We’ve got another project for you that’s out of this world! 

Have you ever stared at a pitch black, clear sky and seen the Milky Way? How about watching the sun or moon rise or set? Or perhaps you’ve seen Venus shining around dusk or dawn. For me, seeing other bodies in our galaxy is a humbling and reaffirming experience. How does it make you feel? 

Today we’re creating our own beautiful nebula using watercolors and salt. Feel free to look up pictures of real nebulas for some inspiration before you begin!

What You’ll Need:
Watercolors
Watercolor paper
Paintbrush
Cup or two of water
Masking or painter’s tape
Table salt
Paper towel or cloth for brush
White gouache or acrylic (optional)
Hard-bristled toothbrush (optional)

Step 1:
Use masking tape or painter’s tape to secure your watercolor paper to your work surface. This will not only create a clean border, but will also ensure that your paper stays flat when it dries.

Step 2:
Mix your colors. In addition to making sure your workspace is set up with water, paper towel, etc., be sure to prepare the colors that you intend to use before you begin. Thoroughly mix a bit of each color with water. You will have to work quickly as you don’t want your surface to dry before you finish.

Note: From Steps 3 to 5, you will want to move quickly, so be sure to read instructions before beginning.

Step 3:
Use your brush and clean water to add a thin layer of water to your entire paper. You are looking for a nice sheen over the entire space, making sure you remove excess water that may be forming puddles.

Step 4:
Add or “drop” color onto the entire space, letting colors mix and spread as you wish. 

Step 5:
Before the painting dries, sprinkle some salt over it. Let dry completely before moving on. You will see the effect of the salt on the watercolor. (Note: different paintings were used to show different steps.) 

Step 6:
Scrap salt off. If you like, following the same steps as before, add more layers to your painting to add depth. 

Step 7:
Once you are satisfied with your result, you may like to use white gouache or acrylic to add stars or other objects in the sky. (A hard-bristled toothbrush can be helpful here! Use your thumb to spray dots across your sky. Make sure to practice on another surface first if this is your first time.) 

Step 8:
Another optional touch is to add the silhouette of a landscape or other objects using a dark color in the foreground. Add whatever details you’d like!