So today, Grae and I gathered up our materials… White glue, table salt, food colouring diluted with water, black card stock, and an old baking pan.
The first step was creating a design out of glue. After a quick demonstration, Grae went to town creating squiggles, zigzags, and loops.
Here’s her masterpiece.
Working quickly, Grae generously cover the entire design in salt.
When the glue had been fully covered, we carefully shook off the excess salt into a little bowl to save for later.
Next, Gracen used an old medicine dropper to blob drops of the food colouring/water mixture onto the salt. Although the results looked cool, I quickly realized two things. First, the glue/salt lines had to be much thicker in order absorb more of the colour mixture, and second, more of the paper had to be covered in glue/salt in order to up the chances of the dripped colour actually hitting it.
We tried again, this time with Grae and I creating the glue pattern together so I could add pressure to the bottle and ensure the glue lines were good and thick. The immediate finished product looked better, but once dry, it looked much like the first attempt… Faded, clumpy, and flaky.
Though this project. like most, is definitely about the process rather than the project, we tried one more time with another two changes put into play. First, we allowed the glue to dry completely before adding any colour to it, and second, we used the food colouring as is, straight out of the bottle.
Not only did the finished product remain bright and intact even once dry, but the process was way more fun too. Letting the glue dry first allowed the colour drops to move much further along the salt lines… And it was indeed magical!
If you want to try making a raised salt masterpiece with your own toddler, here’s what I’d recommend…
1. Select a thick piece of cardboard or card stock as your background (regular paper is too flimsy and the salt design will crumble when bent) and place it on a large baking pan.
2. Together, create thick glue designs that cover as much of the page as possible.
3. Have your toddler very generously sprinkle salt over the entire page. Shake the salt around to ensure good coverage, then empty the extra salt into a bowl for your next picture.
4. Set aside and let the glue dry fully.
5. Using food colouring straight from the bottle, have your toddler squeeze drops of colouring onto the salt lines. Watch closely as the colour runs along the salt.
6. Let dry again.