Savory Salt Art Sparks Creativity for Elementary Students

A fun experiment with textures and designs created some savory results for third-grade students at Matthew Paterson Elementary School. Under the instruction of Art Teacher Alex Lombardo, the students used simple materials to make creative and eye-catching salt art.

The instructions were simple. The students first created a design on paper using glue and then added common household salt on top of the various glue lines. The dried glue lines on each paper supplied perfect examples of abstract art for a classroom discussion.

Students painting

“With abstract art, you can go anywhere,” said Lombardo. “I love abstract art for that reason.”

“It’s almost like a shape that doesn’t have a name,” said student Jaxson Ortiz of the artwork. Ortiz was referencing organic shapes that the students learn about with Lombardo in second grade.

"There are different shapes, and sometimes you don’t even know it, but you can make a happy face or a heart,” said student Jailianna Murphy.

When reviewing examples of their classmates’ unpainted salt designs, our students’ imaginations ran wild and each saw something different on the paper: a bird, face, dragon, chicken, dog and even a new unheard-of creature – a fish dog.

In addition to the discussion on shapes there was one about the texture of the projects.

“Texture is when you can feel it and can be smooth, soft or rough,” said student Kyra Fagant. The salt paintings created by the students have a rough texture, like sandpaper.

“It’s bumpy, so it looks cool when you paint on it,” said another student.

With dried salt art in hand, it was time for our students to create some magic. The simple touch of a wet paintbrush with watercolor on it to a salt line began a colorful transformation. As the salt on the paper absorbed the watercolor from the brush, the colors quickly began spreading and traveling along the salt. A fun surprise came when two primary colors met and mixed, bringing secondary colors such as orange, green and purple into the project.

Just as the color quickly spread on the students' papers, the sounds of excitement and fascination spread throughout the room as our students witnessed the savory results of their salt art projects.