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Ink Experiment

Posted on April 6, 2015 in Projects & Articles


Fun with Inks, Dyes and Color

This experiment is easy and shows how a rainbow of color is hidden in black.
It makes a colorful and artsy science fair exhibit.
My daughter did this one for her 3rd grade science fair and had lots of fun with it.

What you need:

  • black felt tip marker (washable)
  • Plastic plate or shallow dish
  • H2O
  • white coffee filters

What you do:

  • Place a dot of black ink in the center of a coffee filter.
  • Put a small amount of H2O (water) on the plate.
  • Set the filter on the water for just an instant and then remove it.
  • Hang to dry.
  • Watch what happens.

What do you see?

What other things can you use besides coffee filters?

This ink project is open in that you can let the child have fun with colors and end up with a display that is a little like a work of art.

My daughter tried using many different things like the coffee filters, paper strips and string and different ink sources such as marker pens, food dye and paints.
Another fun thing my daughter did was to hang the ends of pieces of cotton string in food color and after a bit see how the color would wick upwards.

The kitchen got a little messy over a course of a week, but she had fun and ended up with some very colorful “tie-dye” looking coffee filters.

She wrote a small bit about how she attained the look. Then at her science fair event she displayed her assortment of coffee filters and the materials/pens, etc. that she’d used, using a cardboard backing with her filters taped to it…

Between the filters on this cardboard she taped her written explanation and labels. The cardboard backdrop was folded so that it would sit up on the table. In front she placed the pens and food dyes used in her “experiment”. During the event she took time standing near her exhibit to explain to passersby a little about her display. This part of the whole experience was very valuable to her, I believe. She was not required to stay at this very long and she really wanted to zoom around and see the other classmates exhibits too! I felt this was a simple and fun display for her to do (3rd grade)…stress and pain free, so to speak. : ) If you look up the words below your child can begin to see how these scientific words tie in.

Words to look up:

  • osmosis
  • dye
  • capillary action
  • diffusion
  • pigment
  • chromatography