With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I wanted to create something for my kids that showed my love for them. I also wanted to do something that did not cost a lot of money. Amazing how one simple science idea turned into this idea for Valentine’s Day.

So here are the materials you need:

  • Coffee filter
  • Visa Vis pens or any washable marker
  • Water

Using the colored pens, draw dots on the filter paper. As you can see in the picture below, I wrote Happy Valentine’s Day on the filter with a permanent marker (will explain in a minute).

The next steps involves adding water to the dots. I tried it several ways. First I put it on a can like you see in the picture below. So I wrote on the filter and then turned it upside down on the can. I dropped water on the filter paper around the edges where the filter paper came off of the can.

I also held the filter paper up like this and added the water to the dots:

Once you drop the water on the dots (drop about 5-6 drops), just stand back and watch! You will start to see the water being absorbed by the filter and as it moves, it takes the color with it! You may have to drop a couple of more drops of water, but keep working on it. You can’t make a mistake with this one!

Click here to watch a how-to-video!

And this is what your finished product will look like:

So what is the science behind it-well ink is nothing but a type of  mixture-and in this case ink is a type of mixture known as a solution. When you add water to ink that is soluble (able to be broken apart by water), then the colors separate out into the colors that make up the ink color. If you remember from art, there are primary and secondary colors. Primary colors are made up of one color-blue, red, yellow are primary colors. Secondary colors are made by combining two primary colors. So green is really just blue and yellow mixed together. Orange is red and yellow.  If you use permanent ink, like a sharpie, then you have to use another liquid to separate out the colors. Rubbing alcohol works really well. As you are reading this, you might be thinking-hey this sounds like chromatography and it is! Chromatography is the process used to separate out pigments.

Don’t you just love simple science! I love that I can create something for my kids that doesn’t cost a lot of money!

Send me pictures of your just simple science Valentine’s Day cards!

Published by Jenny Sue