Saturday, October 14, 2017

Nail Polish and Water STEAM Activity

Nail Polish Art
A fun STEAM Activity

Today for the 13 Days of Halloween we are going to get a little artsy.  This activity actually teaches about oil spills.  At the end you will have a decorative piece of paper.


Cardstock Paper of different colors (Other papers work too.)

Nail Polish (Try different colors.  I am using black since it is Halloween.)

Warm Water

Shallow Tray


1.        Fill the dish with warm water.  You need the paper to be able to sink in the dish.

2.     Place the paper in the water.  Press it down so it is sunk in the dish.

3.     Dip the brush into the nail polish well.  It needs a large drop on the end.

4.    Hold the brush over the water to let a drop fall.  You can also take the nail polish and pour thicker drops on for more affect.  May not be the best idea with little ones.

5.     Watch the drop.  It may take a second.  The drop will open up and spread. Look closely because you may see a slight rainbow form.

6.     You may add more drops if there is room on the paper, but not too many.

7.     Very carefully pull the paper up so it catches the pattern.

8.     Set the paper on paper towel to dry.

Why does the happen?

Nail polish does not mix with water.  The drop is added and spreads on the top.  It glistens just like a drop of oil in water.  The light hits it and refracts the light.  Have you ever looked at the puddles on the road after it rains?  Sometimes you might see a rainbow of colors.  This is because oil from a car was on the road.  The rain doesn’t mix with oil.  The oil spreads and refracts the light separating it into different colors.  White nail polish works really well for this activity too.  Try other colors as well. 

What can I do with my colorful Paper?

1.        Use orange paper in the shape of pumpkins.  Add a green stem at the top.  When dry the students could add other decorations.

2.     Use the paper to make cards.  Students can cut them into shapes for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or other holidays.  They can write their messages on them and it will look prettier than plain paper.

3.     This is great for Valentine’s too.  Use heart shaped paper!

We are getting to the end of the 13 days of Halloween.  Keep coming back for more fun activities.

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