Magic Color Cups Experiment

This fun experiment is easy & inexpensive. It requires a short time lapse, so you might want to read a book (Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?), sing a song (Animal Actions), and make a craft (Rainbow Coffee Filter Flowers), between observations.


  • 7 Clear Cups
  • Water
  • Food Coloring
  • Paper towels

Set it up:

  1. Fill 4 cups with water. Put red food coloring in two, blue in one, and yellow in one.
  2. Put the cups in order: red water, empty cup, blue water, empty cup, yellow water, empty cup, red water.
  3. Fold the paper towel lengthwise several times  (you want them to be about an inch wide).
  4. Tear off a few inches of the paper towel so it will fit nicely in the two cups.
  5. Bend and place the paper towel strip with one end in a cup of colored water, and the other in an empty cup. Repeat for all cups. The picture below shows the colored water starting to climb the paper towels! 
  6. Make observations as time passes (it took about 30 minutes for our water to transfer), and do some of our other fun activities while you wait! The color is starting to transfer and combine in this picture. 

Check out the finished product! Pretty awesome! 

More Activities!

Author: Tawni

Tawni is a former special education teacher, now stay-at-home momma. She spends her days reading, cooking with lots of cheese, listening to professional choral music, and tickling her baby boy, Cy. She lives with her husband and son in Utah.

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