Candy chromatography

Spots of MMs and Skittles dyes move on the paper

Scientific name: Chromatography of MMs and Skittles dyes


Chemistry Experiment - Using differents dyes ( M&M and Skittles )

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This is a safe experiment!

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.


  1. Water

Step-by-step instruction

  1. Take colored candies of different colors (for example "M&Ms" and Skittles). Put each candy in a drop of water. Dyes will dissolve in water.
  2. Cut two strips of filter paper and draw lines on the narrow sides of the strips using a pencil.
  3. Put drops of dissolved dyes on the filter paper strips (on the drawn lines). Each dye should be put on a paper separately.
  4. Pour some water into a beaker.
  5. Secure each strip so that the side of paper with dyes touches the water. Then wait some minutes.
  6. Look at the position of the dye spots after the experiment.

Scientific background

Various food dyes consist of various substances. When the side of the filter paper touches the water, it moves up the paper due to capillary action. The dyes are transferred by the water with different rates. The rate depends on solubility of the dyes in water and sorption of the dyes on the paper. If the dye is a mixture of different substances, they separate to different spots on the paper.

You may use other solvents (alcohol or something else) for this experiment.


Published on 02 September 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst