Monday, October 17, 2016

Watercolors With Salt and Rubbing Alcohol

Liquid watercolors are a tried and true form of creativity in our house. Both kids love the intense colors and how smooth the paint glides across the paper. They also prefer using actual watercolor paper or coffee filters (and I know this because they aren't shy about telling me ;) "because the paint seeps in and looks better." But today we used regular white drawing paper. I set up the activity and they got to work. Busy began painting swirls and twirls and the Beans began painting lines and mazes. As they kept painting, I put out a small bowl of rubbing alcohol, another small bowl of salt and two droppers. When they asked what to do, my answer was "whatever you feel like doing."

Busy immediately grabbed a pinch of salt and sprinkled it on the paint. Beansie, however, went straight for the dropper and alcohol. After what she felt like was the proper amount of salt had been sprinkled on the painting, she got a new piece of paper and used the dropper to suck up and dispense the liquid paint on the paper. I asked why she put the salted paper aside to which she replied, "whenever we use salt, it creates some kind of reaction. I'm not seeing one now, so I'll set it aside and wait..." (smarty pants). 
Beans used the dropper of alcohol to explore what would happen if it came into contact with the paint. He immediately noticed that the alcohol seemed to "push the paint to new places on the paper."

He seemed particularly amazed when he used the alcohol first then squirted the paint! 

After she squirted the paint on the paper, Busy sprinkled salt on the paper. She then began squirting alcohol on the salty paint for a bit of a liquid mess. 

And like I said before, we just can't use liquid watercolors without breaking out the coffee filters. They absorb the paint so well and create really cool effects. 

What happened during the project was awesome, but what all that exploring and sprinkling and squirting resulted in, was quite beautiful! And I'm not one for "result" art (we tend to focus on the process) but this result was pretty awesome! We talked about the reaction the salt had with the alcohol and paint and why we thought it looked "crystalized." 

What You Need:
  • liquid watercolors - this brand is our favorite and these colors are a great place to start
  • droppers
  • paper
  • paintbrushes
  • paint palettes for the paint - you can also use small bowls 
  • small bowls
  • salt
  • rubbing alcohol

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