Make your Christmas STEM challenge ideas last when you make these erupting Christmas ornaments using baking soda and vinegar chemical reactions.
When it comes to mixing Christmas and science, you have to think outside the box a little bit. like with these chemistry ornaments!
My kids absolutely love making baking soda and vinegar eruptions, so I knew I wanted to incorporate it into our Christmas science experiments this season.
However, I didn’t want the experiment to just be a one and done sort of thing, so I tried to figure out a way to make the results last permanently.
Lucky for me (and you), this fizzing science Christmas ornaments was a total success!
How to Make Baking Soda and Vinegar Paintings on Ornaments!
You don’t need many ingredients to make your own fizzing paint Christmas science ornaments!
When you make erupting ornaments, the addition of the baking soda and vinegar painting (using acrylic paints), you can create really cool painted ornaments that last for years.
We first made our chemistry ornaments about 5 years ago, and they are still as good as new, so this method really works for creating long-lasting, science-themed ornaments for kids!
If you want a science activity that is a bit more STEAM-focused, then these chemistry christmas ornaments are perfect.
They are low-cost, easy-to-make, and are a fun way to add science into a craft activity!
Erupting Ornaments Science
The science behind these ornaments is the classic chemical reaction between a base (the baking soda) and an acid (the vinegar).
When these two ingredients mix, they create a chemical reaction that creates sodium acetate, which then gives off a by-product of carbon dioxide.
The carbon dioxide is a gas that is released and causes the reaction to bubble. Since carbon dioxide is lighter than air, bubbles form!
When you add acrylic paint to these chemistry ornaments, the acrylic paint bubbles and sticks to the sides of the ornaments, creating a unique design on the inside of the ornament.
It’s a fun way to mix art and science for the holiday season!
If you like these erupting ornaments, then you’ll also love the rest of these chemistry Christmas experiments!
Use our STEM extensions to scale this activity for preschool, elementary, or middle school!
What you’ll need for erupting Christmas ornaments:
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- Acrylic paint
- Baking soda
- Dish soap
- Pipettes (we love these things and use them all the time!)
- Mason jars
- Large tray (we use this one all the time)
- Plastic ornaments with detachable tops
How to Paint Christmas Ornaments with a Chemical Reaction
I let the girls pick two colors of paint each, because I wasn’t sure how the colors would mix as the experiment progressed.
Bo chose silver and green and Monkey chose sliver and red. They both also chose to add a sprinkle of glitter to their ornaments.
I set the ornaments upright in a mason jar and set them on the tray (this is to catch the drips).
The girls dropped the paint in (about a teaspoon of paint per ornament) and then I added a tablespoon of baking soda and a drop of dish soap on top of the paint.
The girls dipped their pipettes into the vinegar and gently squirted the baking soda with the vinegar.
They kept adding vinegar until the bubbles started to come out of the top.
I was afraid that too much vinegar would make all the paint leave the ornaments, but that didn’t seem to happen.
The girls didn’t flood the ornaments with vinegar, but they did put about four pipettes full of vinegar into each bottle.
When the foaming slowed, I took the science ornaments over to the trash and dumped out the vinegar.
We then turned the ornaments upside down over the mason jars and set them in a window to dry.
The next day, the ornaments looked like this and were perfectly dry.
The girls were so pleased to see the results of their experiments in paint form.