Water Density Experiment

By | March 4, 2013

I have been wanting to do this water density experiment for a while now, but I have been waiting till we got closer to St. Patrick’s day since it kind of fits that theme. However this experiment is just as cool anytime of year, but if you are looking for something to do for the holiday this would be perfect!

I must admit that I really wanted to do this experiment and was probably more excited than my kids on this one. I just could not believe that the colors would not mix, and I am totally shocked that several days later they still were separate.  They did eventually mix together but it took several days before they did.  I just think this is so cool!

What is happening with this experiment? The more sugar you add to the water, the more sugar molecules will take over the space, making the water more dense. The cup containing the 5 tablespoons of sugar will be the most dense, the cup with 1 tablespoons will be least dense. That is why we layer them with the most dense liquid at the bottom and the least dense at the top.  NOTE:  Since this is a sugar water test, if you mix up the solution the sugar will disperse evenly and the colors will mix.  Unlike the water & oil tests like this where the oil will separate from the water again.

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15 TBS Sugar
15 TBS Water
Red, Yellow, Green, & Blue Food Color
6 Cups


Using 5 of your cups start adding sugar to each.  The first one gets 1TBS, the 2nd gets 2TBS and so on till the last one gets 5TBS (NOTE:  Keep the cups in order).
Add Three TBS of water to the 5 cups
Stir the cups to dissolve the sugar into the water (NOTE: not all the sugar will dissolve and that is okay).
Add a different food color to each of the 5 cups then stir
(NOTE: make sure the cups say in order from the 1TBS of sugar to the 5TBS of sugar).
Starting with the 5TBS cup add some liquid to your 6th cup.  I found it was easier to not disturb the bottom layer by using a syringe (the kind you get at the pharmacy for meds) and a spoon.
Add the same amount of liquid from each cup, going backwards starting with the 5TBS liquid to the 1 TBS liquid.  (NOTE: We added 3 syringes full of each liquid)
Notice your rainbow of liquid you have in the cup.  Check out how each layer of color says separate!
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37 thoughts on “Water Density Experiment

  1. Jacquelyn Karlic

    Hi! Found you on Made in a Day link up. This is so cool, I love it. My daughter is only 15 months old, so this experiment would not work well with her, but I will be following your blog because I love trying crafty things (not very crafty though) and as a SAHM hope to craft with my daughter as she gets older. Following via GFC and FB.


    1. We-Made-That.com

      My little one just turned 2 so an assure you your little one will be ready for lots of fun stuff soon. If you want check out some of the sensory stuff we have, I did a bunch of that stuff with my little one when she was around that age!

  2. Multiples Mom

    That is really cool. I love it. I can see myself getting more excited than the kids on this one too. I will have to try this when they are a little bigger. That is amazing that the colors stayed separate after several days.

  3. Kelly

    I’ve wanted to try something like this with my kids and I love how you set it up. We’re going to have to give it a go! Visiting from TGIF!
    Kelly at Little Wonders’ Days

  4. Sorting Sprinkles

    We made something similar but with different liquids. I didn’t know it could be made with only sugar! How cool, is THAT? And very easy on the eyes.
    Valerie at Sorting Sprinkles

  5. Jessica @ A Humble Creation

    Tracey, thanks for sharing this idea at A New Creation party. My son’s class did this at school and I’ve been wanting to replicate at home. So glad you spelled it out for us!

  6. Marilyn Clark

    this is so fun..my guys would have LOVED this when they were little. A fun way to learn about science and density! Thanks for sharing at March Madness

  7. Carrie

    That is so neat!! We are definitely going to try that. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

  8. jfersoul

    maybe i’m overlooking something but 5 cups to add 4 colors too? should i double up on a color? make orange or purple?

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  11. Laura

    The directions said to add 3 tbs water to each cup, but, in hindsight, guessing we weren’t supposed to add any plain water to the 6th cup, right?

    1. wemadethat Post author

      Hi Laura, Sorry about the confusion. No the cup you will be pouring the 5 mixtures into you do not add water too. The 3 tbs of water get added to the 5 cups where you will be adding sugar. I will try and clarify it in the directions so there is no more confusion. Thanks.

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