Chromatography Mother’s Day Bouquet

mothers day

This simple yet cool activity combines a STEM experiment with a Mother’s Day craft!

What you’ll need:

  • White coffee filters
  • Water based markers
  • Jar
  • Short glass of water
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape
  • Small sticks or twigs

Step 1: Lay out a coffee filter and draw a thick circle around the centre of the filter (where the ripples and flat bottom meet)

Step 2: Fold the filter in half twice. It should form a cone shape. 

Step 3: In a short glass, add a little bit of water. Open up the cone and place it on top with the opening facing up. The peak of the cone should be just touching the water. Do not let the whole marker circle submerge. 

Step 4: Let it sit like this for about 20-30 minutes. In the meantime, take note of any changes you see.

Step 5: Repeat the process with different coloured markers. Get creative! Try adding two colours! Note: When the colours reach the edge of the coffee filter you can place them aside to dry.

Step 6: Once they are dried, trim off any white edges where the ink might have reached the edge of the filter. 

Step 7: Fold the filter in half twice again to shape a cone. Use scissors to round out the edges. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Try cutting each edge a little differently.

Step 8: Open up the filter to view your masterpiece! Next bunch up the middle of the filter to create a mini stem. Attach a twig to it with some tape.

Step 9: Once all of your “flowers” are assembled, arrange them into a jar or vase. What a pretty Mother’s Day gift!

The STEM Behind the Fun!

So how does this craft work? Well, the ink dissolves when the water meets it. The filter absorbs the water and carries it outwards. When it meets the ink it pulls the colour with it to make a pretty design.

Fun fact: Different coloured markers are made with different ink colours! You might see a colour on your filter that you didn’t add!



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