If you love the combo of science and art look no further than this simple craft sticks projectfor kids with an educational twist!
Do you all love the classic food-coloring-dyed-carnation-science-project as much as I do? No, that wasn’t a mouthful… I thought it would be fun twist on the classic science project to see how wood soaks up dye. After all wood is a natural material and in theory should soak up color in a similar fashion to a flower, right? Well, the answer is yes!
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Dip-Dyed Craft Sticks Project
- Jumbo Craft Sticks
- Liquid Watercolors in Red, Blue, and Yellow– Food coloring may be substituted
- Step One Pour roughly 2 tablespoons of each liquid watercolor into a jar. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of water to each jar. Use less water with yellow. If you are using food coloring add generous few squeezes of color along with 1-2 Tablespoons of water. Results may be slightly less vibrant than using liquid watercolors.
- Step Two Drop a few crafts sticks into each jar. They should begin to soak up the color within several minutes. Encourage your kids to let the sticks sit rather than stir up the color so that they can get a feel for observation side of the project.
- Step Three After a few hours the color should have soaked up the stick halfway. Invite your child back and ask them to remove the sticks, blot the wet end, turn the stick over, and drop it in another color.
- Step Four Come back in a few more hours and you will see a lovely third color has magically appeared! Of course you know it’s not magic, its color theory! It is pretty cool to see third color like purple or green show up in the middle of the stick! Orange was bit harder to get since yellow is harder to see on the sticks.
You’re done! Aren’t these lovely? The colors will mellow slightly when dry. Save them for your favorite craft stick projects or display tham as an art piece in an of themselves. Later this week we are going to make something decorative with them so stay tuned…..
The Science Behind It
Trees and other plants absorb water from the ground through the process of capillary action which is ability of a liquid to flow against gravity through a porous material. It occurs when the molecules of a liquid are attracted to the molecules of a solid and move along the surface of that solid. Materials made from trees, like our wood craft sticks, exhibit this same ability to pull water through them using capillary action. That’s why they are often used for products that need to absorb water like paper towels. The colored liquid you see absorbed up along the craft stick is actually a visual display of capillary action. For a more detail explanation of this process hop over here.
Mark Rothko I had a Rothko print hanging in my first apartment in New York City years ago. It was inspiring. His deceivingly simple exploration of color juxtaposition and blurred boundaries is not to be missed. Rothko was considered an abstract expressionist but apparently didn’t like such classifications of his work. It’s a dream of mine to visit the Rothko Chapel one day in Houston….have you been there?
I love it when a science project for kids can also be turned into art, or is it the other way around? Nevertheless I love when the two disciplines meet in a simple project like this one. Dip dyed craft sticks can be used in any number of craft stick projects for kids or are a great stand alone lesson in color theory for kids….Now go get creative!
We also turned them into this pretty wreath. Hop over here to see the complete instructions for making a Craft Stick Wreath.