60 Second Science: Marbled Milk


Even after doing this project dozens of times, each time feels fresh while we watch the amazing results! Be prepared to do this one over and over!

What you will need:

small saucer

liquid food coloring (in the squeeze bottles)

few drops of liquid dish soap (Dawn works great)

whole milk or 2%


Pour the milk into the saucer, then squeeze drops of different colored food coloring across the surface of the milk. Next, place a few drops of the liquid detergent onto a Q-tip and then touch the Q-tip to the surface of the milk. Incredible isn’t it?

What happens? When you add the detergent, the drops of food coloring twirl madly in swirly patterns across the surface of milk. Why? The drops of food coloring first held together on the surface of the milk because of the fat molecules in the milk (water and oil don’t mix, remember?). Adding the detergent to the milk broke up the fat molecules and allowed the food coloring to spread across the milk. Experiment! What happens if you use skim milk? Half and half?

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