Colorful Dissolving Candy Kitchen Science

By Blog Editor Susan Wells 

There are several classic candy experiments making the rounds on the Internet, so I thought I’d try a few with the kids to see if they really worked.

Dissolving Gobstopper Experiment

First, we tried the Gobstopper experiment. This one is perfect for budding scientists who like to guess or hypothesize about what will happen before you start. Gobstoppers have at least four layers of different flavors, so this experiment gets really fun.

Start by filling a petri dish halfway full with water. Then add four different colored Gobstoppers on opposite sides. Observe what happens. The colors do not mix but instead create sharp edges and stop. This is a simple science fair experiment for young children – you can mix up the experiment or change the variables, by using different types of dissolving candies, like Skittles, Lifesavers, etc, different types of liquids like soda, milk, water, etc or by changing the temperature of the water. What will dissolve the candy faster? Cold or hot water?

This is also a fun activity to try using different amounts of candy. What happens where there are two or three in the dish? Does it still make colorful shapes?

Floating Letters Experiment

Next, we tested the edible ink on candies like M&M’s and Skittles. If you carefully drop the candies letter side up in water and wait. The candy shell dissolves but the ink does not. It floats to the top, usually intact.

Candy Chromatography

Colorful candies like Skittles are made with FD&C dyes, sugar and other substances. Chromatography is a technique used to separate different parts of a solution. It is used to identify chemicals, used to identify crime scene samples like blood or drugs and used to demonstrate the different dyes in your favorite candy.

In this experiment, you will dissolve the colored candy shell on M&M’s, Skittles or Gobstoppers, drop the colored water on filter paper and observe how far each color moves across the paper. This is also a fun and easy science fair experiment. You can compare the dyes in different candy shells to see if they are the same or different.

Water will travel through paper by a process called capillary action. As the water travels,it picks up particles and carries them through the paper. This is called paper chromatography.

Chromatography works because different parts of a solution, like the water-dye solution you drop on the filter paper, will move differently and at different rates. Some will “stick” to the paper fibers and not spend a lot of time traveling with the water, while others will travel in the water for greater distances. Different dyes will move varying distances.

Filter paper works well in this experiment, because it allows water to flow through it easily.

Thank you to for the Floating Letters experiment idea.

For complete step by step instructions and the science behind all three of these experiments, visit the Colorful Dissolving Candy Experiments page.



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Comments (18)

  • bob Reply

    this is cool

    October 10, 2012 at 7:55 pm
  • Loralee Reply

    Dissolving Gobstoppers is very fun, I’ve tried it as well. There’s an explanation for it in my upcoming book Candy Experiments, and you can find more candy experiments at my website,

    October 24, 2012 at 11:43 am
    • Shannon Reply

      I just purchased Loralee’s book. It has so many fun experiments with the explanations. Great resource for summer fun with my kiddos. Thank you!
      By the way, I love the Gobstopper experiment!! My kids love it, but so do my adult friends!!!

      July 18, 2014 at 9:40 am
  • Billy Reply

    Nice experiment I really want to try this

    February 19, 2013 at 3:10 pm
  • Emily Reply


    May 31, 2013 at 9:14 am
  • Victoria Reply

    Wonderful post. Thank you for the great ideas for my classroom. My kids will absolutely love these delicious Science experiments!

    November 11, 2013 at 10:01 am
    • Katie Yoon Reply


      October 6, 2014 at 3:19 pm
  • wilma kane Reply

    What will edible ink dissolve in?

    January 12, 2014 at 3:29 pm
  • Ana Reply


    May 9, 2014 at 12:39 pm
  • Katie Reply

    Cool ,that gave me ideas for my science project! Try doing in which drink does jolly rancher melt the fastest in !!!!!

    October 6, 2014 at 3:17 pm
  • Katie Yoon Reply


    October 6, 2014 at 3:18 pm
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    October 9, 2014 at 8:43 am
  • Lauren Reply

    love it!

    December 13, 2014 at 8:27 am
  • tyra Reply

    I love that

    December 13, 2014 at 8:33 am
  • Ryan Reply

    I need a COLORFUL candy such as gobstoppers or skittles to throw on snow, sand, the street, wherever, that must dissolve quickly so nobody has to cleanup. Any suggestions?

    April 1, 2015 at 6:59 pm
    • Susan Wells Reply

      I’d suggest Gobstoppers. They do dissolve fast and are very colorful. I’d also suggest doing a test to make sure it doesn’t stain or cause any other issues. Good luck!

      April 8, 2015 at 6:52 pm

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