Exploding Art

A little Science, a little art & a whole lot of fun! ~ Paint Alka Seltzer Rockets

My kids love Science Experiments!  The kids recently went to a VBS where they brought home fun rockets.  The rockets were basically a film canister and a single Fizzy tablet…similar to the Alka Seltzer Rockets.  The main difference is that the Fizzy’s are colored.  This got me thinking that maybe we could use paint instead of water and create our own colorful exploding art.

Exploding Art ~ A little Science, a little art & a whole lot of fun!  Paint Alka Seltzer Rockets


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To make your own Paint Alka Seltzer Rockets your will need:

  • Film Canisters – One that has a tight fitting lid.  The clear ones were really cool to watch since you could see the paint as it built up pressure before the canister exploded.
  • Slightly watered down Tempera Paint.
  • Alka Seltzer Tablets
  • Large sheet of paper

Exploding Art ~ A little Science, a little art & a whole lot of fun!  Paint Alka Seltzer Rockets

Make sure you are doing this activity outside.  It is messy, but totally worth it.

  • Pour about a tablespoon of watered down tempera paint into your film canister.
  • Break the Alka Seltzer tablets into half.
  • Quickly drop 1/2 a tablet into the paint, tightly put on the lid and give it a quick shake.
  • Quickly place paint filled canister lid side down on your paper and stand back.

Exploding Art ~ A little Science, a little art & a whole lot of fun!  Paint Alka Seltzer Rockets


The film canister will potentially fly 20 feet in the air, so make sure you are in an open area.  Most of the paint will splatter on the paper, but not all of it.

Exploding Art ~ A little Science, a little art & a whole lot of fun!  Paint Alka Seltzer Rockets



You can see the lid left behind on the paper along with some of the Alka Seltzer tablet.  We did reuse the tablets as much as possible with pretty good results.

Exploding Art ~ A little Science, a little art & a whole lot of fun!  Paint Alka Seltzer Rockets


Notice the canister is basically void of paint and most of the main splatter is on the paper with a slight trail leading up.  Our paper looked like a massive firework display.  Love it!

Exploding Art ~ A little Science, a little art & a whole lot of fun!  Paint Alka Seltzer Rockets


This project was so much fun!  It got 2 thumbs up for everyone at our house.  Now I need to find the perfect wall for our beautiful new exploding art work.

Exploding Art ~ A little Science, a little art & a whole lot of fun!  Paint Alka Seltzer Rockets


For more fun experiments, check out our:

 Fizzy Paint Experiment 

Water Bottle Popper

Ivory Soap Experiment

Dancing Oobleck

Walking on Raw Eggs

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50 thoughts on “Exploding Art

  1. This is so awesome and I know my kids would love it! I had the same question as Alecia, I’ll have to check out that site. Thanks for linking with What little boys are made of! I featured it yesterday! Feel free to stop by and grab a button. :)

  2. I wish I had seen this before my daughter’s art party. We tried to get the same effect by throwing paint/water balloons at a giant canvas. It did not work nearly that well! Great job! I’d love for you to visit my linky party this weekend at at OneCreativeMommy.com.

  3. We did this activity this summer at a local park and it was great fun! I asked the photo center at a nearby drugstore if they had any extra film canisters just laying around and they gave me 10 of them for free!

  4. hey i love your blog and i am really excited to do some of your fun ideas with my little sister!
    i was just wondering if you could do some cute and colourful easy DIY for your bedroom! i think it would be really fun and i know that my sister and myself would definatly do them.

    thanks great job!!!!


  5. this looks fun, perhaps a photo shop will have the film canisters, or I was thinking of asking a pharmacy for clear plastic little pill bottles and snapping off the lid..I am going to test it out.

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  8. I called around and eventually found film canisters at a professional photo shop. They recycle them and had a huge bin that we could help ourselves to!
    LOVE this idea and can’t wait to try it our at our Art/Science birthday party! :)
    LOVE your fun creative ideas. Thank you so much for taking your precious time to share these with us!

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  13. Help I tried this but didn’t have much luck. I watered down the paint. I tried both acrylic and tempra. I tried it with a little paint and more paint. Id tried 1/2 tablet and 1 full tablet. I just don’t know what went wrong. I get a little spatter, but the canister doesn’t really go anywhere, but just falls to the side. WHAT am I doing wrong?

    • You need to make sure that the canisters lids are tight fitting. We had a few different types, and one typeworked better that the rest. The clear Fuji film canisters (saved from years ago) worked the best for us. Although not sure which brands are better if buying new. Hope that helps.

    • We used medicine containers from the pharmacy. They had to be the ones that are not kid safe locked. It worked beautifully and we had a blast!

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  16. Great Idea! I linked this idea to a post I created for alternative science experiments for Kingdom Rock VBS. I hope you’re getting visitors from our site!

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  18. Such a great idea and beautiful art! I have a possibly strange question: how much time do you have to move away before the canister explodes? I’m just wondering if it will get on your clothes before you have time to run! :) I’d like to try this while helping out at a summer camp! Thanks for posting!

    • Anna, I love that! This would be a great summer camp activity. Each canister is a little different depending on the amount of paint and how much of the tablet you place inside. However we never had any problem with them exploding before we were able to “duck and cover”. I would try it first before you did it with a large group since paint consistency can be a variable as well. Good luck and I would love to see pictures.

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  21. I love your idea’s. I have 2 grandson’s 9 and 11. I’m going to have so much fun with them for practically nothing. I can’t wait!!!

  22. I just wanted to thank you so much for your exploding art! I am a preservice Art Teacher, and I have my first prac in a couple of weeks, and I saw this blog and knew pretty much immediately that I wanted to use it to create some cool exploding artworks with the kids I’ll be teaching. My uni class mates loved it as well! I just finished one full art work that i’m going to use, and it uses the exploding art works to create fireworks beneath a sillouhette of Sydney Harbour. I tried it out with my friend’s kids on Sunday and they LOVED it! Thank you!

  23. Hey, this looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it out with my young nephews.
    Curious though- I am from New Zealand and I have never heard of ‘fizzy tablets’. Are you able to describe what these are or if there is anything similar?
    Thank you :)

  24. If you cannot find film canisters, an empty container from mini M&M’s works perfectly. They have tight-fitting snap on lids as well, and all the kids at our library’s summer book club did this project with beautiful results!

  25. I am a nanny for a 4 year old boy with high functioning autism and he absolutely loved this idea! I had to improvise on film canisters so I used the airborne tubes from the cold and flu section of the pharmacy. Worked just as well!! Thanks for the idea!!

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