Kids love science experiments with baking soda and vinegar. We experimented and found that it also makes beautiful art. We added rubbing alcohol to the mix and discovered it made beautiful designs when held up to the light.
*This post contains affiliate links. For more information, read our full disclosure here:
Fizzy Drip Painting-Art Meets Science
You will Need:
- Food coloring in several colors
- Baking soda
- White Vinegar
- Bowls, one per paint color
- Spoons (one per paint) or eyedroppers
- Thick plastic sheeting or plastic bag to protect work surface
- Thick white paper, such as jumbo watercolor paper
- Rubbing alcohol (optional)
Put some baking soda into a bowl and add enough water to make a thick, but not lumpy, paint. Have each child paint the white paper with the baking soda paint. They can go in straight horizontal lines across, wavy lines, vertical lines or any other design as long as they cover the whole sheet with the mixture. This paint dries quickly. Allow it to dry before going to the next step.
While the baking soda paint is drying, add about one half a cup of white vinegar to each bowl for the colored paints. You can add more or less depending on the number of children doing the project. Add several drops of food coloring to each bowl to make vibrant colors. Show children how to mix colors to make a new color in one of the bowls, such as yellow and red.
Once the baking soda paint is dry, have the child or a helper hold up the paper horizontally. Then, have the artist add drips of paint to the paper using the spoons or eyedroppers. Have them listen to the chemical reaction of the baking soda and vinegar as it makes a fizzing sound as it releases carbon dioxide gas. Then, have the child or helper tilt the paper vertically and they can add more paint. As an experiment, you could have one bowl with food coloring and water and have the children note the differences when that paint is dripped onto the paper. Not only does it fail to produce the chemical reaction, but the effect on the art is also different.
Once the art has dried (assuming this is not a piece the child plans to keep and display), have the child drip a little rubbing alcohol onto their art. Then, hold the art piece up to the light and observe. The paper becomes translucent. Try the same thing with plain water. Hold it up to the light and notice that it does not have the same effect. For fun, have the children say what the designs look like. Like clouds, each one is different.
We are excited to take part in the 28 Days of STEM and STEAM Activities for Kids by Left Brain Craft Brain. You will find many great ideas to try with your children or students there throughout the month.