Chromatography Ghost 👻

Happy October scientists! We decided to make this October spooky by doing a few Halloween themed experiments. Today we played with chromatography and made ghosts. Give it a try with your little scientist today!


  • Washable Markers (Any brand)
  • Mini Spray Bottle (2 oz works great)
  • Coffee Filters
  • Scissors
  • Recommend: Waterproof Tablecloth and Paper Towels
  • Optional Crafting Supplies (Glue sticks, string, etc.)


  1. Cut one coffee filter into a ghost shape. My little scientist decided to reuse the cuts to make arms for his ghost.
  2. Draw a face on your ghost using washable markers (open circles work well to see the different colors)
  3. Spray a few sprays of water onto the coffee filter, you want it damp not soaked. **You can always add a bit more water if needed but you can’t save your art if you add to much.**
  4. Set aside to dry, and admire your artwork.

Talking Points

The three primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) are used to make all other colors. In this investigation we found out the most washable markers are created using other colors (Combinations of the primary colors). Our experiment used a technique called chromatography, Chromatography is a technique used to separate a solution, in our case the washable markers.

The Visible Light Spectrum are the colors of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. White is created when all of the colors are reflected (bounced back) at once. Black is created from the absorption (taking in) or absence of all the colors. The secondary colors (purple, orange, and green) are created by combining two of the primary colors together.

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