Science Magic Paper Towel Drawings – Election Edition

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!

Make these paper towel drawings magically appear with science! This project is a quick and easy STEAM project that's fun for election day or any day!
Make these paper towel drawings magically appear with science! This project is a quick and easy STEAM project that's fun for election day or any day!

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
  • Water

How to Create Your Own Magic Paper Towel Drawing

  1. Plan out your design. What do you want to show & what do you want to magically appear?
  2. Cover your surface to protect it from the permanent marker (trust me…).
  3. 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.
  1. Open up the folded paper towel & color where you want the color to show through. 
  1. Pour a little water into the bottom of your tray. 
  1. 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 new creative experience for kids is here! Think digital magazine meets online project portal in a safe, kid-friendly environment. (No more worrying about what might be hidden in that YouTube vid!) All engineer, teacher, and mom approved. And most definitely KID APPROVED!⁣

What’s included?⁣

  • A monthly digital magazine with cool themes that's 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⁣

And get ready to play this month with the brand new STEAM Explorers Ewww Issue! This month's projects, printables, and recipes will make you say ewww, but the kids will say best day ever! And it's perfect for a planned-for-you October.



We've included a whole range of activities from ways to avoid gross to really gross so there's something for everyone:

  • Explore the microscopic world with a Fungi, Bacteria, and Viruses, Oh My! lab experiment.
  • Take a journey through the body with a Digestive System Model.
  • Discover how your senses work with a Smell Test and Eyeball Magnets.
  • Build Papier Mâché Hands with art's most fun and most ewwwiest process and learn about hand anatomy.
  • Snack and learn from ewww-some Gelatin Worms and totally delicious Slime Cupcakes.
  • Plus the kids can create patterns with mushroomsbuild a don't touch that toolmake noise with slime, and more!

All packed up in an easy-to-do package, ready for kids ages 6-12 to have fun.


1 thought on “Science Magic Paper Towel Drawings – Election Edition”

  1. Pingback: STEAM Drawing Activities for Kids - Left Brain Craft Brain

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