Build Your Own Magic Flowers

Build Your Own Magic Flowers

You will need:

  • A cut out of the paper flower (right)
  • Markers, pencils or crayons
  • A cup or bowl with a tablespoon or two of water.

Step 1: Using your favourite colours, decorate your flower cut out. You can even write a note or wish on the flower if it is a gift for someone special!

Step 2: Fold each of the petals into the centre of the flower. Start at the top and work clockwise around the flower. The petals should be overlapping (like in the picture below).

Step 3: Place your flower gently into the water and enjoy watching it reveal your decorated flower!


Why does the flower unfold in the water? Some colours will run in the water. How could you use this to create a special pattern?

What’s happening?

Your magic flower reacts to being placed in the water due to a phenomenon known as capillary action. Capillaries are tiny tubes which can be found in materials like wood, paper, and the human body! Capillaries exist in your paper because it is made up of woven fibres which draw water in very quickly! Plants use this capillary action to absorb water from the soil through their roots. When your paper absorbs water, it swells, and causes the petals of your flower to pop open! It is also the reason why paper wrinkles when it gets wet. If you fold your petals in a different sequence, it will cause the capillary action, and your opening petals, to work differently.


NOTE: This is a Street Science Original Activity and may be used only in publications with written permission of the Street Science Executive. For non-profit use only.

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