Mother’s Day Science Activity: Chroma Paper Towel Flowers

Beautiful chroma paper towel flowers with watercolour effect.

It’s already Mother’s Day in some parts of the world. We wanted to do a science and art experiment that young kids can try, which can also double as gifts to their mommies. In this home science experiment for kids, we are exploring the concept of chromatography. Chromatography is the separation of a mixture by passing a solution through a medium. For this, we’ll be separating the colored ink in markers with water using a paper towel as the filter. You can also use this experiment to talk about the science of capilliary action.

We love the end result of this experiment. Once dry, the paper towels can be crafted into beautiful flowers for Mother’s Day. An alternative to paper towels would be coffee filters, which are actually easier to shape into flowers (we just didn’t have any so we used kitchen paper towels instead)

To get started, you will need:

  1. Fold your paper towel in half diagonally (end results should be a triangle). Fold the same way 3 times.

2. Use washable markers to create thick lines starting from the middle of the flower. Go all the way around the flower. Make sure you have some white space between each line. We did this with several colours, but limiting it to 3 colours was the best.

3. Twist the bottom part of your flower to make it thicker so it holds water better. Dip the bottom half the flower, with the water below your first marker line.

4. Wait around 8 to 10 minutes for the water to reach the tip of your flowers (all the colours should spread by then).

5. Pull out the flower and gently wring the bottom half that was in the water. Set it aside to dry.

6. Do several of these with different colours. Once all flowers are dry, put them back in the mason jar or in a vase.

7. We did a video below (8x speed) to show you what the chroma process looks like.

Happy Mother’s Day!


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