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How to Do the Rainbow Skittles Experiment

by Jean Van't Hul
June 2, 2023
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A mesmerizing variation of the popular rainbow skittles experiment. This dissolving science activity uses a variety of colorful candies!

Updated July 2023

We love artful science experiments. They combine two things we love: art and experimentation! This activity is definitely both.

You’ve probably seen the rainbow Skittles experiment around the web before. Maybe you’ve even tried it.

Here’s how to try this fun and colorful experiment! And a few variations on it you might want to try!

Here’s a video showing the dissolving candy art in action. And keep scrolling for step-by-step instructions!

The Rainbow Skittles Experiment

MATERIALS

  • Colorful candy, like skittles
  • Shallow dish or bowl
  • Warm water

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Arrange your candy

    Begin by arranging the candy around the edge of the plate. Make sure to leave a small space between each piece, so they don’t touch each other. If you want, you can arrange them in rainbow order: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet.

  2. Add water

    Carefully pour warm water onto the plate, making sure not to disturb the candies. You want the water to be high enough to touch the bottom of the candies but not cover them completely.

  3. Wait and observe

    As the water makes contact with the candies, something magical happens! The colors from the candies will start to dissolve and spread into the water.

    The colors will mix and create a beautiful rainbow in the center of the plate.



    Encourage your kids to observe the colors mixing and spreading. You can discuss how different colors blend together to create new colors.

Variations to Try

If you want to take the experiment further, you can try using different temperatures of water (hot, cold) to see if it affects the results. You can also try different arrangements of candies, such as creating patterns or using different quantities of each color. You can also try this with any colorful candy with a hard coating.

And you don’t have to stick with a circle! We’ve tried a square, hearts, flowers, and more!

Dissolving Candy Art Heart with Purple Skittles
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

The Science Behind the Rainbow Skittles Experiment

So why do the colors spread like they do? When we add warm water to the candy, something called “dissolving” happens. Dissolving means that the candies start to mix with the water and become part of it. Each candy has different colors on its outer coating and as the water touches the candy, the colors from the coating dissolve and spread out in the water. The water carries the colors away and they mix together in the center of the plate.

When the colors mix in the water, they create new colors. It’s like when you mix paint colors together to make new colors.

We love this rainbow experiment and highly recommend it!

More Science Experiments to Try

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How to Do the Rainbow Skittles Experiment How to Do the Rainbow Skittles Experiment

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