This is a super popular project for folks with kids, because you can teach them all about surface tension and the properties of soap and fat and all that good science-y stuff in a nice controlled environment, with very pretty results.
The supplies are simple: a large shallow tray (a rimmed baking sheet will do), watercolour paper (sized to fit in your tray), cotton swabs, liquid food colouring, a few drops liquid dish soap, and some milk. You can use almond milk or rice milk or homogenized milk or cream or whatever — you just need some milk with a decent fat content. The results will apparently differ depending on the milk you use (almond milk is supposedly the best), but I only had regular old 2% on hand so I can’t really speak to that.
On a level surface, pour milk into your tray so that the whole bottom is just covered.
Now start dotting the surface of the milk with food colouring. Go with whatever floats your boat.
Take a cotton swab and dip it in your dish soap.
Gently touch the swab to your milk surface. POW! Watch that science happen.
This is that same spot a few seconds later.
Touch the swab all over to make the colours mix or drag it across the surface to make a trail.
Now lay your paper down flat on the surface of the milk, then slide it off.
Let it drip a bit and lay it or hang it somewhere to dry.
I liked how the colours kept changing as I put in more paper, so I didn’t replace my milk, but you can if you like.
After a while I had nine full sheets and I was quite pleased with the results.
You can do whatever you want with these sheets: cut them into shapes and frame them, use them as stationery or greeting cards … whatever you want.
In my case, I ironed them flat using the high steam setting on my iron.
You can tell that I let this one dry on a sheet of newspaper can’t you?
Then I played around with the order of them a bit.
And used Blu-Tack to put them up on the wall in our bedroom.
The colours I used complement the other quick wall art I made a few weeks ago so I am very happy with how they turned out – though I would like to try it with almond milk sometime.