Marker Chromatography

  • Due No due date
  • Points _
  • Questions 4
  • Time Limit None


With a coffee filter and water, you can see the different colors that make up your markers!

Your Instructor: College of Science

Difficulty: Medium

Length of Activity: 30 Minutes 

Parental Warnings: Scissor use


  • Coffee filters
  • An assortment of washable (not permanent) markers 
  • Water
  • Tall water glasses
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Binder Clips

Follow Along Below

Written Instructions (Printable PDF)

  1. Cut 1x4” rectangles out of your coffee filters.
  2. Using a pencil, draw a line across the width of the rectangle about 1cm from the bottom.
  3. In the middle of this line, draw a medium sized circle with a marker of your choice.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for however many markers you want to test.
  5. Fill your glasses with just enough water to cover the bottom of the filter but not touch the marker dot.
  6. Clip a binder clip to the top of your filter and hang the clip on your pencil. (Note: you may need to adjust where you clip the filter depending on how tall your glasses are.)
  7. Slowly lower the filter into the water. Watch as the water climbs the coffee filter bringing some of the marker pigments with it!