Candy Chromatography

Did you know you can use chromatography to separate the different colours in the coating of colourful candy?

What is Chromatography?

Chromatography is a technique used to separate mixtures. The mixture is passed through another substance, in this case filter paper. The different colour ink particles travel at different speeds through the filter paper allowing us to see the constituent colours of the pen ink.

What you need:

M & Ms, Skittles or other coloured candy


Pipette (UK : US: )

Tray or plate


Filter paper cut into strips. ( UK: US: )

Test tubes or thin beakers ( UK: US: )

Paper clips


Place your candy onto a plate.

Candy Chromatography

Carefully use the pipette to drop water onto the sweets and leave for a few minutes. You should find some of the colour from the sweets dissolves into the water.

Candy Chromatography

Use a pipette to suck up the coloured water and carefully drop onto the bottom of a strip of filter paper. Use one strip for each colour of sweet. Thread a paper clip through the filter papers and leave to rest in a test tube of water with just the bottom of the paper in the water,

Leave for about 10 minutes and observe what happens.


The filter paper shows different colour bands because the colouring on the candy shells is a mixture of colours. Can you guess which filter paper was  a green sweet?

Extension Ideas

Try to separate felt tip pen colours. Do you get the same results as with the candy for each colour?

Are the colours in a green Skittle and a Green M&M the same?

If you enjoyed this investigation why not try our other exciting candy science ideas too.

Candy Chromatography

More Chromatography Investigations

Chromatography and Phonics

Chromatography Butterflies

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