Friday, January 13, 2012

Freezing Art

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For Christmas I got the kids some liquid water colors because I was tired of struggling to get the water color pellets to produce nice vibrant colors that I had seen on so many art teacher blogs. Our first project with the new liquid water colors was a science experiment on freezing. I got the idea from the book, Science Arts by MaryAnn Kohl and Jean Potter. The book is fantastic. The book uses art projects to explain science concepts. This book is great for a child who loves art or a child that is weary of science.
In this experiment, the concept of diffusion is explored when children paint on a wet piece of paper with water color paints. Diffusion is when the paint molecules spread. Then, the concept of freezing is explored when you place the painted piece of paper is placed outside in freezing temperatures or in the freezer. When freezing occurs, the water molecules line up into organized structures to create sheets of ice. We took the experiment one step further and watched the paper thaw again in the house. In this case you can watch the paint become more diffuse again causing the intensity of the paints to diminish as the pigments in the paint spread out over the piece of paper.  I recommend taking pictures of your paints before freezing, after freezing, and after thawing to see how much the paint diffuses. The results with liquid water colors can be really stunning. This experiment is appropriate for preschool to early elementary aged children. My toddler also participated, but she does not have a concept of diffusion yet.
Science concepts explored in this experiment: diffusion, freezing, states of matter (liquid and solid), thawing
Materials modified from Science Arts p 101
White paper
Liquid water colors
Cookie sheet
Plastic wrap
Freezer or freezing temperatures outside (we put out paintings outside)
1.       We the white piece of paper. You want the entire paper wet.
2.       Paint the wet piece of paper with liquid water colors. I recommend taking a picture of your work after this step. Observe how the paint diffuses outward as you paint.
3.       Place the piece of paper on a cookie sheet and place a piece of plastic over the painting.
4.       Place the painting outside or in the freezer.
5.       After 12-24 hours, remove the plastic wrap from the painting and observe the ice crystals. I recommend taking a picture now.
Miss Bubbles': painting a wet piece of paper
After freezing:

The ice up close:

After thawing:
Little BBQ's painting:
After freezing:

After thawing:

Posted on We Love to Paint


  1. Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.
    Paint Booth

  2. I love this!!! I've never seen diffusion explained in such a concrete manner for children :). Thank you for sharing and linking up over at PreKandK Sharing We LOVE Paint linky party!

  3. What an interesting experiment for science. I've never seen it done that way.

    Thanks for linking over to Science Sunday!

  4. Wow that is a great experiment. I need to invest in some liquid water colours too. I am so glad I have found your blog. I have pinned this.


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