Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sharpie Art, or Science

Today, after working hard to get my kitchen wonderfully clean! The kids and I did a really engaging project together. I came across this one through an email from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine which linked me to this site with various fun, simple science experiments. We have found lots of fun, educational activities to spark lively conversations and times together the past week or so.

This one involved Sharpie markers, white cloth and rubbing alcohol.

First, we assembled our supplies:

- Sharpies (these we got mostly on sale at Office Max for 10 cents this week!)
- an old t-shirt cut into 6 squares of material, one for each of us to decorate
- rubbing alcohol
- plastic containers (or cups)
- rubber bands

It would have been nice to have some kind of dropper, but we didn't, so we just poured carefully. I don't mind having to improvise, things usually work fine, just our own unique way and experience in the process.

Then, time to get to work!

We stretched the material across the plastic container and secured across the mouth of the container with a rubber band.

Everyone decorated the cloth with various colored Sharpies using mostly dots and lines. The instructions on the site said to keep it in a small area no bigger than a quarter each time. We didn't quite follow that, and filled the whole work space with dots or designs.

Once we were done decorating we poured drops of rubbing alcohol in the center (and a few around the edge to make sure that we got all the dots) to blur the ink in amazing patterns and blends.

Then, we secured a new area of our cloth and made another original design.

Since we did this on cloth scraps we didn't bother heat setting the designs, but if you wish to actually wear your creations then you would want to either heat set them in a dryer or wash them with vinegar and water to set the colors.

The kids all enjoyed this, it was very easy, and since the Sharpies were either ones I had on hand or cost 10 cents, the whole project cost less than a dollar. And, most importantly, my craft nut (the one in the green shirt) is satisfied that we already got a craft in this week and it is only Monday!

Give it a try! I would love to see others' pics and projects.


Anonymous said...

Does the vinegar make the design bleed out more? Or, does the vinegar secure the design?

5intow said...


The vinegar secures the design. The rubbing alcohol helps it bleed, and then once you have the look you want the vinegar can help it stay.

This is a common tie dye method as well to keep the colors from fading or running more.

Hope you have fun with this. I just saw that Office Max has a coupon you can print for more Sharpies for a penny, too!