Mixing it up: Oil & Water

What doesn’t mix? What’s that you say? Oil and water?

WHY is that?

Borrowing once again from Craft Knife, we learned about molecules by observing water and oil NOT mixing.

Here’s what we used, and what you’ll need to do this simple experiment yourself:

You will need:

  • clear glass container (we used Ball canning jars since we have loads of them around the house)
  • inexpensive cooking oil. This is not the place to bust out your extra expensive extra extra virgin olive oil
  • cup of  water
  • food coloring and something to stir it in with
  • an eye dropper

Here’s Nibsy with all our science equipment:

I let her pick the color she wanted to use, which as you can see was blue.  Any color will work as long as it is not the same color as the oil being used.

Hey Clara, do you want to do some science? 



Use the eyedropper to slowly add drops of the colored water to the jar of oil.  The oil will drop in little balls toward the bottom of the jar and gather there.

What’s THAT? I want to do that.  Can I do that too Mama?

Clara used pink food coloring and despite initial trouble working the eyedropper, she experimented too.

Shake it up!

We put on the lids (make sure they fit tight and are screwed on to prevent being sloshed with colored oily water) and shook them to mix up the oil and water.  And they separated right back again.

And what if we add dishwashing detergent?

Emulsification will save the nation: two immiscible liquids mixed together.

And there you have it, a simple science experiment using some everyday household items.


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