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Cool and Beautiful Water Art

This article appeared in the August 12, 2016 edition of the Davis Enterprise.


By Lisa Justice

Special to the Enterprise


Cool off and celebrate the end of summer with some wet and wild art fun for the whole family. Explorit’s summer campers are sending out the final weeks of summer with a splash—turning water into art! And you can join in the fun with these easy activities to try at home.


Explore different states of matter with water in both solid and liquid forms with melting ice cubes. You will need: paper, ice cubes and a colored powder that’s water-soluble. Sugar-free drink mix powders work well. Try different flavors to get different colors.


Sprinkle some powder on the paper, then push an ice cube through it. As the cube melts, the liquid water will blend with the powder to diffuse the color. How well can you control where the color goes? How easily do the colors blend?


Or experiment with absorbency by dripping drops of colored water onto paper towels for a whole new spin on water color art. Mix a few drops of food coloring into a cup of water. Make as many cups of different colors as you like.


Then insert a straw into one of the cups, cover the end of the straw with your thumb to create suction. When you pull the straw out of the cup, it will have some colored water in it. The water won’t pour out as long as you keep your thumb in place.


Hold the open end of the straw over a paper towel and carefully move your thumb so one drop comes out of the straw. Add drops of colored water to make a design of your choice, but go slowly! Notice how the color spreads as the paper towel absorbs the water.


You can also crush some colored chalk and sprinkle it onto the surface of some shallow water, maybe in a bowl or pie tin. Then dip a paper towel or a sheet of construction paper just onto the surface of the water. You want it to get a little wet, but not soaked.


Watch how the chalk and water work together as the water soaks into the paper. Do all paper towels absorb the same? Does the chalk color the paper differently than the food coloring in the water?


You can share your water art with us by posting a photo to our Facebook page at


Explorit’s coming events:


  • Explorit’s Exploration Gallery is open to the public every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, 1:00-5:00 p.m. and every Friday, 3:00-6:00 p.m.  Admission is $5.00 per person; Explorit members, teachers and children 2 and under are free. Come check out the new Nano Mini Exhibition!
  • Save the date—Sunday, August 28 for Final Blast! More details to come!
  • Join us on Wednesday, September 7 at DMG Mori’s auditorium at 7:00 p.m. for a free public lecture with Thor Hanson, author of Feathers: Evolution of a Natural Miracle.
  • Save the date for Explorit’s Major Fall Fundraiser with Andrea Wulf, author of The Invention of Nature: How Alexander von Humboldt Revolutionized Our World at the Veterans Memorial Theater on Friday, October 28. Ticketing information to follow.
  • Save your spice jars for Explorit! Explorit is collecting clean, plastic spice jars with lids for a new science experience. Please bring any jars to Explorit’s office between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
  • Interested in membership?  Think your Explorit membership may have lapsed?  Call Explorit at 530-756-0191 to check or sign up!
  • Birthdays are back at Explorit!  Call Explorit at 530-756-0191 for more information or to book your party.


Explorit Science Center is located at 3141 5th St. For more information call (530) 756-0191 or visit, or “like” us on Facebook at

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