Salt Watercolor Painting Project • Paint Outside the Box

Brush up on your art skills with this salt & watercolor painting project

Think (or paint) outside the box wiht this unique painting technique! One-part experiment, one-part art experience, this salt & watercolor painting project will give you a wall-worthy finished project, while you learn some STEM skills along the way. 

Materials you will need:

  • Paper (Watercolor paper works best, but cardstock or sketchbook paper can also work)
  • Paintbrush
  • Watercolor paints
  • Salt
  • Water to rinse your painbrush
Materials needed to complete Orlando Science Center's salt and watercolor painting project

Directions:

Step 1

Set up your workspace and start painting! Keep in mind, your painting will change when you add the salt, so don’t worry too much about the details!

Begin your saltwater painting project by beginning to paint

Step 2

While your painting is still wet to the touch, sprinkle it with salt. Watch closely as the salt absorbs the water on your paper, and some of the color along with it! 

Observes salt on your watercolor painting project

Step 3 

When you’re finished, let your salt and watercolor painting project is completely dry, and gently rub the salt off the paper.

The result of salt and watercolor painting project

Expand on the Activity:

  • Try different kinds of salt! Table salt, sea salt, and rock salt are all great to try. How does the size of the salt grain impact what you see happen on your painting?

  • The amount of water on your paper will have a big impact on how it looks when you add the salt. Experiment with adding the salt at different points as your painting dries to see which effect is your favorite.

  • For another colorful activity with water, try this colorful coffee filter experiment!

 

Be sure to share your salt watercolor painting project with us by submitting a photo or video to our Science Showcase here or tag Orlando Science Center and use #OSCatHome on social media! You might be featured on our channels. 

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In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!

How to Make Marbleized Paper to Create Custom Cards and Artwork

Create a stunning masterpiece when you follow these step-by-step instruction for how to make marbleized paper – a sensory STEAM project for kids and adults alike!


It’s always fun to use materials in new ways, and this is likely one way you’ve never used shaving cream before! Use our directions for how make marbleized paper and follow along with the questions included to help you make observations as you create! Not only will you have a wall-worthy finished project, you'll also learn some neat STEM skills along the way. 

Materials:

  • Shaving cream 
  • Paper (start with a heavier weight paper, like cardstock or construction paper) 
  • Food coloring* or washable paint such as liquid watercolor or tempera paint
  • Popsicle sticks 
    (If you don’t have popsicle sticks, read the directions
    carefulland substitute in a different tool. Tooth picks are great for creating the marble effect and a ruler or spatula work well to remove the shaving cream from your paper at the end!)

 

*Warning: Food coloring can stain! If you're worried about mess, substitute washable paint. Either way, mess-friendly play clothes are recommended for this activity!

Material for how to make marbleized paper

Directions:

STEP 1
  • Spray some shaving cream onto protected work surface.
STEP 2 
  • Spread the shaving cream out so it’s about ½ an inch thick.  

    How does the shaving cream feel? Is it a liquid or a solid? Do your best to describe it. 
Spread shaving cream onto protected work surface
STEP 3
  • Add a few drops of food coloring on top of the shaving cream. Make sure you leave some space between each drop. 

    What do you observe as you drip the food coloring onto the shaving cream? Does it mix in? Does it sit on top? Sink to the bottom? Spread out flat? What do you see happening? 
Add dye to shaving cream make marbleized paper
STEP 4
  • Use a popsicle stick to drag the food coloring around on the top of the shaving cream, creating a marbled effect. 

    Do the colors mix with the shaving cream? Do they stay separate? Do they mix with each other? 
Swirl shaving cream colors together to make marbleized effect
STEP 5
  • When you’re happy with the marble you’ve created, place your paper on top of the shaving cream and food coloring and gently press down. Depending on how thick your paper is, you may see the marble start to show through the other side. Let it sit for about 5-10 seconds.  
STEP 6
  • Carefully remove your paper and place it shaving cream side up on a protected work surface. 
Place paper on shaving cream to create marbleized paper effect
STEP 7
  • Use a popsicle stick to very gently scrape the shaving cream off your paper. This will likely take a few passes and it may help to remove the shaving cream from your popsicle stick between each pass.

