Stripy Salt

What you need:

Table salt

Food colouring

small bowls or cups for mixing


Glass bottle with a cork

Funnel or paper to roll into a funnel

Skewers or kebab sticks


Here’s how we made it!

Choose a glass bottle with a cork lid.

Pour salt into the glass bottle until full.  Decide how many colours you want in your layered sand design and get that number cups or bowls.  Pour the sand from the bottle into the cups.  Add an extra couple of tablespoons into one of the cups.  Place about 3 drops of different coloured food colouring into each salt  cup and mix thoroughly (you can add more if you want more intensity of colour). If the sand is quite wet from the dye, wait until it has dried out.


If you do not have a funnel; roll and tape a piece of paper into a cone shape with a small 1/2 – 1cm opening at the narrow end.

Put the funnel in the top of the bottle and carefully scoop small amounts of coloured sand into the glass bottle alternating with colours, amounts of sand and also tilting the bottle for a different effect.  It is so exciting as a pattern of colour and shapes begin to appear.

If you want to get fancy it is possible to poke a skewer down the inside of the glass to move the coloured salt layers and change the pattern making a slightly zig zag effect by pushing the colours down from their current position.  Do this when you have a few layers of colours and repeat as desired.  Don’t mix with the skewer too much otherwise the colours might look a bit muddled.  (If you are doing this activity with under 4’s maybe give this step a miss as they have a tendency to want to mix the skewer around!)


When you have finished filling the bottle with coloured layered salt push the cork  into the top of the bottle.  After putting the cork in we found that the sand slipped down and needed refilling a couple of times to get the sand nice and tight.


This activity requires no artistic ability for a very pleasing result!  I love making things with kids where they can make design decisions and encourage their “I can do it” attitude!  You could supply some pre-mixed coloured sand but I prefer to let the children choose the colours they want, the intensity of the colours, and gain a sense of “I made this from scratch” using Table Salt and food colouring.  Making these decisions really adds to the pleasure of creating! Even constructing the funnel out of paper is a challenging concept for some children but quite achievable once they are shown how and have a go.  My thoughts are let them try and if they need help you can always provide it.

It can get a bit messy so if you can  do it outside or somewhere where it will be easy to sweep up the spilt salt.

This is a great little youtube clip on how to do it.

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