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This is a super simple activity that serves as both an art project and a science activity. In creating some beautiful coffee filter art, children get to see a scientific phenomenon called chromatography in action!
Chromatography is the separation of a mixture (e.g., marker ink) by passing it in a solution (e.g., water) through a medium (e.g., coffee filter) in which the components of the mixture (e.g., the various colors that make up any given marker color) move at different rates.
Note: For more art activities, see my arts and crafts for kids page. For more science activities, see my science activities for kids page.
For both kids I prepared the following materials on a tray:
- Coffee filter
- Cup with water
- A plastic pipette
I invited the kids to draw on the coffee filters using the markers.
Then they used the plastic pipette to drip water on to their drawings.
They watched as the water made the color in the markers spread.
The kids actually put so much water on their coffee filters that their colors nearly completely disappeared! If your children want the colors to stay, it would be best to use just a bit of water rather than to completely soak the coffee filters as my kids did. 🙂
Here is a resource where you can learn more about chromatography.
Looking for more hands-on activities that incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM)? Then you’ll love STEAM Kids! This book features 52 hands-on activities are helpfully identified by category (science / technology / engineering / art / math) so you know exactly what skills your kids are developing.
Grab a copy of the e-book delivered as a PDF download (or this e-book for EU residents) and in print at Amazon.
More arts and crafts resources
Popular arts and crafts activities from Gift of Curiosity:
- Painting with strings
- Leaf collages
- Tape resist watercolor painting
- Crystallized snowflakes
- Seed medallions
- Trace the shapes art project
- Corn husk dolls
Note: For more kid-friendly craft projects, see my Arts and Crafts for Kids page and my Arts and Crafts Pinterest board.
Follow Katie @ Gift of Curiosity’s board Arts and crafts on Pinterest.
Ah yes, trying to get children to use “just a little water” .. I know how that one goes! 😀 So much fun though!
Coffee filters are so great for making things. Love what you did here!
This is great! Pinned it! Thanks for sharing at TGIF!
I’ve not tried anything like this actually. Thanks for sharing with Motivational Monday
Vanessa @ See Vanessa Craft
Fun! We love crafting with coffee filters 🙂
Ooh what a great idea! We shall try this one 🙂
Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the activity!
Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
Coffee filter art is one of my fave activities! I’m featuring this on this week’s Sunday Showcase – thanks for sharing with us.
Glad you enjoy and thanks so much for featuring our activity.
We enjoy coffee-filter art too! Thanks for sharing with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday! I featured you today!
Looks so fun! I think my 10 yr old AND 3 yr old would enjoy this (as long as neither of them look at the other one, touches the other one’s stuff, or dares to breathe)
try using a spray bottle too! they still will use too much water, but it’s a nice effect also!
Oh yes, I’ve since tried it with a spray bottle and it’s a nice effect indeed!