Science Experiment: Separate The Dyes in a Marker
What do you do when you’re stuck inside the house with two kids, one mom and three sinus colds during the most bitterly cold January ever? Science, of course! We stumbled upon this experiment, which was simple enough that we had everything needed (paper towel, markers, bowl and water) in the house already — and challenging enough to keep us entertained for a good hour.
PURPOSE: SEPARATE MARKER DYES — AND LEARN ABOUT COLOUR
Your kids likely know that red and yellow make orange, but this experiment can show them how just three primary colours make up the rainbow of colour in their marker collection.
Cut paper towels into strips (tiara and superhero cape not required).
Draw a thick, jagged line about two inches from the bottom of the paper towel strip. Or a line likes this works too:
Dip the bottom of the paper towel strip (the part that’s not coloured) in water — and watch as the moisture climbs up the strip, and passes the coloured part of the paper towel.
Observe! In our experiment, pink didn’t work at all (unsure why) but the dyes in our green marker separated in to a satisfying blue and yellow. Colour on the right is brown. Black also produces a variety of colours.
You and your little ones will need some patience as the moisture climbs up the paper towel and the colours separate. Try taping up the paper towel strips, or prop them up on something like a tissue box so that little ones’ hands don’t get tired.
Note the outcomes from the black strips (second from the left + the three strips on the right) which produced nice blues. Permanent marker, which isn’t water soluble, didn’t work at all: it’s shown here on the strip which didn’t smudge.
There you have it. Super easy — and a little big magic. Put a little science in your day!