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Penguin Art Project: Watercolor Salt Painting

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As winter's chill settles in, why not add a touch of Antarctic charm to your indoor activities with our Penguin Art Project: Watercolor Salt Painting? This art project is designed for kids, providing an engaging and educational exploration of art techniques.

Completed Penguin Art Project

I was inspired to make this after the success of my Abominable Snowman Watercolor Salt Painting. It seriously warms my heart that kids are out there using my tutorials and loving them! I took several of the same techniques from that project to create these adorable Penguins. Before we start the creativity process, let's dive into the icy waters of penguin knowledge! Here are 10 fun facts about these charming flightless birds.


Penguin Species Extravaganza: Did you know there are around 18 different species of penguins? From the towering Emperor Penguin to the petite Little Blue Penguin, each species has its own unique characteristics.

Dapper Dress Code: Penguins are nature's best-dressed birds! Their black and white plumage serves as excellent camouflage in the water, protecting them from predators below and helping them sneak up on their prey.

Penguin swimming in the ocean.

Flipper High-Five: Penguins have flippers instead of wings, but they still know how to give a high-five! These flippers help them swim gracefully through the water, reaching impressive speeds.

Waddle Wonderland: Penguins have a distinctive waddle when they walk, and it's not just for show. Their short legs are set far back on their bodies, making walking a bit of a comical adventure.

Family Matters: Penguins are fantastic parents! They often form tight-knit family groups, and both parents take turns caring for the eggs and chicks. It's a true family affair in the penguin world.

Several penguins standing around on the snow.

Stay-at-Home Dads: In the penguin realm, some species have stay-at-home dads. After the female lays the egg, the male takes charge of keeping it warm while the female goes hunting for food.

Slippery Sledding: Penguins are known for their toboggan-like slides across the ice. This fun activity isn't just for enjoyment; it helps them conserve energy and navigate the icy terrain efficiently.

Underwater Acrobats: Penguins are exceptional swimmers and can dive to incredible depths. The Emperor Penguin holds the record for the deepest penguin dive, reaching depths of over 1,800 feet!

Two penguins looking at each other.

Beak-to-Beak Communication: Penguins have a language of their own, and they communicate with each other using a variety of vocalizations, body movements, and even beak displays. It's a lively conversation in the penguin community.

Party Animals: Penguins love to party! During mating season, some penguin species engage in elaborate courtship rituals, including singing, dancing, and even offering stones as gifts to their potential mates.


From their stylish black and white attire to their heartwarming family dynamics, penguins are truly extraordinary creatures. It is now time to dive into the icy wonders of this penguin art project!


Completed Penguin Art Project

How To Make The Penguin Art Project: Watercolor Salt Painting


Materials Needed:

  • 9x12 Watercolor paper

  • Watercolor paints in various colors

  • Paintbrush

  • Salt (table salt)

  • Cup of water

  • Paper towels

  • Abominable Snowman Template

  • 8.5x11 White Cardstock Paper

  • Glue

Painting Wet On Wet.

Step 1: Paint 9x12 Watercolor Paper

When painting skies, aim for smooth color transitions and avoid harsh lines. To achieve this, try dampening the paper by painting it lightly with just water or using a water spray bottle. Then paint as normal with the watercolors. This technique helps the colors blend together easily.


Experiment with different shades to create a vibrant background. For the night sky I like using hues of pink, purple and blue.


Salt sprinkled onto the paper.

Step 2: Sprinkle Salt

While the paint is still wet, sprinkle just one pinch of salt onto the painting while it is still WET. Watch as the salt absorbs the watercolor, creating unique textures and patterns. Let the painting dry completely with the salt on it.

Examples of Salt Problems You May Occur.

This step can be tricky because there are several ways that it could it go wrong. Too much salt can be overpowering. Putting the salt on after it dries will do nothing. Last thing to watch out for is that paper needs to be damp but cannot have a puddle of watercolor on it. This will leave the salt making it look splotchy.


Why Does the Salt Absorb the Watercolor Paint?

Salt absorbs watercolor paint due to a process called osmosis. Osmosis is the movement of water molecules across a semi-permeable membrane from an area of lower concentration to an area of higher concentration. In the case of watercolor painting with salt, here's what happens:

  1. Wet Paint Surface: When you apply watercolor paint to paper, the paint contains water as its solvent. The paper fibers act as a semi-permeable membrane.

  2. Sprinkling Salt: When you sprinkle salt onto the wet paint, the salt crystals attract the water molecules in the paint. Salt is hygroscopic, meaning it has the ability to attract and hold water molecules.

  3. Osmosis: The water molecules in the wet paint move toward the salt crystals. As the concentration of water increases around the salt crystals, it creates a localized area of higher water concentration.

  4. Effects on Paint: As the water is drawn towards the salt crystals, it carries pigment particles along with it. This movement causes the pigment particles to cluster and repel each other, creating interesting textures and patterns in the paint.

The degree of absorption and the resulting patterns depend on factors such as the wetness of the paint, the type of salt used, and the specific paper being used. Different salts can produce different effects, and artists often use this technique to add texture and visual interest to their watercolor paintings.


Step 3: Brush Off Salt

Once the painting is dry, gently brush off the salt using a clean, dry brush or your hands. This reveals the textured effects left by the salt.


Example of how to paint the water.

Step 4: Paint The Water

The penguin is standing on an iceberg in the water. To paint the water, mix up some blue watercolor paint. Paint over the top of the watercolor salt paint on the bottom 1/3 of the page. The underpainting will still show through but will give it a water effect.


How to download the penguin template.

Step 5: Prepare the Penguin

Draw your own Penguin or you can print the one that I made for this art project. This download is available to all members for FREE! You heard me correctly, memberships are free to join for everyone who is 18 years an older! . Click on the link to signup and to find the penguin.



I recommend printing the Penguin Watercolor Salt Painting Template on 8.5x11 white cardstock paper. Color the template and then cut it out.


Step 6: Glue

Glue the penguin standing on the iceberg to the 9x12 watercolor painting. Make sure that the painting is completely dry before gluing it.

Completed Penguin Art Project

Final Touches: Assess your painting and add any additional details or touches to enhance the Penguin's features. You can also frame your artwork for display.


This Yeti Salt Watercolor Painting is a delightful way to experiment with watercolor techniques and create a mystical piece of art. Enjoy the process of blending colors, embracing the unpredictability of the salt, and bringing the legendary Yeti to life on paper. Let your creativity flow and have fun with this imaginative project!

Gather your supplies, and let the winter creativity flow!

Don't miss out on the excitement! Explore a range of projects, from Pirate Cootie Catchers to discovering the art of transforming toilet paper rolls into adorable Bumble Bees. We're here for all your creative endeavors!


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