STEAMing with Lemons

Want a fun and exciting new way to bring your art to life? Try your new watercolor activity with lemons! It’s a unique way to bring in all a child’s senses and science within their artwork. This project; smells good, engages everyone, is messy and morphes right before your eyes.


  • Watercolor Paper
  • Paintbrushes
  • Watercolor Paint
  • Lemons
  • Handheld Juicer or Pipette
  • Permanent Marker
  • Small Cup


Due to the citric acid inside of lemons it has a natural “bleaching” effect on watercolor paints. You will see the colors on the paper change instantly in front of you.

  • Improving Concentration
  • Hand Eye Coordination
  • Boost in Confidence
  • Patience
  • Exposure to Colors
  • Following Simple/Complex Instructions
  • Science
  • Creativity
  • Fine Motor

Before we started the art project, we opened up our scientific thinking and made predictions for what we thought would happen to the color and paper once the lemon juice was introduced.

We sat in small groups and drew a picture with permanent marker onto thick watercolor paint. Once our drawings were completed we used lots of water color to cover our images. The key to this activity is to make sure the water color stays wet, you want lots on your paper and for it to not dry out. Once we finished our watercolor paint, it was now time for fun. We squeezed the lemons into a cup to collect the juice and used pipettes for spraying all over our pictures. BOOM! The second the lemon juice hit the paper all the colors changed right before our eyes. Some of the colors were lighted in their shade while others, like orange, changed completely. The orange paint transformed into red. All the students really enjoyed this activity because it incorporated all their senses.

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