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Looking for a beautiful Christmas craft that doubles as a STEAM activity? If so, his watercolor and salt painted Christmas tree craft is just what you are searching for!
STEAM is an acronym for Science / Technology / Engineering / Art / Math, and it is all the rage in educational circles nowadays as we try to prepare children for 21st century careers. This activity qualifies as a STEAM activity because it combines art and science (and in doing so provides a really cool effect!).
Note: For more Christmas activities your kids will love, see my Christmas Activities for Kids page.
To make these watercolor and salt painted Christmas cards, gather the following materials:
- Green watercolor paint (we use liquid watercolors)
- Paint brush
- Watercolor paper
- Decorative elements for your tree, such as puffy paint, adhesive jewels, pom poms, etc.
Begin by using your paints to color your watercolor paper green.
While the paint is still wet, grab your salt.
Sprinkle salt all over the paper, then let it dry. Don’t overdo the salt by making clumps. Just a healthy sprinkle of salt will do.
Once the watercolors have dried, shake and rub the salt off. A beautiful textured look will be left behind, with spots where the salt dried on the paper.
Cut the painted paper into the shape of a tree and glue it on the front of a folded piece of cardstock. Add decorative elements to the tree – and a note inside – and you are done!
Won’t this be a special card for someone to receive this year?
What is the science behind it?
Salt absorbs water is due to the fact that it is an ionic compound that strongly attracts the highly polar water molecules.
However, while salt absorbs water, it doesn’t absorb the paint pigments to the same degree. So when salt is sprinkled onto the paper, it soaks in the water and leaves a concentrated pigment behind. This creates an uneven texture in the paint that provides a beautiful look for certain projects where more texture is desirable.
More Christmas resources
More Christmas crafts from Gift of Curiosity:
- Q-tip painted Christmas tree
- Paper plate reindeer craft
- Christmas tree ribbon craft
- Cinnamon Christmas ornaments
- DIY Christmas snow globes
- Sand-filled Christmas ornaments
- Fine motor Christmas craft
- Gingerbread man craft