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If you are looking for a fun craft, cool STEM lesson, an art activity to do at home, or a lesson on chromatography for kids, today’s science experiments with water are perfect.   We’re going to do the Paper Towel Experiment which almost seems like magic!   

A close up of a art on a paper towel

You can hide pictures or messages on paper towels and all you need is a little water to let the hidden messages appear.   It’s so much fun to watch as the words on your marker-napkin-drawing appears in the water.   

Science Experiments with Water

We’ve done several experiments with water in the past, such as making rain in a far and making rainbow crafts by watching colors run together.  We’ve experimented with simple light refraction by putting pencils into empty glasses, filling them with water, and watching to see how the light bends.   

Paper Towel Science Experiment

We’ve even experimented by watching how colors move with the walking water experiment.  We observe how the colors traveled up the paper towel or toilet paper and went into the next cup of coloring.  Out of all of these, this marker watercolor trick experiment is one of our favorites because it’s quick, easy & so much fun.   The varieties of what you can draw or write are endless. 

Paper Towel Experiment Materials: 

  • Water
  • Permanent Marker (black)
  • Colorful Markers (we used a washable rainbow marker set with all of the colors of the rainbow)
  • A cake pan or dish for the water

How to make a Magic Paper (towel art) 

  • Fold a sheet of paper towel in half (or you can use a napkin)
  • On only one side, draw a picture in black sharpie, but just draw the outline. 
  • Keeping the towel folded, flip it over & trace the picture of your towel drawing onto the back. 
  • Unfold the paper and color the back-side (the side that you did second) with a colored marker (we used washable)
  • Fold the paper back over – you will be hiding your colors. A close up of a art on a paper towel
  • Now with the non-colored side facing up, put the paper towel into water and watch as the rainbow experiment begins… colors begin to appear.  🙂 A close up of a piece of paper

The colors will now show through to the other side and soon, as the colors mix, it will make a beautiful picture. 

A close up of a drawing
 We noticed that as the water moved with the paper towel in it, the colors turned into a tie-dyed look.  It’s more of a rainbow science experiment than a water science experiment. 😉 

Examples of Paper Towel Art: 

  • Think of some rainbow ideas – an easy rainbow drawing is a perfect place to start.  You can use many colors to create water rainbows (use each color, like rainbow magic markers). This rainbow surprise will be as pretty as a rainbow dream.  
  • Draw a doll & let the colorful clothing come through for your own ‘Doll Transparent Fashions” 
  • Flowers – Tulips, a Pixie Rose, a Sunflower 
  • Paper Towel Animals – Lions, Dogs, Cats & more.Science Experiments with Water _ Paper Towel Hidden Messages - puppy dog

There are so many lovely crafts that you can create with this science experiment with water.       

Don’t forget to use those paper towel rolls by making paper towel roll art (dip the ends in paint & make fun designs) or by doing some of these fun Crafts with TP Rolls.   I also suggest checking out these butterflies made with coffee filters.    I also love making fluffy slime with the kids (while I’ve seen DIY slime fashions – we’ve only made this non-stick slime & it’s always a huge hit!) 
Fluffy Slime (no-stick slime)

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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