Batik Techniques: Salting Technique

With its highly unpredictable yet remarkable outcome, salt has become a highly utilized tool among artists to create texture in their works. No one knows just how the bursts of colour will affect the work done, thereby lending to the excitement in waiting for the finished piece of art.

There are four factors that will influence the outcome:

  • The dampness of the cloth.
  • The amount of salt used on an area.
  • The size of salt crystals used.
  • The colour of the paint or dye used.

Timing is of absolute importance when performing this technique. If the salt is sprinkled on too early, it creates a mess (although some enjoy that effect) and if it is sprinkled on too late, the salt will not do its magic. Within 30 seconds, the artist will have to put the brush away and sprinkle the salt. Patience is a virtue here! It takes about 15 seconds for the salt to ‘push’ away the colour. The salt is normally sprinkled in light to moderate amounts. Heavy amounts do not give a pronounced effect.

Moreover, the sizes of salt crystals chosen play a part in determining the effect. Large salt crystals give a big roundish effect and vice-versa. Fine table salt is usually not used as it does not show up much on paintings. Jacquard, a brand that produces art supplies, also manufacture their own Jacquard Silk Salt that some artists prefer to use. Besides that, this technique works best with darker colours because it does not give much detail with light ones.


 A finished salted painting. Note that the texture is more noticeable on the darker blue.

How is this technique done?


1. The cloth is stretched over a frame. In this picture an embroidery hoop is used.

2. An outliner pen that functions as a dye resist is used to trace the outline.
















3. Paint it! If white is wanted in a certain area, just leave it blank

4. The effect of salt. It should be taken into account that if the area has been brushed free of salt, the salt will still react if another layer of paint is used.
















Sample  from our gallery that uses this technique.



                                                                                                 “Islamic Verses” by Acholik






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