This is your friendly reminder that it’s time to VOTE! And because STEAM is my thing, I thought what better way to pop a voting reminder out there than to do a fun STEAM activity?!? This magic paper towel drawing activity is a budget-friendly, science experiment that gets it’s wow from art. Kids LOVE it!
Watch the Science Magic in Action
This project is one of those that you have to see to believe. It’s so cool! My daughter wanted to do it over and over with her own designs. Check out this quick video.
Paper Towel Drawing Supplies Needed
You only need a few supplies you probably have on hand in the kitchen right now.
- Permanent marker
- Washable markers
- Paper towels
- Tray or pan
How to Create Your Own Magic Paper Towel Drawing
- Plan out your design. What do you want to show & what do you want to magically appear?
- Cover your surface to protect it from the permanent marker (trust me…).
- Fold a paper towel in half. Draw the always showing part of the drawing with a permanent marker on the top half. Be sure to press hard so that some of the marker bleeds through to the underside half of the paper towel & you can see at least some of the edges of your drawing.
- Open up the folded paper towel & color where you want the color to show through.
- Pour a little water into the bottom of your tray.
- Hold the paper towel drawing flat over the water-filled tray & drop into the water. Then watch the color magically appear!
What’s Happening in this Magic Paper Towel Drawing Science?
This cool trick happens because of two cool science principles. The first is solubility. When you drop the drawing in the water, the permanent marker drawing stays intact because the ink won’t dissolve in the water. But the washable marker ink does dissolve, so the color moves from the paper towel into the water.
Next is absorption. We use paper towels because they absorb water from our hands, counters, & stuff. They also absorb the marker ink-filled water, too, causing the color to transfer to the top drawing.
This works because paper towels are made up of plant material that’s been ground up & pressed into paper. Inside are sugar molecules called cellulose which water is attracted to. You probably have also noticed that your paper towel isn’t smooth like writing paper. These gaps in the cellulose fibers help the paper towel hold even more water.
More Science Fun for Kids
Got some kiddos who love science? Check out my mega list of science experiments to find out what to do next. You’ll find 25+ Easy and Awesome Science Projects for Kids.
More STEAM Fun for Kids
Looking for some more STEAM inspiration that you can use right now? Instant gratification style? Check out STEAM Explorers!! The coolest creative experience for kids is here! It's a digital book of the month club filled with tons of fun stuff for the kids to do and learn. All engineer, teacher, and mom-approved. And most definitely KID APPROVED!
- A monthly digital magazine with cool themes that are fun to read
- Hands-on, exciting projects the kids will love.
- Science, tech, engineering, art, and math learning YOU’LL love.
- Delicious recipes the kids can make.
- Fun printables and games
Get ready to have fun with hands-on STEAM that’s a feast for all your senses! The kids will love trying food that tickles their taste buds, making art with texture, fooling their eyes with optical illusions, sewing soft stuffies that glow, and so much more!
We’ve split the issue into four weekly themes:
- WEEK 1: SEE STEAM
- WEEK 2: SMELL STEAM
- WEEK 3: FEEL STEAM
- WEEK 4: HEAR STEAM
- PLUS... TASTE STEAM ALL MONTH LONG!