Array Paper Towel Chromatography Experiment | Montessori From The Heart
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Paper Towel Chromatography Experiment


Paper towel chromatography kids science STEM experiment for preschoolers and kindergarteners promotes fine motor skills, concentration, and creativity.

Are you looking for the best kids science STEM experiment using items around the house? Paper towel chromatography experiment will promote concentration and fine motor control while your kiddo is happily creating some of the coolest process arts ever! Besides, the set up is super easy since you probably have everything handy for this kids craft! Most importantly, during this awesome color mixing experiment, your child can express the artistic side while creating various patterns on a paper towel. And, since your little artist can concentrate on the process rather than on the end result, this fun kids craft is just perfect for preschoolers and kindergarteners!


You’ll need for this fun Kids Science STEM Experiment:

  • paper towel (we are using Bounty since it is thick and has a nice design)
  • Sharpies (buy ultra-fine point here and regular here)
  • water markers – we are using double-ended watercolor brush markers which are amazing! They have a thin and a thick point, and we have been using them for numerous crafts and art projects. Also, we used washable Crayola markers. (You can also try regular highlighters.)
  • droppers (these have a removable silicone bulb to prevent mold accumulation)
  • water

HOW TO conduct this Paper Towel Chromatography Experiment:

First, to conduct this fun kids science STEM experiment, offer your child to color dots on a paper towel with Sharpies. Since this type of marker is more permanent and less water-soluble, colors would not dilute – ‘spread” much. So use Sharpies sparingly, just as an accent. Next, offer your child to follow the lines on the paper towel with watercolor markers or highlighters. Because water markers are more water-soluble, your child can use them generously!

Lastly, when your child colored the entire paper towel, offer a dropper to squirt water over it. Make sure not to squirt too much to avoid drenching the paper towel.


Did you notice that where children used Sharpies, the colors did not “bleed” or mix as much?


Please, always supervise your children while they are learning through play.

What your child is observing during this fun experiment is that the water travels through paper diluting and mixing colors. Have you heard of walking water? Well, chromatography is a method using mixed substances that depends on the speed at which they move. It consists of a stationary phase, a solid – here PAPER, and a mobile phase – colors traveling and spreading through the liquid – WATER! This process is similar to the Capillary Action science experiment, where I describe the process in details below.

See HERE Capillary Action Timelapse Kids Science Experiment – Rainbow Walking Water

Want more Kids Science STEM Experiments?

See here a video-post Balloon Color-Mixing Craft. Moreover, see here a video-post Lava Lamp: Oil vs Water Density Immiscibility Experiment with Alka Seltzer.

Lastly, see HERE all our Science Experiments.

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  • Reply jwangutusi May 21, 2019 at 7:01 am

    Hi. I love your work. It is eye catching even to adults. Kindly i need back links from you.

    • Reply Anya June 2, 2019 at 2:20 pm

      Thank you, what kind of link would you need?


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