Salt, Glue and Watercolour Art – name recognition activity


A name recognition activity with salt, glue and watercolour art!

This was our first time doing salt, glue and watercolour art, and the hooligans and I had so much fun with the process!  This is a terrific art technique for kids to learn letter and name recognition while getting creative, but it can be used purely as an art project or simple science activity as well.

writing our names with salt, glue and watercolour art



Skill-building and learning:

This activity is jam-packed with teaching and learning opportunities!

  • Science: absorption
  • Art: colour recognition and colour blending
  • Fine motor: squeezing pipettes and droppers
  • Co-ordination: pouring salt, shaking tray
  • Concentration: applying colour to a specific area on the paper
  • Literacy: letter recognition and formation, name recognition

Easy set-up with common, house-hold materials:

If you’re looking for an activity that’s fun, engaging, and that covers a lot of educational ground, this one is great.  The supply list is really basic too, so you can pull it all together in just a few minutes using items you have around the house.

Supplies needed for salt, glue and watercolour art:

supplies for salt, glue and watercolour art

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Salt, glue and watercolour art – the process:

I started by printing each child’s name on a piece of white card stock.  Then I gathered the children around, and they identified their own names, and watched as I traced all of the letters with white glue.

Describe the formation of each letter while you’re tracing:  

Our glue bottles are really hard to squeeze so it took quite a while to trace the letters.  That was great because the kids were mesmerized by the tracing process, and I could really draw their attention to how each letter was formed.  As I traced, I would announce the letter, and also describe the way we form the letter when we’re printing it: “A – dowwwwn, dowwwwn and acroooooss”, or “N – dowwwwn, and uuuuup and ooooover”.  That looks silly when I write it out, but by drawing out my speech, and tracing the letters very slowly, we were able to give each letter a good amount of attention.

Once I’d traced their names, I turned the reigns over to the hooligans.  They started by placing their name card in a baking pan.  The pan contains any mess, and makes it easy to save any left-over salt for a future project.   

I slightly opened the tab on the salt (so the flow would be reduced), and the kids took turns covering their white glue entirely with salt.

pouring salt over white glue


Then they shook the tray back and forth a few times to make sure all of the glue was well coated.  Tip your tracing sideways and tap away any loose salt.

And now for the real fun – using liquid watercolours or food colouring:

I presented the hooligans with a handful of pipettes/medicine droppers, and an ice cube tray filled with coloured water.  Some sections had liquid watercolours in them, and in other sections, I’d mixed a drop or two of food colouring with a few drops of water.

dripping watercolours onto salt and white glue

They dripped the food colouring on to their salt tracings, and WOW!  Well, I’m not going to go into detail here, because the photos speak for themselves, AND, I want you to experience the same wow-factor with your own kids.   IMG_7820 2

You don’t have to do a name project on white paper like we did.  Let your imagination guide you!  Second time ’round we simply got creative on black card stock, and the results were equally thrilling!

salt glue and watercolour art  drawings on black card stock

 Looking for more easy and inexpensive art techniques to try with your kids?  Check out our:

Paper Towel Art

Styrofoam Mosaics

Crayon Resist Art

Stained Glass Art

Starry Night with Melted Crayons

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  1. Bridget says

    brilliant idea, going to try this next week with my mindees (need to think of a cute name for them…Groovy Gang!) thank you for what you do…and keep warm over there.

  2. Josephine says

    Hi Jackie!
    I just tried this out (I’m planning to use this to make a rainbow colored birthday sign for my girl) but my glue seems to spread out rather than stay nicely in shape like yours. And it gets worse after I drop the coloring on. Would you know why and how to solve this?

    I love your ideas, by the way!

    • happyhooligans says

      It sounds like it must be the consistency of your glue, Josephine. My glue stayed put when I drizzled it onto the paper, so if yours is running, it might be too thin. Perhaps a different brand would work? I should mention though that even if another glue worked, this isn’t a project that you can really display other than laying it flat. The salt crumbles and falls off. It’s more just a fun experiment/activity to try, but not a piece of art that’s really functional.

      • Heather says

        Hi! I just saw this, as you posted it today! You said that the salt crumbles… Do you think that it would stay put if you sprayed a few coats of Modge Podge sealer over it? Or something similar?

  3. says

    I love your project idea. Our little ones would love it as they are learning their letters and love art. Thank you for sharing on Artsy Play Wednesday. I always look forward to reading your posts. You have so many creative ideas.

  4. says

    I like that this project can be completed with items that anyone will have around the house At first I thought “Oh what a mess!” But you are one step ahead of me with the baking pan.

    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

  5. says

    Love, Love this!! I’m definitely going to do this with my girls next week! I know they are going to love it :) Thanks for sharing at the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop! You were featured as one of my favorites this week :0)

  6. Tara says

    My nursery children loved this but the watercolour kept rolling off and made an almighty do you get it so it just goes on the salt and absorbs in like the pic?

    • happyhooligans says

      I’m not really sure what to suggest, Tara. Any time we’ve done it the salt just absorbs the watercolours. Maybe the children are squeezing to much liquid for the salt to absorb? Just try a drop or two at a time?

  7. Phyllis says

    I love this idea for name recognition. I have 20 children in my class. Any way to suggest how to do this activity easily with a large class? Do the Letters need to be dry in order them to absorb the watercolors?

    • happyhooligans says

      The glue and salt doesn’t have to dry first, Phyllis. Go right ahead and add the watercolours after covering the glue with salt.

  8. Linda Miller says

    How do I unsubscribe ? I have no children in my home. Your ads are taking up all of my Facebook
    Thank you,
    Linda A Miller

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