Abstract : We study the transition of a granular packing from liquid to solid bonding in the course of drying. The particles are initially wetted by a liquid brine and the cohesion of the packing is ensured by capillary forces, but the crystallization of the solute transforms the liquid bonds into partially cemented bonds. This transition is evidenced experimentally by measuring the compressive strength of the samples at regular intervals of times. Our experimental data reveal three regimes: 1) Up to a critical degree of saturation, no solid bonds are formed and the cohesion remains practically constant; 2) The onset of cementation occurs at the surface and a front spreads towards the center of the sample with a nonlinear increase of the cohesion; 3) All bonds are partially cemented when the cementation front reaches the center of the sample, but the cohesion increases rapidly due to the consolidation of cemented bonds. We introduce a model based on a parametric cohesion law at the bonds and a bond crystallization parameter. This model predicts correctly the phase transition and the relation between microscopic and macroscopic cohesion.