5.3.12

Weekend Report: Chromatography

Remember doing chromatography experiments in high school chemistry?  Well, it occurred to me last week that it would be really fun to do as an art project. Plus I'm going to start teaching kids art classes soon (how's that for a nonchalant announcement? and yes, I'll be doing one of the classes based on science experiments and I can't wait), so I found myself ordering a ton of chromatography paper, and holy cow...I could not stop. Sort of like how I couldn't stop posting pictures of them.  Here you go...
My husband and I filled the table with our color experiments, and I sort of want to blow them all up huge and put them on the wall. Though, I want to do that with most pretty things, which is why I'm out of wall space and my local copy center loves me.
 We made fire and sunsets and abstractions.


Then the next morning, my daughter saw the field of colored paper and wanted to try. Hers are the best of the bunch, I think.

Yes, Virginia, there IS such thing as a toddler who is a minimalist.
this became that...
Wanna make your own?  All you need is chromatography paper (I used Whatman 3MM CHR Chromatography Paper), washable markers, and a couple millimeters of water in a container....and a 3-year-old to make you feel lame and uncreative. Just color the paper and set one end in the water. Then wait!

21 comments:

  1. I love this, Annie! I used Chromatography paper for my 5th grade science project. It didn't dawn on me to be artistic with it. DUH. Now I need to buy some.

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    1. do it! i was going to buy just one 100 sheet pack, but it's a good thing i got two, haha.

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  2. I so love this! You'll be such a great art teacher - very inspired!!

    2 more things:
    1) Have you seen the commercial promoting march madness that uses "bracket patterns" on fabric as the next hottest thing? It totally reminded me of your logo.

    2) I am celebrating my daughter's second birthday this friday, and totally loved your idea of the floating lanterns - and ordered me some. Woot! Just wondering if you have any pointers from having done them already? I ordered them and instantly became really concerned that if we let them off at our house it would start one of our trees or our neighbor's roof on fire. Should we hike everyone to the closest field?? Thoughts oh brilliant one?

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    1. thank you so much!
      and...
      1) i haven't seen that. i had no idea i was so on trend, haha. woot!
      2) you're the best mom ever! she'll love them. as for pointers, you need two people to light each one...or at least one person to hold each one while someone with the lighter goes around and lights them all. you have to hold them carefully while they fill up with hot air before you can let them go, and if you try to do it yourself, they tend to collapse and twist and light themselves on fire and get holes! every time i've lit them it has been slightly rainy or snowy or in a park. but the park had trees, and they were fine. as long as it's not too windy, they'll go straight up. do your trees hang over the street? could you go in the street to release them?

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    2. Yes, unfortunately. We live on a street with a lot of mature trees. Although we are a block or two away from the jr high that has a huge field so maybe if the weather isn't too bad we'll pack up great grandma and hoof it over. Thanks Annie - looking forward to it so much!!

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  3. these are stunning! i can see why you couldn't stop. and I can't wait to hear more about your art classes. I wish were local so that I could sign up my kids! best of luck with the new adventure.

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    1. thanks for the good wishes! i'm thinking of getting my curriculum together to sell as a packet at some point, so maybe you CAN sign your kids up! :)

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    2. Awesome! just one more reason I love the interweb.

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  4. Tell me more about your kid's art classes? I'd considered doing something like that once...are you doing them at your house? one-on-one?

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  5. really neat annie! I have never heard of this before, gonna have to try my hand at it. :)

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    1. get ready to be totally addicted! my pack of 100 sheets is almost gone after a few days (and i even cut them into smaller pieces!)

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  6. I am a biochemist that went back to school for interior design....and I love this!

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    1. doesn't it make you want to design a science classroom or something? too bad public schools don't have art budgets, haha.

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  7. I see your white paper flag ceiling decoration becoming a colorful flag ceiling decoration! Gotta try these with my girls.

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  8. We did these at a science museum with coffee filters - you drew in rings with the markers, and then used an eyedropper to put the liquid down.

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  9. wait, you put the paper in the water?

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    1. yep! i guess i should have explained this better in the post, but you color on chromatography paper (or coffee filters, as was mentioned above) with water-soluble markers. i just used crayola for these, but i've since gotten some felt-tipped pens that work well too. then you put the paper in a shallow dish of water, and as the water soaks up the special paper, it draws the ink with it....separating it into it's different components. that's why black pens look the coolest...they have the most colors in them.

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    2. oh shut up! it separates the colors?! super awesome! Maybe I could have figured that out by the name, duh. off to amazon...

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  10. Such a cool idea! I don't remember doing this at school... guess I'll try it now then - better late than never, right?!

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