How to Grow a Rainbow – DIY Rainbow Paper Towel Experiment for Kids

Did you know that you can grow a rainbow at home? You certainly can!

All you need is some paper towels and markers.

I will show you how easy it is to grow a rainbow.

Let’s dive right in.

grow a rainbow paper towel experiment

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DIY Rainbow Paper Towel Experiment

Rainbow Myth

There are many myths about rainbows. Many cultures believed it was the pathway to god.

In Japan, they called rainbows ” The floating bridge to heaven” in North America “Pathway of Souls”.

The most popular myth is from Ireland. Were they believed that at the end of every rainbow is a pot of gold hidden protected by a mischievous mythical creature the gold guard.

While doing this magical science craft, I used the chance to tell all about them.

You can find those and more here.

It also provides you a good possibility to teach your children fun facts about rainbows. For example how they are formed or things they did not know before.

Depending on your kid’s age you can easily adjust the amount and difficulty level of knowledge you are providing them.

Rainbow Books

Another good way of getting them excited about this easy growing a rainbow activity is to read a book about rainbows. Make a trip to the library or take a look at those cute books:

Rainbow Pattern

If you like to do this project with smaller kids I recommend using the time to teach about colors. With help of the rainbow pattern they can learn their color and with their own rainbow drawing it helps manifest them.

The rainbow colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

But let’s take a look at what you will need for this fun rainbow steam activity:

How to Grow a Rainbow

Here a tip up front: For small toddlers, I recommend you to prepare this rainbow art project by yourself and just watch it together.

Nevertheless you will need the following materials for your very own grow a rainbow experiment:


  • kitchen paper
  • markers
  • 2 Glasses
  • water
rainbow experiment supplies

This might be interesting for you too:
Eggshell Art
DIY Colored Rice Recipe
Toddler Safe Playdough Recipe


Simply follow this step by step tutorial for your grow a rainbow experiment or scroll down to print the instructions.

Step 1: Prepare the glasses

Fill both classes all the way up with water.

Step 2: Cut your paper towel

Then adjust the paper towel width to your classes with a scissor.

Step 3: Draw your rainbow pattern

Afterward, paint the rainbow pattern on both ends of the paper towel the kitchen paper. Make sure both sides are identical. Do not use permanent markers!

rainbow science experiment

Step 4: Place your rainbow art in the water

When step 3 is done, put one end of the colored paper towel in one glass and the opposite end in the other glass. Make sure both ends of the paper are in the water.

grow a rainbow paper towel experiment

Step 5: Grow a rainbow

The preparation is finished. Now it is time to have fun and watch the magic, your rainbow will start to grow.

grow a rainbow science experiment

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Knowledge and Fun Facts About Rainbows

  • Did you know rainbows appear as multiple colored arcs but in fact, they are full circles?
  • Rainbows are not an object, they can not be approached or touched.
  • They are formed when the sun shines on raindrops and the light bents.
  • Two people never have seen the same rainbow.
  • Rainbows also form when sunshine meets mist, fog, spray, and dew.
  • Every rainbow has 7 colors.
  • ROYGBIV is a good way of memorizing them. The rainbow colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue indigo, and violet.
  • Did you know rainbows can be created by the moon? I never saw one, it is possible but absolutely rare. They are called “moonbow”.

Those and more facts about rainbows can be found here.


Overall my kids loved this rainbow science experiment and were fascinated to see their own rainbow grow.

We designated an afternoon of fun, learning about rainbows, and spending quality time together.

Prior to the project, we went to the library searching for rainbow-related books and I read them while the kids did their project. We talked about how rainbows are formed, learned about the different colors in the rainbow patterns, and all the amazing facts about them.

They also loved to hear all the different legends from all over the world. In the evening they showed daddy proud their activity and told them all about the facts they learned.

Now each time they see a rainbow they smile and remember our fun water rainbow experiment and like to repeat this cool marker paper towel experiment.

This science craft was a full success and is also suitable for classroom settings. It definitely makes the perfect preschool magic activity during a rainbow theme preschool week!

Pin This Fun Rainbow Science Experiment

Don’t forget to save this rainbow art on Pinterest for later and be sure you are following along with Lil Tigers here.

I hope you enjoyed this rainbow experiment with water. Don’t forget to leave a comment below and add a picture to let me know how your kids liked it.
I love to hear from you!

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How to grow your own rainbow

grow your own rainbow

DIY rainbow project for kids

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Difficulty easy


  • paper towl
  • markers
  • 2 jars or 2 glasses
  • water


  1. Fill both glasses up with water.
  2. Cut paper towels to the with of your containers.
  3. Paint rainbow stripes on both ends of the paper tissue.
  4. Put each end of the paper towel in a diffrent glas.
  5. Watch your rainbow grow.

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