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How to Demonstrate Absorbency using Colored Water

Learn how to demonstrate absorbency using colored water with the instructions in this Howcat science project video.


Have you ever been to the beach and you come out of the water and even though it's 95 degrees outside, you just get a chill?

Well, think about it. The water stays on your skin. It doesn't go into your skin, and then you automatically run. You're like, "Mom, Dad, please quick! Get me a towel!" And you get the towel. What do you do with the towel? You wrap it around your body. What does the towel do? It sucks up the water. And that's what we call absorb or absorbency.

Absorbency is the ability for something to soak things up or suck things up. Now, think about this. I'm gonna show you how magical absorbency can really be. And all I need is water, towels, and some food coloring. So, you know what I'm gonna do? We're gonna add. Ready? Three drops of blue, one, two, three. Three drops of red, you know what I'm gonna do five, three, four five. I'm gonna do five drops of green. One, two, three, four, five. Then I'm gonna put five drops of yellow. One, two, three, four, five.

And then we can mix primary colors to make secondary colors. So, you know what? What do you guys think? Purple? Purple. What do we need? Red and blue I think. Let's try it. We'll do two, three reds. We'll do two blues.

And now, I'm gonna take my water, my liquid that is gonna be absorbed by my towel, but it's actually gonna be absorbing water that's been colored. And you guys are not gonna believe what's gonna happen to your towel. And the cooler part is you're not gonna believe what's gonna appear on your towel.

Now, I need you to take a paper towel, and you're gonna notice that your paper towel generally is a square shape. Now, you're not just gonna throw it into the water, that's not the fun part. I want you to take your paper towel and fold it. Maybe fold it again. And maybe, triangle, and stop. Three corners right? One, two, three.

Now, I'm gonna take my towel and choose a color. Maybe green. I'm gonna take the towel, I'm gonna dip the tip into the water, just like this, and all of a sudden, the water gets absorbed by the towel. It sucks up the green water, sucks up the green water. And you can see, I never put this part into the water, but yet it's green. This is the ability for the paper towel to suck up the water, to absorb the water.

Now, I'm gonna take my finger and I'm gonna squeeze out the extra water because I'm telling you what you're gonna be left with is amazing. Use your fingers like a squeegee board, squeeze the water, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, and stop.

Now, I'm gonna take the second corner. Pick maybe red. Move this out of the way so you can see. And, dip it in. And what's it doing? It's absorbing. It's absorbing the red water now. It's sucking it up and it's sucking it up and it's going up, it's going up higher and higher and higher. Take your fingers out and squeeze the water out. You don't want red water all over your moms house or your dads house. Squeeze it and if you're Italian you'll like that right now. Right?

But, now what if you took blue. And, again, fold it, dip it in. And now, you're gonna absorb the blue water. And, before you know it, the whole towel now will be wet and colored. Squeeze it out. Squeeze it out. And now some of you right now are saying, ‛Okay. Fine, he's making a colored paper towel.’

But really watch this. Have you ever heard of Ty-dye? You're gonna love this. Start opening up your towel and be careful when you do this because you don't want to rip the towel. You're gonna notice really amazing patterns are taking place. Really amazing designs are taking place. And, when you're done, you're left with that.

And the cool part about this experiment is every time that towel is folded differently, you're gonna be left with an amazing, different design. You can let these dry and the next time mommy and daddy say 'Oh my gosh, we had a spill, go get me a towel', give them something like this and their eyes will literally pop out of their head. ‛How'd you do that?’

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