Salty Bookmarks

Salt crystals have a way of transforming watercolor paintings into the coolest, texture filled creations. The crystals absorb the water surrounding them and push the pigment away, leaving white, speckled patterns behind. Once these paintings are sliced up, they make lovely, unique looking bookmarks that children will love.


  • watercolour paper
  • watercolour paints
  • brushes
  • kosher salt
  • hole punch
  • scissors
  • yarn

I wouldn’t worry too much about the quality of paper and paint you are using for this project, but FYI…there are different types of watercolour paper to choose from. The texture of the surface can be smooth (hot press), medium (cold press) or rough.  Because hot press is smoother, it buckles more easily. On the other hand, because cold press has texture, it absorbs moisture much faster.

The thickness of the paper, which is measured by weight, usually comes in 90 lb, 140 lb, 260 lb and 300 lb. I used a pad of 140lb cold press paper which worked really well, and would recommend it for this project.


1. Once you’ve made your selection of both paper and paints, use a large brush to apply clean water to the surface of your paper. This will give you more time to apply your paint before drying. When applying paint, use a generous amount of water to pick up lots of pigment. And remember, darker colours versus pastels will give you better results. Once you have finished painting, gave the paper a minute or two to absorb the colours before applying salt, but don’t allow it to dry.

2. When adding the salt, remember it will absorb the water and chase away the surrounding pigment, leaving the area around it white. It should therefore be sprinkled sparingly to specific areas, rather than everywhere. You’ll get the hang of it with a little experimentation. Kosher salt is a great choice because the crystals are slightly larger than table salt, but in a pinch, that will do as well. Allow the paint to dry completely before gently brushing off the salt, and admiring the amazing patterns and textures that have been created.

3. Cut the paper into strips to make bookmarks. Use a hole punch to make a hole near the top of each strip. Cut yarn and loop several pieces through the hole. Trim to an even length.


Filed under bookmarks, painting

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