Lauren Hodson | February 2017

Arts Integration: Solar System Chemical Reaction Painting

Solar System Arts Integration is a perfect topic! If you feel like your model lessons are getting a little stale, then give this one a try!

Chemical reaction painting techniques using baking soda and vinegar add fizzy fun to any science classroom. Convert planet measurements and distances, while investigating mathematical tools like compasses. Utilize a science-based painting technique that creates both visual and physical texture while discussing color theory and mixing.

Arts Integration Connections


  • Chemical reaction painting techniques
  • Color Theory and mixing practice
  • Texture: visual and physical


  • Order and characteristics of the planets in the Solar System
  • Chemical Reactions – Vinegar and Baking Soda


  • Make planets to scale using diameter and measurement conversions
  • Using Mathematical Tools – Compasses and Rulers


  • Thick paper or watercolor paper
  • Liquid Watercolor
  • Pipettes, medicine or eye droppers
  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Muffin tin or small bowls for paint
  • Pens, Crayons, and Paints for finishing touches on dried paintings
  • Permanent markers for names on the back of the planets
  • Something to protect tables from materials, tin foil worked for me. Cheap and Easy Clean-up.
  • Paper Towels for messes

Solar System Arts Integration Process

  • Use a compass, like this one, to create to scale planets on pieces of watercolor paper.
  • Cut planets out and label them on the back with permanent marker.
  • Students should also include their names on the back.
  • Use color theory and mixing skills to create the perfect paint colors with liquid watercolors. Make sure colors are accurate to the planets being painted.
    • TIP: Label the paint color with which planet, sun, or moon, it belongs to.
  • Mix some vinegar in with the paint.
  • Cover 1 planet at a time with baking soda.
    • TIP: Remember which planet you are working with so the colors and patterns are accurate.
  • Use a dropper to paint on the baking soda covered paper planets
    • TIP: This can get messy, so have some paper towels on hand.
  • Watch the painting fizz away and observe the chemical reaction taking place.
  • Repeat process for every planet, the sun, and moon or moons.
  • Place somewhere to dry.
  • Once dry, look over the planets and add any details with permanent markers, paints, paint markers, or crayons.

Assembly Ideas For Solar System Arts Integration

These planets can be…

  • Placed on a piece of black paper with important information added
  • Made into a mobile using proper distance conversions
  • Turned into a student-driven sculpture

Extensions and Modifications

  • Experiment with students ahead of time. Order of the materials can lead to an investigation using the Scientific Method.
    • What happens when you add the baking soda to the paint and then spray vinegar on it?
    • What happens when a piece of paper is coated with vinegar and then colored baking soda is painted over it
    • Hypothesize, experiment, and observe.
  • This chemical reaction and other printing processes can be used for a range of lessons.

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About the Author

Lauren Hodson is a middle school visual and computer art educator in Plymouth, Massachusetts. As a mentor teacher and professional development presenter, Lauren is passionate about creativity and making art accessible for everyone. Her passions in STEAM and Arts Integration are at the root of her goal to collaborate with classroom teachers everywhere.