Bubbly Rainbows

My scientists and I did a fun new art project today. It was super simple and effective so I thought I would share it with you.

This is a list of the things that you will need:

  • Photo paper, (we had some little packs of 6×4 in the house already so just used these)
  • Alcohol based markers, (Sharpies will do)
  • Isopropyl rubbing alcohol 70%
  • Surgical Spirit
  • Pipette Droppers
  • Old clothes
You don’t need both these items if you don’t want. I had both on hand and was interested to see the difference that each one made

Take your piece of photo paper and turn it to the rough side. Colour random blocks of colour all over the paper using your alcohol based markers.

Now pour a little of your isopropyl rubbing alcohol or surgical spirits into an old bowl and take your pipette dropper. Simply sprinkle little droplets all over the coloured in paper and watch the reaction. Do different size drops for variation.

This is my favourite 12 year old doing a demonstration.

This is really a lesson in the concepts of solubility, color mixing, and the movement of molecules. The alcohol markers contain permanent ink, which will not wash away with water. Permanent ink is hydrophobic, meaning it is not soluble in water. However, the molecules of ink are soluble in a solvent called isopropyl rubbing alcohol. This solvent carries the different colors of ink with it as it spreads in a circular pattern.

Both my kids enjoyed this simple art/science project. We hope you do too.

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