With the Kids

Rainbow Marker Coffee Filter Experiment

Not only is this coffee filter science for for the kids, adults will love it too! It’s pretty magical to watch the rainbow of colors come alive through this experiment!

Rainbow Marker in Water Coffee Filter Experiment

We’re using coffee filters and markers to make amazing tie-dye rainbow colors! Markers, coffee filters, and water – that simple! It’s such a fun color rainbow marker experiment with kids, my girls were going gaga for it! Now we have all sorts of beautiful colored coffee filters to craft with!

Rainbow Marker Coffee Filters

I first found this idea over at Buggy and Bunny and their Chromatography Color Experiment. We had to try it… but we put our own spin on it – rainbow style! Although honestly, as much fun as these rainbow markers are for the color, Buggy and Bunny uses black and brown and they give the best colors, all swirly. Be sure to go check those out. My girls are itching to craft those colors next!

Make Rainbow Marker Coffee Filters - cool science

Watch the How-to Video


  • white coffee filters
  • markers in rainbow colors
  • small glass jar or drinking cup
  • water
  • newspaper

Rainbow Marker Coffee Filter Supplies


1. Color a large circle with your marker onto your coffee filter. Add the circle of color just at the base of the lines on the filter, there’s that round area at the bottom. This way your marker won’t bleed too fast and make the water color the whole filter one color instead of tie-dye! TIP: do this over newspaper as the markers can bleed.

Coloring Coffee Filters with Markers

2. Fold your coffee filter in half. Fold it in half again and again – quartered. This will expose that white un-markered center at the point.

Folding Coffee Filters with Markers

3. Fill your glass with 1-2 inches of water. Make sure only the tip of the filter is touching the water.

Coffee Filter and Marker Coloring

The water travels fast, within just a few minutes, you’ll have this look pictured below! It’s amazing to watch!


I talked to my kids about the process of water with the filter, and how the color can travel and spread through the filter with an agent like water. 

Kids Science with Coffee Filters and Markers

We did this for each of our rainbow marker colored coffee filters!

Science Craft with Coffee Filters and Rainbow Markers

I was laughing through documenting these because after every photo I took, the water would travel more and more and more. I had to hurry to take a before and after pic!

Coloring Coffee Filters with Rainbow Markers and Water

Here they each are at the start…

Coffee Filters Changing to Tie-Dye Colors

…and here they are 30 minutes later! I think the purple is my favorite!

Coffee Filters Changing to Cool Tie-Dye Colors

4. Once you have your filters colored as much as you’d like, about 30-40 minutes, take them out of the water and let them dry on newspaper.

Drying Tie-Dye Coffee Filters

They actually don’t take too long to dry. You can pick them up after a little bit and wave them or blow on them. After an hour we had rainbow coffee filters to craft with!

Make Rainbow Marker Coffee Filters Kids Craft

Rainbow Marker Coffee Filters with a Tie-Dye Look

Now you have your colored coffee filters, here are a few ideas for crafting with them!

Crafting with Rainbow Colored Coffee Filters

More Rainbow Marker Ideas

How to Make Rainbow Coffee Filters

*Originally posted 2/25/15

1 comment

Make and Takes more recent posts