    The food coloring has soaked into your paper, leaving behind a marbled pattern! How is the design on your paper similar to the design you saw on your shaving cream? How is it different? 

STEP 8
  • Let your paper dry for a few minutes. Once dry, use a tissue or paper towel to brush off any leftover little bits of shaving cream.
Swirl shaving cream colors together to create marbleization

Display your marbleized paper with pride, or add it to a larger project! Be sure to share your mess-terpieces with us by submitting them to our Science Showcase here or tag Orlando Science Center and use #OSCatHome on social media! You might be featured on our channels. 

 

NOTE: It’s best to let the paper dry completely before cutting it or writing on it.

Expand on the Activity!

  • Try this again and try using more or less food coloring. How do your results change? 
  • Test out different kinds of paper. What happens when you try this with printer paper, newspaper, tissue paper, cardboard, or colored construction paper? What kind of paper works best? 
  • Experiment with making different shapes and patterns with the food coloring in the foam. How many different patterns can you make? 

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In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!

Kids Homemade Stamps DIY — Recycled Custom Creations

A repurposed project that teaches STEM skills to kids. Homemade stamps really make a mark!  

Repurposing found objects, using materials in creative ways, making a plan, and problem solving are all key engineering skills that you can practice while doing this kids homemade stamps activity! Follow along for tips, tricks, and suggestions to help you make custom DIY recycled stamps at home.

Once you've finished creating your tools with your kids, homemade stamps can be used to make your own cards, wrapping paper, or artwork so this recycled project can be used again and again!

  

Materials:

It’s time to raid your recycling bin! This is a great opportunity to stretch your creative muscles and use what you have available to you. The materials listed here are suggestions and you can absolutely make substitutions based on what you have on hand. 

 

  • A base for your stamps
    This needs to be something sturdy that you can attach materials of different shapes and textures to. We used cardboard, but you could also use something like scrap wood from another project or the lid from a pickle jar. 
  • Textures for your stamps
    These could be just about anything! Our examples feature popsicle sticks, string, bubble wrap, tin foil, pipe cleaners, a design made out of hot glue, and a mesh produce bag. As long as your materials can be glued to your base and lay relatively flat, they should work. 
  • A handle
    We used more cardboard for this, but you could also use a pipe cleaner, bottle cap, or 
    wine cork. 
  • Adhesive
    We used a glue gun, but if you’re willing to wait other kinds of glue can also work. Check the directions on your adhesive of choice for best results. 
  • Paint
    Several different kinds of paint will work well for this project. 
    Make sure to pick a paint that works well for whatever you’re planning to decorate with your stamps. If you have an ink pad, that’s also a good option (just remember to check if it’s washable as many are not!). 
  • Paintbrushes or sponges
    Select 
    whatever you think will be easiest to use to apply your paint. You can always switch it up part way through if you’d like to try something new! 
  • Something to stamp
    Stamps are often used on paper, but with fabric paint you could also decorate a canvas bag or T-shirt
    . We also recommend decorating paper bags, cardstock, or butcher paper so you can later turn your creation into a card or gift wrap! 

Directions:

  • Glue your textures of choice to whatever you’ve chosen to be the base of your stamp.
  • Adjust your texture materials as needed so they lay flat on the base of your stamp.  
Stamp created by wrapping yarn around cardboard
  • Glue your handle onto your stamp.
    NOTE: This should go on the side opposite your texture.
     
Cardboard attached to stamp to create a handle
  • When your adhesive is dry, use a sponge or a paint brush to apply your paint. Depending on how you’ve constructed your stamp, it may be easier to spread a thin layer of paint onto a paper plate and stamp directly into the paint. 

Paint front of bubble wrap stamp to begin printing project
  • Apply your stamp to whatever you’ve chosen to decorate! It’s important to put even pressure across the whole stamp as you press it down.

    If you remo
    ve your stamp and find that part of your pattern or texture hasn’t transferred to your project, that’s a good sign that the missing part of your stamp didn’t get enough pressure. 

Three stamps alongside piece of paper that they have been printed on
  • When you’re finished stamping, allow your creation to dry completely. 
  • Share your creation with us! We’d love to see what you made! Submit your photos to our Science Showcase or tag Orlando Science Center and use hashtag #OSCatHome on social media!

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

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Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!