Cabbage Inks

Introduction 

For thousands of years, people have used colors from nature to create art. Many plants have natural pigments, and the one in red cabbage is very special- it can change color when it is mixed with ingredients from your kitchen. In this activity you will use acids (like lemon juice) and bases (like baking soda) to turn red cabbage into homemade paints in an array of colors. Then dry your custom watercolors and use them for months!

Design Challenge

Create your own colorful watercolor paints using pigments from red cabbage. Then paint a piece of art!

Subject

Biodesign, Chemistry, Art

Ages

8+

Time

Extract: 1½ hours

Mix & make colors: 30 min

Dry: 1-3 days

Create: 30 min

Key Concepts

Biological pigments, pH, acids and bases, watercolors

This activity was made possible by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), Grant Number R25 GM129220, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

Send Some Halloween Love!

No parties, no problem! Can we keep the spirit of the season and send a friend  a fun card? Make your own Cabbage Inks palette and paint a pumpkin patch, spooky scene or friendly ghost and mail it to Grandma or anyone who could use a little fall pick me up.

Want a challenge?

JUMP IN!

Draw a food rainbow, using fruits and veggies as your inspiration!

Want a challenge?

REWARDING & FLEXIBLE

Create your own colorful watercolor paints using pigments from red cabbage. Then paint a piece of art!

Want a challenge?

DESIGN CHALLENGES AHEAD!

After trying your first set of paints, make another batch with different ingredients or ratios. Can you get paints with a different look and feel? You can also try for more colors with different acids and bases!

Don’t miss an activity! Subscribe today. 

Were these resources helpful?

Leave our educators a tip!

When The Tech Interactive closed, our team set out to bring as many activites found in our building to the home. If you’d like to support these efforts, please consider making a gift.

Help us improve! 

  • Grey Instagram Icon
  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Pinterest Icon