Get ready to make a mess — and learn about science in the process. This paint spinner project illustrates centrifugal force — the energy of an object trying to go in a straight line when it cannot — to create an abstract design.
Paint Art Spinners
• Old CDs
• Marbles or beads
• Marker cap
• Hot-glue gun and glue sticks
• Paint in squeeze bottles
• Large, flat-bottomed container or plastic bin with sides (see tip)
• Paper towels
• Masking tape, optional
1. Hot glue a marble or bead in the center hole of the CD. Flip the CD and hot glue a marker cap in the center. Let dry.
2. Alternately, if the marker cap falls through the hole in the CD, glue the marker cap to the marble. Slide the marker/marble into the center of the CD and anchor it in place with masking tape.
3. Repeat to make multiple tops, if desired.
4. Place the large container on flat ground or on a floor that can be paint-splattered.
5. Spin a top in the container.
6. As it’s spinning, squeeze paint onto the rotating spinner and watch the color spin and fly outward.
7. Continue adding different colors and watch the patterns of splattered paint as well as the path of the spinning top.
Tips: The paint needs to be fairly runny. If it’s too thick, thin with a few drops of water. Keep paper towels handy to wipe off the marker cap handle if it gets slippery with paint. The plastic container will help keep the paint contained. Even so, it’s best to do this project outdoors or in a location that can get dirty.
The science behind it
Centrifugal force describes the tendency of an object following a curved path to fly away from the center point. When you drop paint on a spinning top, it lands on the CD and flies outward, away from the center.
The art behind it
Action painting is a style of abstract painting in which paint is randomly splashed, thrown or poured on the canvas. It was made famous by Jackson Pollock, and formed part of the more general movement of abstract expressionism.