Fireworks in a Jar

If you have a little one who is fascinated with colors and fireworks, this simple experiment is for you (and your child).  The idea for this experiment originally came from Action Pack.  You most likely have everything you already need in your cupboard for these fireworks in a jar:  oil, water, and food coloring!  If you haven’t already, be sure to download my FREE Fascinating Science for Kids eBook with this experiment and 14 equally-engaging others!


1.  Fill your jar 3/4 of the way full with warm water.

2.  In a separate bowl, mix a 3-4 tablespoons of oil and several drops of different colors of food coloring (I used 4 drops of each color:  red, yellow, blue, and green).

3.   Use a fork to gently mix the oil and food coloring together.

4.  Gently pour the oil mixture into the jar.

5.  Watch what happens—the food coloring will slowly sink out of the oil and into the water.  When this happens, it will expand and begin to mix with the other colors.

The Science Behind It:

Food coloring dissolves in water but not in oil.   Because the oil is less dense than the water, it will float at the top.  The colored droplets will begin to sink because they are heavier than the oil.  Once they sink into the water, they will begin dissolving into the water (which looks like a tiny explosion).

Download your free Science eBook with this idea and many others by clicking below and entering your e-mail address.  You’ll immediately receive an e-mail that will have the link to the eBook!  If you would rather not be an e-mail subscriber, “like” us on Facebook and then send us a private message to claim your FREE eBook.


  1. says

    How cool is that? I love the idea, and being so close to Memorial Day, with my little ones not being old enough to stay up to see the fireworks – got to try it!

    So glad I stumbled upon your cute blog – your newest follower!

  2. says

    I’m thrilled my wife and I discovered this website. Let me give you my appreciation for making the effort to put it all together.. I have saved it so we can be sure to find it again in the future.

  3. Jennifer says

    I must have done something wrong, not sure what though, I followed it step by step. Once I poured our oil and food coloring into the jar of water, a sea of blue was made.

    • Katie says

      The same thing happened to us! We tried it several times. We could still see the “fireworks” exploding in the blue water, but it was difficult to see.

    • Dawn Peterson says

      we also had the same problem. water became too dark almost instantly. We even tried it a second time with less of the darker colors

  4. Elana says

    We couldn’t really get this to work very well. The colors just mixed together and made kind of a mess of mixed colors. We did it several times. Once all the water turned blue. Most other times it was kind of a dark bluish green. We did get a few bubbles to pop that looked kind of like it was working. Our 24-month old still thought it was beautiful but our 4 year-old kept asking when the fireworks were going to happen and kept going back to the jar, even after we dumped out the water.

    • Kelly says

      Try using cooler/cold water. Same thing happened here. Tried with cold water and worked HEAPS better.

  5. Ashley says

    I tried this and it didn’t work?? What oil do you use??? one thing that worked is if you stir it with a fork you get a tornado.

  6. Amanda says

    We just tried this, this morning it was really good! my daughter (2) loved it. I used vegetable oil and it worked fine, i didnt measure the amount i just poured until i thought there was enough. The second time i only used two drops of blue and it was better cause we could see the other colours more. Thanks for sharing this idea.

  7. Kylie says

    Every time after we mix the oil and food colouring into the jar of warm Warter it just becomes black straight away? How do I stop that to get the coloured effect?

    • says

      It is a quick reaction, so it won’t stay “fireworks” for very long. I’m not sure why it is happening so fast for you, though. You could try altering the amount of oil you use or the water temperature?

  8. Sara says

    A nice idea, to do with the kids on new years eve, I don’t really like fireworks. But this makes a nice little homemade firework experiment. I guess we just have to make the sound effects ourselves :)

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