This Color Spray science/art experiment was so simple that my preschoolers were able to replicate it at home easily, and so enthralling that it kept my text-addicted high school students away from their phones for a whole hour!

color spray science

I am super excited, I love my preschooler – but I have a houseful of them – and this year I am taking a break from them once a week and teaching a Art through Science course with our local home-school Co-op.   All of my students are potty-trained, they all can read… and they all have phones and most have taken their PSATs.

I love high-school kids!

Anyhoo, this was a science experiment I first did with them.   We attempted to replicate Kandinsky’s Circles while we watched the diffusion of color through alcohol.

Related: 50 Cool Science Fair Project Ideas for Elementary to High School Kids

Fun way to color a shirt {Preschool craft}
Supplies you will need:

  • Clean white T-Shirt – preshrunk
  • Collection of Permanent Markers
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Spray Bottle

How to Create Art – through Science:



Color circles and geometric shapes on your T-shirt with the permanent markers.   We tried to use contrasting colors in concentric rings, much like Kandinsky’s art of circles.

We love Kandinsky!

After you have your T-Shirt filled with colorful circles, fill your spray bottle with Rubbing alcohol and lightly mist the entire shirt, then squirt heavily in the middle of each circle.   Watch the alcohol spread the color through the fibers of the T-shirt fabric.


Dissolving Ink and Color Spray Science

If you are working with preschoolers, you will want to supervise them with the rubbing alcohol spray. They will feel so “big” as they see the product of their doodles explode with color!

Fun way to color a shirt {Preschool craft}

We did wash our shirts afterwards and the color faded slightly, so be sure to wash it with dark colored clothes the first time or two that your art shirt is laundered.   After the colors have set they will last for awhile!

Our shirt is still loved by my little artist and it has been several weeks since we created it together.

Did you know? We wrote a science book!

Our book, The 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments, features tons of awesome activities just like this one that will keep your kids engaged while they learn. How awesome is that?!

The 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments

Try building your own atom model!

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  1. This sounds like a lot of fun. What is the science part of it? Why does the alcohol make the marker migrate? Thx!

  2. If u iron the design with a dry hot iron before u launder it after it has dried it will not fade hardly at all if at all. Place a thin towel in between the iron and the design as not to scorch the shirt.

  3. Hi! Awesome idea! Do you think it would set with vinegar instead? Other projects that call for rubbing alcohol can be substituted with vinegar or vodka (like dying pasta or rice). What do u think? TIA

  4. Rubbing alcohol can be found in the cosmetic or medicine sections of most stores. It is used to treat wounds, remove stains, or clean. It’s not like liquor. We picked up our supplies tonight for the weekend. Onesies for the twins done by mom, toddler tees for my little ones and shirts for the teens. So excited to have something everyone will enjoy. Nice activity for outside in this warmer weather!

  5. Do you put the T-shirt over a piece of cardboard so the colors don’t bleed through? Also. Do you set the colors right after painting or after washed?

  6. If you put the shirts in the dryer for 30min. by themselves, not with another load, it will set the colors and they won’t fade as quickly. Also, the T-shirt needs to be 100% cotton. Different colors of light colored T-Shirts will work as well,