Chromatography Flowers for Mother’s Day

By May 10, 2020

Flowers have been synonymous with Mother’s Day from the very beginning. The first Mother’s Day in the U.S. was observed with a church service on May 10, 1908. In honor of her deceased mother who loved carnations, Anna Jarvis wore a pink carnation to the service. 112 years later, we continue to express our love and appreciation to the moms in our lives by giving them flowers on Mother’s Day.

However, this Mother’s Day, flowers are not as easy to come by as they have been in year’s past. If you’re unable to get to your local florist or grocery store to pick up a fresh bouquet or you waited too long to place that delivery order, there are alternatives. For example, how about a lovely bouquet of chromatography flowers? That’s right – chromatography flowers.

By following the steps below, you can not only share your Mother’s Day love, but you can also share your creativity and brainpower! If you’ve been watching our exciting new series, Waters STEM Live: The Science of What’s Possible for Kids, this is similar to our recent Pen Peculiarities experiment. 

Please enjoy and happy Mother’s Day from all of us at Waters!


  • White basket coffee filters 
  • Washable/Water soluble markers
  • Shallow cups/bowls 
  • Pipe cleaners/straws/popsicle sticks
  • Hair Blow dryer (optional)


  • Flatten your coffee filters
  • Create a design with the washable markers, leaving the middle open (see picture) ​.

  • Put the decorated coffee filter in a dish with a small amount of water.  Make sure the water is only touching the non-colored part otherwise colors will dissolve in the water.  You want the water to move the colors up the coffee filter creating a beautiful design!
  • Carefully remove the coffee filter from the bowl when the design gets almost 75% up to the top of the paper.

  • Optional but recommended, on the low setting, blow dry the paper to set colors.
  • Once the papers are completely dried, you can use one or combine two colored coffee filters to make a flower and then add a pipe cleaner for a stem.

Categories: Leadership