Magical Color Transfer
Have you ever wondered how plants are able to feed themselves from the ground upward? It’s called “capillary action”, which means the movement of water within a porous material, like a plant’s roots, or in our case, a paper towel! This fun science project is great for teaching kids about how plants feed, and it’s also ideal for discussing color combining.
Blue, red and yellow are primary colors, and when combined with each other, they make the secondary colors purple, green, orange. In this fun experiment, your kids will discover how two different colors will magically climb up completely separate paper towels and combine together to create a secondary color, all with no help from anything but capillary action.
Ready to get started?
You are going to need the following supplies:
3 clear plastic or glass cups
2 pieces of paper towel
Red and yellow food coloring
Begin by placing the cups next to each other in a line. Fill the first and third cup with water, leaving the center cup empty. Add several drops of yellow food coloring to the first cup.
Add red food coloring to the third cup, be sure to stir each one to distribute the color.
Twist each piece of paper towel to form a “wick” for your water to climb. Place one end of a twisted paper towel into the yellow water and the other end into the empty cup. Place the second twisted paper towel into the red water with the other end in the empty cup.
Immediately you will see the colored water being to climb the paper towel. This experiment takes a little time, so go have a snack and come back in about 15 minutes.
As you can see, after about 15 minutes the paper towel from our yellow water is completely saturated and is already beginning to drip into the cup. We found it very interesting that the yellow traveled faster than the red!
It’s been one hour since we started this experiment, and just look how far we’ve come! The center cup, which was empty when we started, now has half the amount of liquid as the left and right cups.
It took two full hours, but our middle cup now has the same amount of liquid as the left and right cups, all without us doing a thing.
Now that the cups have equal amounts of liquid, there’s nowhere left for the liquid in the paper towels to go. We could leave it indefinitely and a new science phenomenon would eventually take over, emptying the cups. Do you know what that is?
See if you can fill in the blanks!
E V A T I O N
Amanda Formaro is a well-known craft expert and has been writing and crafting on the Internet for over fifteen years. Find out more on her blog, Crafts by Amanda, where she shares tutorials with step-by-step photos for adults and kids alike.