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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” and 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 and 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 with a good possibility to teach your children fun facts about rainbows. For example how they have 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 Pattern

If you like to do this project with smaller kids I recommend using the time to teach about colors.

With the help of the rainbow pattern, they can learn their color and their own rainbow drawing 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 is a tip upfront: For small toddlers, I recommend preparing this rainbow art project upfront and just letting them watch it.

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

Materials for Growing a Rainbow

rainbow experiment supplies

STEM Education has many benefits, read more about them here.
You might also enjoy our popular Dancing Grape Experiment, Fizzy Ice Project, learn how a Raincloud works, or enjoy our Rainbow Quotes.

Grow a Rainbow Instructions

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 on 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.

Paper Towel Rainbow Summary

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 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!

If you haven’t started a weather chart yet, this might be a good time to talk with your children about the weather and start observing it.
Simply print out our free Weather Chart and get started.

Are you ready to see a grow-a-rainbow experiment in action? Here’s a great video that demonstrates how it works!

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.

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’d love to hear from you!

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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