How to Draw on Water Using Dry Erase Markers (Dancing Drawings)

Amazing Physics science activity to teach kids about density! The magical ingredient in dry-erasers makes ‘floating pictures’ off your child’s drawing board. Sounds impressive?

In this activity, we are going to make the drawing objects float using just 2-3 simple ingredients. Also, this is a great indoor activity that reveals the magic of dry-erasers.

Dancing Drawings on Water

Objective: To teach children how dry-erasers work and about density.

Materials Required

1) Ceramic Plate

2) Water

3) Dry-Erase Markers (Make sure you are using new ones)

4) Straw

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That’s it, it is very easy to gather these supplies to conduct this super cool science activity. Since this activity requires very few supplies and takes a minute to set-up, kids will love to do it again and again.

Duration to conduct this Activity: 5 minutes to 10 minutes


What do you think how the writings of markers on the white board are able to erased easily? Even if we write anything on glass, ceramic, etc. the marker writings are easily erased without the witnessing any tiny mark. Ask your children to do their own guesses. A science teacher may answer this question perfectly. However, we are going to do a simple investigation that reveals a great demonstration about dry-erasers.

Instructions to Make Floating Pictures

Here are the simple step-by-step instructions to follow in order to make pictures dance in the water. Have a look!

Step-1: The first important step is to check whether your picked markers are suitable for this science activity.

Step2: Second, you need to keep a small mark on the ceramic plate and add water to it. Observe carefully whether the mark is going off the plate. If the mark floats, then your markers are perfect to perform this simple science activity.

Step-3: Now, let your children draw their own drawings on the ceramic plate. A small tip to hold the color together is to fill the drawing completely without any breaks. Of course, the simple line drawings also work but not effective as complete color filling drawings. See the pictures attached to get an idea on how to draw pictures on ceramic plate.

Step-4: The next step is to add some water on to the plate where there are drawings of markers. You can use normal or warm water to pour on to the plate. You will see the drawings getting separated from the surface, coming alive, and floating on the top of water.

Step-5: When the drawings start dancing on the water, ask your child to blow the floating pictures using a straw. Kids enjoy this floating pictures experiment while learning simple science behind dry-erasers.

Extension Tips

Here are a couple of tips that help to extend this science activity.

1) Try to place a paper on the floating drawings and check whether the dancing pictures get attached to the paper again. If yes, then observe the drawings are attached in the same way they are drawn or there is any disturbance.

2) Try to draw pictures or drawings of any objects using other types of pens such as sketches, felt-tip pens, ball point pens, sparkling pens, ink pens, normal markers, etc.

3) Try using different types of waters like soda water, sparkling water, ice cold water, etc. And check whether these waters also make the drawings float on top of the water.

Try our other density science experiments:

9 Layer Density Tower
Hot & Cold Water Science Experiment
Create Fireworks in Water & Oil
Make a Lava Lamp at Home

What are the questions to be asked during or after the experiment?

It is always fun having discussions on the magical ingredients that make the experiment work at its best. And it is highly recommended to children to make observations and record data during science investigations. Such that children would be able to make out what factors are causing the success of the activity they have done. So, I have included a few questions that help you to discuss with your child during and after experiment.

1) Do you observe any specific color that makes the drawing float faster when compared to other colors?

2) What is that drawing surface on which the pictures gets separated so easily?

3) Among color filled drawings and line drawings, which one floats faster?

4) Is it possible to pick up the floating pictures?

5) In what way the temperature of water effect the results of the experiment?

Science Behind This Simple Activity?

Mainly, the science behind ‘Draw on Water Using Dry Erase Markers’ activity is associated with dry erasers. Yes, let us see how?

Dry erasers are made of minimal adhesive inks so that the drawings made are easily wiped off from the solid surfaces. Also, the ink used in dry erasers is kind of plastic i.e. a polymer. Therefore, when it is written on the solid surfaces, the ink is turned in to a solid film. And this solid film has the magical power of not dissolving in water plus does not wish to secure itself by sticking strongly to the surface. That is the reason, when we pour water to the ceramic plate, the drawings get easily separated off the plate.

The science between water and dry erase markers

In this activity, water also plays major role to lift the drawings off the plate. The water is denser than the solid film formed by the ink of dry erase markers when drawn on the plate. Therefore, when the water is spread under the drawings, it can easily lift off the lesser dense solid film drawings.

The Science Facts about Dry Erasers and Permanent Markers

Permanent markers use the ink that is favourable to stick strongly when written on any surface. That means the ink used here is strongly adhesive in nature so it will not come off easily from the surface. Whereas the dry erasers use minimal adhesive inks that are easily wiped off from any surface.

The Science behind Insoluble Inks

The nature of ink used to make dry erase markers is absolutely insoluble that means it cannot dissolve in water. And also becomes less dense compared to the density of water. So, when you draw on a smooth surfaced ceramic plate, the ink stays insoluble with lesser density. And when the water slipped under these drawings the thick solid film formed by the ink gets off the smooth surface. This happens because of the formation of buoyancy force which makes drawings to dance or float on top of the water.


Why does dry erase marker float in water?

When the pictures are drawn on any smooth surfaced object using dry erase markers, the ink becomes a thick solid film. This film is insoluble and less dense in nature. Since the water poured is denser than the ink, there happens the formation of strong buoyancy force. This is the force which makes the drawing easily lifted by the water. In this way, dry erase markers float in water.

What is a floating marker called?

A floating marker is called a buoy. This directs the places where the boats are tied up, presence of submerged dangers, etc.

What surfaces do dry erase markers work on?

The surfaces on which the dry erase markers work at its best include ceramic plates, mirrors, glasses, metals, etc. Because all these are of non-porous surfaces which makes the ink of dry erase markers lift off easily. The dry erase markers ink can easily tint the leaky porous surfaces. So, it is recommended to check the surface type if you are using dry erase markers on it.

How do you get a stickman to move in water?

You need to gather a smooth surface, water, and a dry erase marker to get a stickman to move in water. Draw the picture of stickman on the smooth surfaced object (whatever you have picked). Then, pour warm water on to the plate. When the water slips under the drawing, it lifts up the stickman’s solid film formed by the ink of dry erase marker. Finally, you can see your stickman floating on top of the water.

How to draw a floating person?

Take a dry erase marker and draw a floating man on the smooth surface. Firstly, draw a neat circle and give a vertical line attached at one side of the circle. Then, give hands and legs by drawing slanting lines to the vertical line. A pair of slanting lines at the joining point of vertical line to the circle and the other pair at the end of the vertical line. That’s it! You are done with drawing a floating man.

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