Hand holding measuring cup, pouring milk on a plate

Dairy science

Add color to dairy in this fun experiment

What’s the most Minnesotan thing you can think of?

If it involves the State Fair, dairy, or science—you’re in for a fun time! This milk art activity is all about the science of milk and why it acts the way it does.

Learn alongside the current Princess Kay of the Milky Way and a past Princess runner-up, Yvonne, as they examine why milk fat helps transfer colors and what that means for humans who drink or eat milk products.

Try it at home

What you will need

  • 1/2 cup of whole milk

  • Food coloring: red, yellow, blue

  • 2 cotton swabs

  • Dish soap

  • Plate (not paper)

Step 1: Start with a plate

  • Grab your plate and the milk

  • Pour half a cup of whole milk onto the plate

Step 2: Add color

  • Now add one drop of each of the three colors of food coloring—red, yellow, and blue—to the milk close together in the center of your plate

Step 3: Use the swab to create swirls

  • Place the swab in the center of the plate with the drops

  • Did anything happen here? What will change if you add soap to the cotton swab?

  • Dip the cotton swab in soap and put it back in the middle of the milk for 10 seconds

  • After 10 seconds, move the swab around slowly. You should start seeing swirling colors!