Spring Chromatography

Introduction:  In this fun experiment for kids we’ll be exploring chromatography (the separation of mixtures). We’ll use coffee filters to separate the various pigments in markers to see how each color was created!

Materials needed:                                                

  • Non permanent markers


    Photo Credits: Buggy and Buddy Blog

  • White coffee filters
  • Pencil Cups for water
  • Black pipe cleaners

Part One:

  1. Begin with one coffee filter, take one marker and create thick circles around the center.
  2. Use pencil to label the colors so you know what colors work best at the end.
  3. Fold the coffee filter in half twice to make a cone shape.
  4. Get a small plastic Tupperware jar and gently place the tip of the cone into the water. (Don’t let the color touch the water only the uncolored tip of the filter!)

Photo Credits: Fun Science Blog


Part Two:

  1. Sit and watch as the colors flow throughout the coffee filter.
  2. Repeat as many times as you want to get the desired look.
  3. When the water has reached the edge of the coffee filter, take them out of the jars and water.
  4. Gently place them somewhere safe to dry over night.




Creating butterflies:                                                                                


Photo Credits: Buggy and Buddy Blog

  • Cut a black pipe cleaner in half
  • Take one dry colored filter and scrunch it in the middle
  • Tie and shape the pipe cleaner around the colored filter
  • Hang them up and enjoy!

Creating Flowers: 

  • Before starting the experiment cut a hole in the middle on the coffee filters
  • Continue with the original procedure
  • When the filters are dry fold them in half and then half again to shape the flowers
  • Cut and shape pipe cleaners to the size you want and enjoy your flowers!
flowers 2

Photo Credits: Red Ted Art Blog


Questions to ask:

  1. What is chromatography?
  2. What colors do you see?
  3. What one is your favorite?
  4. What colors worked better than others?
  5. Did anything surprise you during the experiment?


Hope you had lots of fun! Check out some of the sites below for more science fun!



Here are some other fun chromatography experiments to look at too!






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