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Aug 17

Magic Potions You Can Make at Home

Posted on August 17, 2020 at 4:08 PM by Jenny Levins

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Our staff at the Harmony Branch Library got a little potion crazy during Summer Reading, and are excited to share their kid-friendly concoctions with you.

Foaming Potions

The first experiment magic potion we have to share with you is a magic foaming potion. This potion can get a little messy, so our wizards on staff recommend that you do this either outside, or with a large tray underneath that can catch the foam.

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You will want to begin by filling a jar or cup that is easy to pour from with vinegar, and then adding in a few drops of the food coloring. Your proportions will depend on the size of your potion bottle; our wizards recommend a ratio of one TBS of baking soda per 1/2 cup of vinegar.

Add baking soda to your potions bottle, and make sure you've got it somewhere that you won't mind a little mess before slowly pouring in your vinegar.

Potions 1

So, how does the magic happen? 

Baking soda (or sodium bicarbonate) is a base, and vinegar is an acidic substance. When the two interact with each other, carbon dioxide gas is released. This causes the fizziness seen here.

Swirling Glitter Potions

Our NEXT potion is a little less messy (just a little though), and if you've seen our previous tutorials for making glitter calming jars, you might find them a bit similar.

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It's pretty impossible to mess this one up. All you have to do is pour enough oil to fill 3/4 of your bottle, and add as much glitter as you'd like. Leaving that extra room up top will help when you're shaking or swirling your potion together. 

As we mentioned, these are a much simpler version of the calming jars we made during previous programs. If you and your child don't currently have a boatload of glue lying around the house, this recipe will give you a similar (if more brief) effect.


The swirling of the glitter can be used as a calming device, sensory tool, or even a way to make time-outs a bit more bearable.

We highly recommend using a bottle or jar with a lid for this one! Do as we say, not as we do.

Lava Lamp Potions

We're excited to share this last experiment magic potion with you! Did you know that you can make your own lava lamps at home using a few simple ingredients? 

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Your first step is to fill your bottle 2/3rds of the way full with your chosen oil. After this you will fill your bottle the rest of the way with water, making sure to leave a little space free near the neck of the bottle for bubbles to disperse.

As you pour, you may notice that the oil and water are beginning to form two separate layers inside the bottle. This is because even though they're both liquids, water is more dense than oil.

Now is the time to add your food coloring! We used four drops for our potion, but you can use more if you'd like a deeper color. 

Once you've added your desired about of coloring, it's time for the magic to happen. Break your Alka-Seltzer tablet into quarters (four pieces) and add them one at a time to your potion bottle. By adding them in slowly, you can keep your potion from becoming cloudy once the chemical reactions begin to occur. 

Potions 6

So how does the magic work here? Well, when the Alka-Seltzer tablets sink to the bottom of the bottle, they begin to react with the water and release gas. Can you guess which gas?

If you guessed carbon dioxide, you're right! The carbon dioxide bubbles attach themselves to blobs of colored water and rise to the surface. When they get to the surface, these bubbles pop and sink back down. The Alka-Seltzer tablets will eventually wear off and the bubbles die down, but you can save reuse the potion. Just add new Alka-Seltzer tablets when you feel like making it bubble up again.

So, which magic potions do YOU plan on making this summer? Comment on our Facebook page and use the hashtag #iredellreads2020 to let us know how yours turned out.