Color Mix-Up

Try a colorful density experiment with oil, water, and food coloring. You can create fluid interactions using liquids of various densities.

What you will need:

  • Several small, clear plastic bottles with caps (remove labels)
  • A bottle a vegetable oil and/or baby oil (mineral oil)
  • A bottle of 70% and/or 90% rubbing alcohol
  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • Optional: Flashlight, funnel, light corn syrup, dish soap

Here’s what to do:

Fill a clear, plastic bottle partway with either water or rubbing alcohol (a funnel may help), and add a dew drops of food coloring. Then, add some of one of the oils and cap the bottle.


Take it further:

  • What do you notice when you gently turn the bottle upside down, and then right side up again?
  • What happens to the liquids when you vigorously shake the bottle?
  • How long does it take for the liquids to mix or separate? A flashlight might help to observe bubble details.
  • As your’re concocting bottles with different combinations of liquids, do you notice differences between how water or rubbing alcohol interacts with either oil?
  • Does it matter if you use 70% or 90% rubbing alcohol?
  • Do the vegetable oil and baby oil behave similarly? Do some combinations yield smaller oil droplets after shaking?
  • What do these fluid mixtures remind you of?
  • What happens if you try light corn syrup, or dish soap?
Share this page:
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search