• 1.800.860.6272
  • Shopping Cart

    There are 0 items in your cart.

    You have no items in your shopping cart.

    Cart Subtotal: $0.00

    Home / Science projects / Color-Change Tricks + Video
    • Color-Change Tricks + Video

      Color-Change Tricks + Video

      Magic show or chemistry lab? Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference! Chemical reactions often produce spectacular color changes that appear to happen just by magic. Now is your chance to put some tricks up your sleeve and wow your friends with scientific sleight of hand.

      (Note: Some of the chemicals used in these projects can be hazardous if misused. Use caution when working with chemicals! Read the information on the chemical label before you start, and always wear protective safety equipment such as goggles, gloves, and aprons. Adult supervision required.)

      Trick 1 - Confounding Color

      Can you get a liquid to change color simply by pouring it into another container?

      See this experiment in action before you try it!

      What You Need:

      What You Do:

      • Put 25 drops of universal indicator into the first flask, and then add 200ml of water.
      • In the second flask, put a dropper-full of vinegar.
      • Add a dropper-full of ammonia to the third flask. (Be very careful not to breathe in the strong fumes from the ammonia!)
      • Put 100ml of vinegar in the fourth flask.
      • Slowly pour the contents of the first flask into the second one, then the second into the third and the third into the fourth.

      What Happened:

      The secret of this magic color change is pH. Chemicals with a low pH (0-6) are acidic, while those with a high pH (8-14) are basic. (A pH of 7 is neutral: neither acidic nor basic.) Universal indicator is a chemical that changes color in the presence of acids and bases from a pH of 2 to 10. Acids turn the indicator red, pink, orange, and yellow, while bases turn it green, blue, and purple. Vinegar is an acid, so when you poured the indicator solution into the second flask, it turned red. Ammonia is a base, so when you mixed the acidic vinegar solution with ammonia, it raised the pH and the water turned blue. If you had enough vinegar in your last flask, the solution should have turned red again. (If it didn't, try adding a little more vinegar.)

      Trick 2 - Mystery Pitcher

      Can you pour red "kool-aid" out of a pitcher of water? Try it out and impress your audience - just don't drink the finished product!

      Check out our project video to see this trick in action!

      >> Get our Chemistry Magic Tricks Kit to do this project and 11 more!


      What You Need:

      What You Do:

      1. In the first glass put a little less than 1/8 teaspoon of sodium carbonate, in the second put 6 drops of phenolphthalein solution, and in the third put three droppers-full of vinegar.
      2. Add a few drops of water to the first glass and stir to dissolve the sodium carbonate.
      3. Fill all the glasses with water from the pitcher, then pour all of them back in the pitcher except for the glass with vinegar.
      4. Refill the remaining four glasses - the water will be red!
      5. Now pour all five glasses back in the pitcher. Refill the glasses one last time — the liquid will be colorless again!

      What Happened:

      Like the universal indicator, phenolphthalein is a pH indicator, but it only turns colors in reaction to bases. When you poured the four glasses back into the pitcher, the phenolphthalein reacted to the sodium carbonate, a base, and turned the solution to red "kool-aid." To change it back to "water," all you had to do was add the acidic vinegar, which turned the phenolphthalein colorless again.

      For a complete set with 12 cool chemistry tricks you can do at home, check out our Chemistry Magic Tricks Kit >>

      Buy Color-Changing Experiment Kit

      testing for starch kit

    « Previous Article: Soap Boat Project

    Next Article: Invisible Inks »

    « Previous Article: Storms

    Next Article: Ocean Animals Worksheet »


    By: sushya
    Date: Feb 24, 2016

    it’s marvellous but i could’nt get the universal indicator with PH 2-10 . i got it with PH 4-11…...

                              would it work with it?

    By: sushya
    Date: Feb 24, 2016

    it’s marvellous but i could’nt get the universal indicator with PH 2-10 . i got it with PH 4-11…...

                              would it work with it?

    By: Josh
    Date: Aug 04, 2015

    Hey would this work with could ammonia say like 2%

    [HST adds:  Household ammonia is generally 2-10% depending on the brand.  If the percentage isn’t listed on the bottle, you should be able to find out on the MSDS/SDS information that would be available on the manufacturer’s website.  Hope this helps!]

    By: Natalie Howard
    Date: Apr 07, 2015

    Very fun experiments and simple. Allow for lots of inquiry for homeschooling students

    By: Rethna Balan
    Date: Jan 10, 2015

    I like this colour changing tricks in home science tools

    its marvellous


    Date: Jan 08, 2015

    chemical science

    By: Ayman
    Date: Sep 30, 2014

    I really loved ! watching your video but ,to tell you the truth I already knew the mystery behind it.  Ha ha ha…,,,,!!!


    By: ajia waters
    Date: Sep 30, 2014

    hi my name is ajia waters and i am in 6th greade i am entering in a science fair in a few weeks i am doing a project on the universal indicator
    id like to know where did you buy the universal indicator it would really help me out thank.