I saw this wonderful idea for a sharpie fireworks t-shirts on a blog I read, just found out it was a link at Our Nifty Notebook (thanks Christy for sharing that on your blog). Now, I could have just made this into an art lesson and been done with it, but I remember seeing a couple of science lessons about Chromatography on Almost Unschoolers and All Things Beautiful, so I thought, here’s our science lesson for the week. Or at least the bloggable one. My oh so scientific explanation of what happens to food after it enters our body is probably not a great blog post. So our Sharpie Fireworks shirt became a small chemistry lesson.
(there are affiliate links in here)
Sharpies Fireworks shirt SUPPLIES:
t-shirt, sharpies, cardboard, rubbing alcohol, eye dropper
Making our Fireworks t-shirts
First after nearly grabbing the markers out of overly eagerly hands I explained how to draw these. Lots of dots, like we’re pointillists. Okay, I didn’t say that part, just thought it.
Then after they’d drawn their amazing pictures I had them guess what will happen when we drop the rubbing alcohol on it. They mostly got the idea, it would spread out. Then we theorized what would happen with smaller dots or what would happen with fewer drops of alcohol.
Now comes the rewarding part, watching the colors spread out. My kids were quite eager to apply lots and lots of the rubbing alcohol, I had to refill the bottle a couple of times. Their dots bloomed quite admirably, and it was declared a success. If not necessarily the patriotic shirts I was going for.
From left to right, Superman with a skeleton, Batman with a bat shirt, and Princess with flowers……….. But, we did learn a little about some fun science.
And there’s a truly awful shot of my shirt. Which looks much better in reality, but I wasn’t particularly trying for a great shot, just a picture.
Future Ticia 2020 says that is a truly terrible shot of my 4th of July shirt.
The science behind Sharpie chromatography
Chromatography is where the ink is broken down into its component colors. Traditionally this is done on paper with a water-based ink.
*** To see an example of that check out the Mr. Bear Mystery.****
In this case, Sharpies don’t break down with water, but rubbing alcohol will break down the inks causing the ink to spread out more.
You don’t get the same breakdown of colors as you do with traditional chromatography, but you do get the cool ink spread out effect that looks like fireworks.
For a bit more of a scientific explanation:
Oooh, neat! I bet the kids love wearing these shirts!
I love the shirts!
Our Homeschool Fun says
The shirts turned out great! We have been hoping to make these too! Happy 4th!
I love when kids get to design clothes…its cool to add some science learning in there too!
Susan @ learning ALL the time!! says
We're actually doing this very project this coming week, as part of the summer programming at my library! Karen from Science Matters (https://science-mattersblog.blogspot.com/) is presenting the workshop…in fact, if you follow the link to her blog, the top post right now is about this project 🙂
Your shirts turned out very nicely!
Raising a Happy Child says
This looks good! I have added this project to my summer bucket for the next year 🙂
I didn't realize I missed this many posts. Geesh – it has been a busy week.
We are doing tie dye this week and we did this for one of our projects. I hope to get my post written today or tomorrow.
Thank you for letting me know about your science linky!
I can’t believe I missed this one when it came out. Such a fun art craft!
It really was a blast. I did a variation on this with the 7th-grade girls and they had a blast coloring and blending the colors together with rubbing alcohol