our Art Gallery

The art featured in our online gallery is available for browsing and purchase.

Support free online art lessons for kids

Support Art for Kids

By spreading the word, making a donation or purchasing art you can help us.