Separating Inks

Looking at inks and investigating how the chemicals separate in water.

You will need

Strips of Blotting paper

Felt pens including several different black pens

Several plastic transparent pots with a couple of cms of water in each pot



  • Draw a circle of colour at the bottom of each strip of blotting paper using a variety of coloured pens.
  • Suspend each strip of blotting paper from a straw using a peg as shown so that bottom of the paper dips into the water allowing the water to then soak up through the paper.
  • Ask the children if they can guess what might happen.
  • Watch the paper absorb the water and discuss what is happening to the picture.
    To extend the activity
  • Each child could then do their own drawing on a dry piece of blotting paper using several colours and dip it in the water as before.
  • Draw some circles using the different black pens.
  • Ask the children if they think the black ink will stay the same colour or will it change when dipped in the water.
  • Compare the results from the different black inks, hopefully there will be some differences.


Separating inks