Header is a photo of a milk carton, a bottle of dish soap, and small bottles of food color. On the table in front of them is a plate with food color marbled into milk.

Try This: Make Magic Milk

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Magic Milk

Magic Milk

Disruption can be beautiful! Magic Milk shows us how molecules that we can’t normally see are hard at work and makes some beautiful but temporary artwork at the same time. 

Here's what you need: 

  • Milk, full fat works great
  • Dish soap 
  • Food coloring
  • Plate or tray
  • Optional: Cotton swab

 

Here’s what to do:

1. Pour milk onto your plate. It doesn’t have to be very deep, but should cover the base of the plate easily.

2. Put a couple of drops of several colors of food coloring into the milk near the center of the plate. 

3. Place a single drop of dish soap into the center of the milk. You can do this straight from the bottle, but it’s easier to use a cotton swab dipped in the soap.

4. Observe! Experiment by changing the placement of the food coloring and soap drop.

What’s happening?

Milk is made of minerals, proteins, and fats. When the dish soap is dropped in the milk, the molecules in the soap try to attach to the fat, causing all kinds of disruption in the milk! 

We couldn’t normally see this, but we can thanks to the food coloring which gets bumped around by all the commotion. When the colors in the milk finally stop and there are no more color bursts, the soap has found all of the fat molecules in the milk.