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Dissolving Candy Art & Other Riffs on the Rainbow Skittles Experiment

by Jean Van't Hul
July 23, 2019

A mesmerizing variation of the popular rainbow skittles experiment, this dissolving candy art & science activity uses a variety of colorful candies to make pictures and designs that quickly fill in with color from the dissolving candy.

Dissolving Candy Art with a Variety of Candies around the perimeter of a square plate

Holy amazingness! I know I get excited about  a lot of fun art activities. And artful science experiments. This is definitely both.

You’ve probably seen the rainbow Skittles experiment around the web before. Maybe you’ve even tried it. We decided to include it in RAINBOW WEEK of our Summer Camp for Creative Kids since we’re including a mix of arts and crafts with science experiments and learning experiences.

Results of the traditional rainbow skittles experiment - dissolving candy coatings in water

The Rainbow Skittles Experiment

We started with the usual rainbow of Skittles around the perimeter of a bowl and were amazed by how cool the experiment was.

Expanding on the traditional rainbow skittles experiment - dissolving candy coatings in water

We did it over and over that afternoon, with both Skittles and M&Ms, but mostly sticking to the rainbow circle idea.

The next day, we wanted to do it again and experiment more. So we headed back to the store to pick up more skittles (the tropical kind this time, for more variation in colors), more M&Ms, and a wider variety of candies to experiment with.

Dissolving Candy Art with Now and Laters
Dissolving Candy Art with Now and Laters

While in the candy aisle, we tried to hypothesize which candies had coatings that would dissolve easily in water. We ended up buying Skittles, M&Ms, peppermints (no candy coating, but we wanted to see if they would work), and Now & Laters. We also think that nerds would work but felt like they would float around too much when adding water so skipped them.

Loaded up with an assortment of candy to experiment with, we headed home.

Dissolving Candy Art with a Variety of Colored Candies

Getting Creative with Dissolving Candy Art

We did the regular rainbow Skittles experiment again, and oohed and ahed all over again. But then we started making other designs and even representational images, such as faces, trees, flowers, and hearts inside our bowls.

And then we decided to try a square format to see if it would work okay and it totally does!

We ended up spending the entire afternoon creating dissolving candy art and other riffs on the original rainbow Skittles experiment.

It was so freakin’ cool!

Here’s a video showing the dissolving candy art in action:

And yes, a few candies may have been eaten along the way and we were all a little extra excited, but it was awesome!

Fun to create new designs out of the candies and hypothesizing how they would dissolve, then add the water, and watch as the candy coating dissolved before our eyes and colored the water around the candies, yet, amazingly, staying in their own defined areas.

It was like drawing a picture with colored lines, then waving a magic wand and having the drawing be colored by magic in front of our eyes and quickly. In the most interesting and beautiful way. There wasn’t any waiting for hours like with the painted daisies science experiment.

This was immediate and super gratifying.

Dissolving Candy Art - Before and after the candy coatings dissolve in water
Before and after the candy coatings dissolved in water.

Give the Dissolving Candy Art a Try

Even if you’ve done the rainbow Skittles experiment before, you must do it again. Only this time, branch out beyond skittles and rainbow circles.

Try any candies with colored coatings that you think would dissolve readily in water.

And the rainbow circle thing is awesome. I won’t tell you not to do that. But then experiment and create.

Try other designs.

Dissolving Candy Art Heart with Purple Skittles

Make faces and pictures, hearts and shapes.

Experiment with color mixing.

Make abstract art.

Dissolving Candy Art - Expanding on the Rainbow Skittles Experiment with Kids

And make sure to take photos because this is ephemeral art for sure.

Have fun! Be creative!



P.S. You can also keep this activity in mind for the Halloween candy haul. (Or the excess candy from any holiday, party, parade, or overenthusiastic in-laws…)

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Dissolving Candy Art - an art and science activity for kids

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