Thursday, June 4, 2015

Salted Backgrounds Tutorial

Happy Thursday Everyone!

Recently, I decided to do a little experimenting with a background technique I had never tried before.  That techninque is making fun, mottled backgrounds with salt!

I was going to try both epsom salts and table salt (sea salt version), but my epsom salts were already a pretty fine texture so I decided to just use that.  For my foundation, I used Strathmore Watercolor paper.

I decided to test a variety of color mediums to see how they reacted to the epsom salts.  Each time, my process was exactly the same -- I thoroughly sprayed the watercolor paper with plain water and then applied the color medium of choice.  Then I applied a sprinkling of the epsom salts and let the whole thing air dry naturally overnight.

The color mediums I used were Color Bloom Sprays, Dylusions Ink Sprays, Gelatos, Lindy's Stamp Gang Sprays, Stampin' Up Reinkers, Distress Paints, Distress Ink Pads, and finally (on camera on the video below), Distress Reinkers.  Here's a picture of all of my experiments drying.

Let's look at some close up photos of each of those individual experiments (click to enlarge).

Color Bloom Sprays

Distress Ink Pads direct to paper

Distress Paints

Dylusions Ink Sprays

Faber Castell Gelatos

Lindy's Stamp Gang Sprays

Stampin' Up reinkers
Of the above six color mediums I tried, I was the most pleased with the effect I got with the Stampin Up reinkers.  That was the exact mottled result that I expected.  However, I will say that the happy little surprise with each one was the shimmer that the epsom salts left behind.  After all, bling is a good thing, right??

For my on-camera experiment, I used Distress Ink reinkers.  All of my previous experiments were allowed to air dry.  As I worked on camera, I decided to try drying with my heat gun.  All the research I had done said NOT to use a heat gun because it would leave a cloudy residue.  So why not test that?  Well, below are the pictures of that.  The blue/green card is the one I did on camera and attempted to dry with my heat gun.  Because it was taking too long, I didn't finish on camera.  So after I finished filming, I briefly spritzed that card again with water and left it to dry.  Then I did another card with the Distress reinkers and did not apply any heated gun air to it at all.  The results were quite different.

When I removed the salt from the example on the left, there was very little mottling effect.  I was kind of disappointed, as I thought I would have the same pronounced effect I had with the SU reinkers.

Above is the example I had tried to dry with the heat gun.  Everywhere there were epsom salts, they kind of dissolved and remained soft and somewhat mushy on the paper.  You can see the detail of that in the above photo on the left side.  If I went to wipe this off, it simply smeared the overall effect and wasn't very pretty at all.  Moral of the story -- don't use your heat gun!

So sit back, relax, and watch the video!  Have some fun playing in your craft room today!

Thanks for looking at my blog. I appreciate all the wonderful comments everyone leaves. Happy Crafting!


  1. Nice demo and explanation Sheri.

  2. Sheri, you are a hoot! I loved your demo and I was so glad you opted to dry that last one to see what it did because the whole time you were talking about it, I was like "dry it, let's see what it will do!" LOL, LOL Loved all the samples you did and you vid! I have never tried this technique before, but always curious. Thanks for allowing us to go through the process with you! Blessings :)