The Fizzing Paint Science Experiment

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If your child enjoys painting and coloring, they will really enjoy the Fizzing Paint experiment.

The Fizzing Paint experiment is combining vinegar and baking soda to create a fizzing reaction but adds paint or food coloring to make it colorful. It teaches your child about chemistry while also giving them an opportunity to paint a pretty picture!

The fun point about this experience is that there are two different ways you can do it to boost your child’s creativity.

How to make the Fizzing Paint experiment

Supplies you will need

For the Fizzing Paint experiment, you’ll need:

  • A tub or cookie sheet to contain the mess
  • Small bowls or an old muffin tray for the colors
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Craft stick or spoon for stirring
  • Watercolor paper (important, since you are playing with a lot of liquid)
  • Pipettes

Here’s where you can choose what you would like to do for this experiment:

  • Food coloring OR
  • Tempera paints and a paintbrush

Before you start

This experiment is MESSY (probably my messiest yet!). I would recommend putting a towel under your experiment to keep the mess at bay. Also, you will probably want to do this experiment a few times since the reaction can go quickly, so have extra supplies ready.

Instructions

Here is how to do the Fizzing Paint experiment with your toddler:

Step 1: Mix paints or food coloring with vinegar

Food coloring and vinegar on right, paint with vinegar on left

We used an old muffin tin to keep all of our colors separate. Fill each portion of the muffin tin about 1/3 of the way for as many of the colors as you would like to add.

If you are using food coloring, add 2-3 drops to each muffin cup and stir it with a craft stick. You could even make the colors of the rainbow! Here is a breakdown of how much to add of what colors if you would like to have the colors of the rainbow:

  • Red: 2-3 drops of red
  • Orange: 1 drop of red, 1 drop of yellow
  • Yellow: 2-3 drops of yellow
  • Green: 2-3 drops of green
  • Blue: 2-3 drops of blue
  • Indigo: 2 drops of blue, 1 drop of red
  • Violet: 1 drop of blue, 1 drop of red

Get your preschooler involved: If you’re feeling brave, let your toddler add drops of food coloring with vinegar to create the colors they would like for the experiment. Bonus points if you’re able to mix colors to create a new color!

Step 2: Place paper on a cookie sheet and top with baking soda

Cookie sheet, watercolor paper, and baking soda

Place your piece of watercolor paper directly on the cookie sheet and sprinkle enough baking soda on it to cover the surface.

The more baking soda you use, the stiffer your end result will be, and it may end up crumbling.

Step 3: Use pipettes to add colored vinegar to paper

Adding blue vinegar to baking soda with a pipette

This is where it gets fun! Choose your colors and start adding them to your watercolor paper. Make fun designs or just splatter it everywhere.

Get your preschooler involved: Let your toddler freely use the pipettes to add the vinegar colors to the paper. This also works their fine motor skills!

An alternative way to do this experiment

If you would rather have thicker paint to paint a picture and then add vinegar to your final product, here are the steps you will want to take:

Step 1: Mix baking soda, food coloring, and a small amount of water

Mixed paints using baking soda, a small amount of water, and food coloring

You will want a paste consistency, similar to if you were using tempera paint. The thicker the paste, the better the reaction!

Step 2: Use a paintbrush to paint on the watercolor paper

Using a paintbrush to paint the paper (no baking soda yet!)

We enjoyed adding globs of paint to the paper too. Those caused a better fizzing reaction than the thinner strokes of paint.

Get your preschooler involved: Hand over the paintbrush and let your preschooler have fun painting on the paper.

Step 3: Use a pipette to add vinegar to your painted picture

Using a pipette to add vinegar to painting

Once you’ve painted the watercolor paper fully, use a pipette to add vinegar and watch your reaction.

Get your preschooler involved: Allow your toddler to fill a pipette with vinegar and add it to the painting. This is great for fine motor skill development!

The science behind the Fizzing Paint science experiment

The Fizzing Paint experiment is excellent for learning about chemistry and seeing the reaction between an acid and a base!

For the parent

We are making vinegar and baking soda react in the Fizzing Paint experiment. The chemical equation for that is:

https://www.acs.org/content/dam/acsorg/education/outreach/kidschemistry/chemical-reaction-kids-and-chemistry-kit-teacher-guide.pdf

The reaction between our acid and base produces carbon dioxide, which produces the fizzing that we see when we mix the two.

For the child

When we add our paint and see the fizzing that occurs, we are seeing what it looks like to combine two things that react to each other. That reaction is called a chemical reaction!

The two things that we are combining to cause the fizzing you see are vinegar (an acid) and baking soda (a base). Adding our colored vinegar to a baking soda canvas (or vinegar to our baking soda paint) creates a reaction.

When these two things are combined, we see fizzing because these two substances make a new substance.

More chemistry experiments to try out with your child

FAQ about the Fizzing Paint Experiment

Which produces a better result: the paintbrush method or pipettes with food coloring?

I think this is mostly subjective. We enjoyed adding colored vinegar to baking soda a little more than painting and then adding vinegar. It all depends on your little one though.

Should I scrape off the baking soda after it dries?

I tried this and it was tough to remove the baking soda from the paper. If you have a bit of time to devote to it, the colors actually looked a lot better under the baking soda!

It looks like the baking soda muted a lot of the colors, but once you peeled it away, more vibrant colors were exposed.

peeling off baking soda after vinegar dried
Peeling off baking soda after vinegar dried

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