A Bowl Full of Rainbows

A Bowl Full of Rainbows

Rainbows are always a fun sight following a storm but you don’t have to wait for a rainy day to create your own rainbows. This interesting experiment uses minimal supplies and combines art with science to make rainbows on paper. No two designs are exactly alike so there’s lots of room to create surprising designs each time!  Save your paper and use it for creative craft projects.

Items Needed:

  • Bowl of water
  • Clear nail polish
  • Black construction paper cut into rectangles t to fit into the bowl
  • Towels

Steps:

  1. Fill the bowl with water.
  2. Drip one drop of clear nail polish into the bowl (You might choose to do this activity outside if you are sensitive to strong smells).
  3. Wait a few seconds and then dip the piece of paper into the water.
  4. Pull the paper out of the water and voila! You’ve created a rainbow on the paper.
  5. You can also place the paper in the water first and add a drop of nail polish to the bowl. Wait a few seconds for the nail polish to spread across the surface of the water and pull out the paper.
  6. Dry the papers on towels.

Wow! Rainbows on paper. How did that happen?

The rainbows created on the paper are a result of thin-film interference. The paper gets coated with a thin layer of nail polish causing light waves to be reflected resulting in a rainbow effect. The upper and lower boundaries of the film interfere with each other and the light is either enhanced or reduced. The colors on the paper will vary depending on the thickness of the polish on the paper.

This effect can be seen on roadways when water mixes with oil and a shimmery rainbow appears. See how many colors you can produce on the paper. Did you get all the colors of the rainbow?

Experiment and Photo Source: https://www.sciencekiddo.com/rainbow-paper-kid-color-science/