mindful living, effortless style


We Tried It! – Milk Colors

These magic milk colors have been on our to-do list for a long time (like ever since I first got on Pinterest long).  I’m sure you can tell by the photo above, this project is the perfect mix of art, science, and fun.  I’ve seen the idea several places over the last few months but I first spotted it here.  I’d highly recommend checking it out (hint: there are two equally exciting bonus activities).



It’s a good bet you already have everything you need for this one in your kitchen – milk, food coloring, dish soap, and a toothpick.  Start off by pouring your milk into a small dish with a lip.  We found tupperware lids worked really well.


Also, we experimented with a few types of milk (with a baby and a toddler in the house we have non-fat, 2%, and whole on hand at all times) and whole milk definitely worked the best.



After the milk is poured, add a few drops of various colors of food coloring all around your dish.  Now comes the “magic” toothpick.  Dip said toothpick in a little dish soap and ask your kiddo to put it in the food coloring.


The reaction of the soap disrupting the surface tension of the milk causes the colors to radiate away from the toothpick.



The more you dip, the more the colors swirl and mix.  Trust me when I tell you, the results are pretty spectacular.



Eventually, your milk will start to look like this as the colors begin to muddle together.



Which means it’s time for a fresh dish.  We did this activity three times total and this blue/green/yellow version was my favorite.



Once the color-mixing excitement was over, we did what we ultimately end up doing with a lot of art projects and turned it into painting time.  A few paper towels on top of a cookie sheet is our go-to canvas.


Will you guys be trying this one soon?  As always, let me know if there’s a project you love or want us to try.


Similar Stuff: We Tried It! – Edible Finger Paints


P.S. Looking for more ways to simplify and save time so you can connect with your family? Follow these 3 steps:

1) Check out our "Save Your Spring" bundle: over 50 pages of 2015 daily/weekly/monthly planners, cleaning schedules, meal planners, kids’ routine charts, budgeting sheets and much more PLUS 84 pages of kid activities perfect for spring break!

Over 50 pages of organizational gold


2) Sign up for our newsletter:

sign up for the newsletter and get a free 6 week meal plan


3) Bookmark our famous Gift Guides for the next time you need the perfect kids' gift! (350+ detailed descriptions including age recommendations)

Our infamous kids' gift guides

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda @ Gratefully Growing in Grace August 22, 2011 at 11:06 am

Beautiful! Looks like it could be mesmerizing.
I keep seeing this in blog posts and I just need to try it myself.


Nikki August 22, 2011 at 1:56 pm

We had a science night with some family friends and this was one of the experiments. The kids loved it and wanted to do it over and over again.


Stacy August 22, 2011 at 4:23 pm

What a fun project! We were on the path to major meltdown city this morning when I pulled up your blog and voila! You saved us :)


Cat August 22, 2011 at 5:52 pm

You totally inspire me! I voted for your blog as well!! I adore coming here


Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com August 22, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Thanks for the kind word guys!! I’m always so impressed by the creativity in the blogosphere and I love sharing my favorites with you. I’m REALLY loving that this new “we tried it” feature is propelling our family to do more too :).


Jane August 22, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Oh, we are doing this! I’m always looking for rainy day fun and this is perfect.
Thanks a bunch!


The MOB August 23, 2011 at 3:29 am

Fun! Can’t wait to try it out.


Online Shopping August 24, 2011 at 6:33 am

superb !


Cat August 25, 2011 at 1:58 am

Love this!
we did it and I linked it back to you as where I was inspired
Here’s our go at it!
I loved it so much I made it my background, LOL


Olivia August 30, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Love this idea!!! So creative and fun!

Look for a link back to you on our next Clickworthy post at http://www.scottsdaledaycare.com/raising-happy-kids-blog!


Anonymous September 11, 2011 at 5:21 am

Very neat! I don’t even have a kid and I want to try it! Found your blog through craftgawker. Would like to try this with my 4 year old cousin, but the painting part… Are the paintings fridge-hanging worthy? or will the milk component spoil?


Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com September 11, 2011 at 8:57 pm

No, the art is not “fridge-hanging” worthy. One of my mottos here is that art for young children is about the process, not the product. We tossed these out after we were done :)


Susanne September 24, 2011 at 9:49 pm

This was an awesome, quiet activity. My toddler absolutely LOVED it!!


Kit Bennett September 28, 2011 at 3:52 am

You can use milk paint without soap of course, to paint a hearty White or Oat bread and then put it in the toaster…great photos by the way!


The Litzenbergers November 1, 2011 at 11:08 pm

This could be an excellent use for the couple days past the use by date milk.


Julie@teachinggoodeaters November 11, 2011 at 4:27 am

That looks liek so much fun! I can’t wait to try it with my kids!


Amanda @NotJustCute December 9, 2011 at 5:50 pm

My boys have been thoroughly enjoying this this morning! I laugh that I love the vibrant colors, but my 5 1/2 year old loves getting all the colors to mix to black. “Looks like oil” he says. His brain is wired for engineering!


Jessie December 31, 2011 at 12:31 am

We did this tonight. So fun. Thank you.


Jamie March 2, 2012 at 1:15 am

saw this and did it right away :) that is pretty cool!


CooperFam March 12, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Super fun project! Koen enjoyed the process and the product. All smiles.


Kristina March 16, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I think I’ll be trying this out this afternoon! I can only hope my *ahem* ENERGETIC 3 year old boy doesn’t decide to do any splashing…


Daniela June 6, 2012 at 4:13 pm

How fun!!!! Can’t wait to do it and give it as an idea to other nannies and moms


cp October 31, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Evaporated or condensed milk works the best. Just add some food coloring and paint away, it dries shiny and hard, very pretty!


Lauren January 16, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Thanks for this idea, I just did this with my three year old for a rainy day activity and he loved it!


lizw January 25, 2013 at 9:59 pm

it’s neat to look at, but with milk being a) expensive and b) a healthy, valuable commodity, couldn’t you figure out a different way to do this? it’s around $5 a gallon and you’re making it undrinkable.


Amanda March 20, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Honestly, this looks fun. However, I think it is sad that we, as a society are so willing to waste something like milk. Not to be all preachy, but it is bad enough animals suffer for our nourishment, but now for entertainment? It is too bad really. I think I will look for activities that waste less.


Gina May 23, 2013 at 10:57 am

Amanda, the photo shows organic milk being used. One could assume that the cows at an organic farm are treated much better than those at a typical commercial agribusiness. I wouldn’t say all cows “suffer” if a farmer is providing them with a safe, respectful haven with good food available, their own herd family and shelter. Just be mindful about the milk you purchase and where it comes from. I am an artist and don’t see using a natural product as a waste when it comes to producing art. I would rather use natural materials than chemically produced ones. I will agree that milk is expensive. I would like to add a positive suggestion for those trying this activity. Just have some watercolor paper cut to fit in the container you are using. That way when you have your marbling effect as you like it, take a piece of paper and lay it gently and flat as possible on top to get a print! I’ve tried this with shaving cream, a water/cornstarch mix and other marbling techniques and you get some interesting prints on paper that CAN be refrigerator -friendly. I’d coat it with an acrylic based clear coat afterwards to preserve it however.


Karyn November 22, 2013 at 7:59 pm

We are dairy free and so have no cow milk in the house (and would rather not buy it for 1 project). Has anyone tried this with commercial almond or coconut milk?


Corrie November 22, 2013 at 11:37 pm

I am definitely doing this with my boys tomorrow! I have one future scientist and one future artist and this is the perfect activity to bring those two areas of interest together! I love your blog!


Shauna Crosby Dickerson May 22, 2014 at 7:32 pm

What would happen if you laid a clean white t shirt across the dish and let the design absorb into the shirt. Let it air dry and let your child wear it. The colors might not last long, but then you could just do it again.


Leave a Comment

{ 12 trackbacks }