Try this super spooky and creepy twist on marker chromatography when you make coffee filter ghosts using chromatography!
This chromatography experiment for kids is a blast at Halloween!
Ghost experiments to do at home are so much fun! (and you can do them in the classroom, too!)
“Ghosts are spooky. I love them,” my preschooler informs me.
My daughter is a one-of-a-kind girl, and is absolutely in love will everything spooky and creepy.
In part due to my daughter’s extreme love of all things creepy, this Halloween, we’ve made it our mission to do as many fun Halloween STEM activities as possible.
How to Make Coffee Filter Ghosts
When my daughter told me she loves ghosts, I knew there was a way to make her ghostly obsession into a STEAM activity that would be both educational and adorable!
I love how the ghost chromatography experiment turned out, and it is not only fun for at-home projects, but it is also classroom-friendly!
Don’t miss the complete list of Halloween science experiments!
Kids will love transforming this coffee filter chromatography experiment into a ghostly Halloween decoration!
Spooky Ghost Chromatography Experiment for Kids Science Explanation
Markers are made up of a bunch of colors, particularly black.
When you suspend the coffee filter in alcohol, it slowly separates each of the colors contained in the black ink, revealing that black is really made up of a bunch of fun colors!
Chemists use chromatography to separate colors of differnet materials and substances and also use the strips to prove what substances are made of and mixed with.
You can use coffee filters like we did, or you can purchase official chromatography strips.
There are also chromatography papers you can purchase to repeat this experiment exactly, just with the real paper!
How to Make Chromatography Ghosts
Follow along with these directions to make your own ghosts from coffee filters!
You may be surprised at what colors are hiding in a black marker!
What you will need to make coffee filter ghosts:
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- Black permanent marker
- Rubbing Alcohol
- White coffee filters
- Mason jars
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If you love this Halloween STEM activity, check out this list of Halloween STEM activities for middle school!
How to Do the Ghost Chromatography Experiment
Flatten the coffee filter.
Draw several black circles around the middle of the coffee filter, but not the very middle. You don’t want the ink to ever touch the alcohol directly.
Fill a mason jar about half-way with rubbing alcohol.
Fold the coffee filters into a triangle shape with the middle pointing down.
Let the very tip of the coffee filter just graze the surface of the alcohol. Use a clothespin to hold in place.
Leave the coffee filter in the rubbing alcohol for 24 hours, or until the liquid works its way to the edge of the coffee filter.
Take out the coffee filter and let it dry.
Admire the pretty colors.
Fold the center of the coffee filter around a pom pom and twist the filter to hold the head in place.
Draw on a ghost face with a permanent marker.
Your chromatography ghosts are done!