The salt effect never ceases to amaze my students when we try it on one of my silk painting courses!
It's quite a simple technique but makes a fantastic effect and can be used in many ways. It's not always reproducible or easy to determine exactly how it will come out, which is part of its charm.
Salt you can use:
You can use any salt! I have tried the following:
- Official branded "effect salt". This is great, but is just salt!
- Table salt (chip salt). This is great for small areas and fine grained patterns
- Rock salt (bigger chunks). This is great for more dramatic patterns and larger areas
- Himalayan pink salt (huge). This can be used for a focal point, or can be grated for a more fine grained pattern
- Dishwasher salt (balls). I don't recommend this because they roll everywhere!
- Maldon sea salt crystals (flat squares). This is interesting to look at, but the price isn't really worth it as it doesn't do anything particularly special and I don't think it gives a very even effect.
You can also use salt solution, but I'll talk about that in another post!
Tips to get a good effect:
- To get a good reaction, make sure your salt is nice and dry. I have been known to pop my salt container on the radiator in winter!
- Don't use too much water, as the salt pulls lots of the dye particles out of the silk and deposits them under the grains so you can end up with a really wishywashy effect.
- Wait till your salt is fully dry before brushing off, or you can smudge the pattern.
- You can re-use your larger salt crystals on other projects, but be aware that some of the colour may remain and can stain future projects.
I find that salt gives more dramatic effects with ironfix paints than with steamfix dyes.
Projects you could try with salt:
- Seaside scenes
- Patterns on brickwork
- Fur or feather shading
- Flower centres
- Trees and landscapes to add texture
- Funky backgrounds
Have fun, and please do check out my silk painting courses!
Have you done silk painting and used salt? Post your pictures and comments here - I'd love to see them!