Karo Syrup Color Mixing

January 2010 training 063

At a recent training with teachers involved in the PNC Grow Up Great with Science grant, we explored the properties of liquids and some unconventional ways to experiment with color mixing. Karo syrup provides a unique experience, because the colors don’t mix immediately but instead slide over one another creating a variety of shades and patterns and sometimes allowing the primary colors to re-emerge. If you are looking for an activity that is mesmerizing, try this one out. Just look how transfixed these teachers are!

Materials: Karo Syrup, Food Coloring, Large Waxed Paper Plate


  • Put a large drop of Karo Syrup in the middle of a paper plate.
  • Add one drop of yellow, one of red, and one of blue food coloring on opposite edges of the syrup. 
  • As the child holds the plate vertically and lets the syrup run, the colors begin to mix and make other colors. 
  • Keep turning the plate so that the syrup does not drip off. 
  • What colors do you see? Can you make any new colors?
  • Turn it again. Do you see any of the colors you started with?