A STEAM project includes many elements of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. In this fun STEAM project, mix science and art by creating mystery paint drawings. Talk to your kids about the science behind how the mystery paint STEAM activity while they do this activity. Try other ways to make the hidden image too, like baking soda and water, lemon juice, or vinegar! Which method produces the clearest picture after the painting is finished?
MATERIALS NEEDED FOR THE MAGIC MYSTERY PAINT STEAM ACTIVITY:
Reveal hidden designs and secret messages with this fun mystery paint STEAM activity!
You need a few supplies for this activity:
Draw a design onto the paper with a white crayon. The thicker lines you make the better. Really press the crayon into the paper deeply. You want to make sure that your design is fully coating the paper where you have lines drawn.
Paint the rest of the paper lightly with watercolor paints or dot markers. The darker colors work best to create a high-contrast image and reveal the hidden painting below.
Let the painting dry. The wax design won’t show completely until the paper is fully dry.
Show off your mystery paint drawing!
THE STEAM LESSON
A white crayon is made mostly of wax. When you color the white crayon on a white piece of paper, you can’t see the design. But when you add a watercolor paint over it, the wax prevents the color from soaking into the paper where the drawing was created, which reveals the hidden wax design when the rest of the paper is colored in. This experiment works best with high contrast colors. Watercolors, dot markers, and any other form of water-based paint will work, but acrylic paints and kids washable paint are too thick to reveal the design and will just color the wax.