Are you interested in creating beautiful rainbow paper with simple products at home?

We have the perfect science experiment for you!


  • Clear Nail Polish

  • Bowl of Water

  • Small squares of black construction paper (approx. 2x3 or any variation)


In the bowl of water pour a drop of clear nail polish. You can use the brush for a few drops or pour straight from the bottle. We did both.


Quickly dip the paper into the water and pull it out. The nail polish should attach to the paper, creating a small film which is called thin film interference.

Place the paper on a plate or baking sheet to dry out. As it dries the colors will start to shine.

Science Fact: Light wave interference is when two waves travel through a medium and meet at the same location. When the light wave meets a medium, it travels in two directions. One part of the wave will reflect off the medium and the other part will transfer across it. If the medium is a thin film, the light wave does not have a long distance to transfer and will reach it’s new boundary quickly causing colors to intensify. We often see this oil settling on puddles or in a bubble.


As with every experiment there were good and bad parts. If you leave the nail polish in too long it will create a hard film sticking to the paper and not creating the same reflection. Be sure to dip the paper in quickly after the nail polish is added. The mess is all part of the fun of the science experiment!

Other things to experiment with:

  • Try putting the paper in first before dropping the nail polish in.

  • Try one bowl with cold water and one with hot water. Note if there is a difference.

  • Use different color construction paper.


Lots of Experiments (or mishaps)!