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Magic Milk Fireworks

Magic Milk Fireworks

January 23, 2020

July reminds us of fun summer celebrations, sunny days and of course, fireworks! In recognition of the July 4th holiday, this month’s experiment lets you create colorful “fireworks” in a simple bowl of milk while exploring chemistry. Get your camera ready!


  • Full Fat Milk
  • Flat Bottom Bowl or Baking Dish
  • Bowl for Dish Soap
  • Dawn Dish Soap
  • Qtips/Cotton swabs
  • Food Coloring


  1. Start by pouring milk into the bowl or baking dish, so the vessel is about half full.
  2. Add in drops of food coloring – use as many drops as you like in whatever colors you want!
  3. Squirt some Dawn dish soap into a separate bowl.
  4. Dip a cotton swab in the dish soap and coat the cotton tip.
  5. Next, gently touch the coated cotton swab to the milk with the drops of food coloring. What happens? What causes the change?
  6. You should see the colors burst and spread throughout the bowl, like fireworks in the milk!
  7. Every time you try this experiment, the colors and spread will be different!

That’s Neat! How Did That Happen?

What you are witnessing is a chemical reaction between the milk fat and the soap. Milk is made up of vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats. When the soap is added to the milk, it separates the proteins from the fats. The soap moves towards the fats and creates the color bursts you see on the surface. When the movement stops, you know all of the fat molecules have been found!